The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, has declined an invitation from the Australian Republic Movement to give a speech in Australia during his forthcoming visit to Australia. This is a great shame and says a great deal.
We believe that Australia’s next head of state should be an Australian. We also believe in a fair go and we sincerely offered the Prince a right of reply to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. Both leaders have addressed us in the past eighteen months and put their support for an Australian republic firmly on the public record. And it is equally a matter of public record that the Queen and the Prince of Wales have always made it clear they believe the future of the Monarchy in Australia is for the Australian people to decide.
Given this, we asked the Prince to address a simple question: why he, and not an Australian, should be Australia’s next head of state.
It appears the Prince is unable to answer this question.
So now, perhaps monarchists can answer this: why should Australians accept a head of state who will not even speak to our people about why he wants the job?
Without constitutional change, there will be a once-in-a-lifetime transition and a new King of Australia within a few years. Yet today our people know nothing about what this change will look like. The silence of the man will become Australia’s head of state about why he should have the job is hardly reassuring.
Background: In December last year, Peter FitzSimons Chair of the Australian Republic Movement invited the Prince to address an audience in Australia during his coming visit in April. [The letter follows below.]
A reply has now been received from Clarence House and the invitation is not accepted. The Prince’s representative has marked her reply “private and confidential”. While we are surprised by this marking, as a courtesy we have chosen not to release the text.