26 May 2003

How the rest of the world sees us
lately I've been paying with Google News Australia. The resignation is their lead story at the moment. I was intrigued and clicked through to their listing of all Hollingworth stories.

The New York Times story is fairly representative.
Queen's Envoy Exits Australian Office Amid Abuse Claims

CANBERRA, Australia, May 25 ? Governor General Peter Hollingworth, who represents Queen Elizabeth II in Australia, resigned today amid allegations over cases of sexual abuse.

Dr. Hollingworth, 68, a former Anglican archbishop of Brisbane, announced his decision after talks today with Prime Minister John Howard, who in 2001 personally recommended that the queen appoint Mr. Hollingworth to the post.

He resigned despite the withdrawal two days ago of a lawsuit filed by a nurse who claimed Dr. Hollingworth had raped her at a church youth camp 40 years ago. The nurse died in April, and the case was dismissed after her family withdrew an application to pursue the claim.

Dr. Hollingworth's resignation as the nominal head of state is not considered a constitutional crisis, but it provides new political ammunition for those seeking to sever Australia's ties to the British monarchy.

Dr. Hollingworth said today that he could not allow the controversy surrounding his office to continue, adding that it was with "deep regret" and "after much thought" that he had advised Mr. Howard that he would step down.

In a statement, Dr. Hollingworth said, "Despite the misplaced and unwarranted allegations made against me, it is clear that continuing public controversy has the potential to undermine and diminish my capacity to uphold the importance, dignity and integrity of the office of governor general."

A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said that the queen was aware of the decision and that she would "await the Australian prime minister's recommendations" on a replacement, Reuters reported.

The NYT has done a better job of describing our baroque constitution than most. One phrase turns up again and again on the Google listing. They call Elizabeth II the 'British Queen' or 'UK Queen'. If you Google for "Queen of Australia' you go into a string of monarchist websites and ancient news about the republic referendum. The Queen of Australia (like the divine genius inspiring prime ministerial advice on the governor-general) is a myth we should outgrow.

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