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September 26, 2022

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: The Last Queen

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And as Charles is sworn in as King of Australia (ironically the Irish will pronounce him ‘King Charles the Turd’)

The Queen is dead. Surprisingly it’s no surprise. She was 96. An age colonised Indigenous women will never reach. The Queen never had to worry about ACAT assessments. Or super. She didn’t have her family choose a nursing home. She didn’t have to line up at Aldi for a wheely walker or a shower chair. She didn’t experience her young woman power diminish as she aged. She rocked the cradle of her castle until the end. An undisputedly massive life that saw her with a following bigger than the Kardashians. It preceded Insta; it’s called the Empire. And we’re not followers, we’re subjects. It’s a weird word, but let’s not forget what it means. It is one who owes loyalty to a monarch. One who is under the authority or control of another. 

Even in a constitutional monarchy that has meaning. It says we are ‘less than’. Even if only ideologically. So as we mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth, let’s not confuse our affection for the Queen with the idea the Monarchy is some kindly benign system. It’s not. The Monarchy has blood on its hands, and other people’s jewels and bones in its pockets. 

That’s how you amass wealth. You take it from other people. You build castles that largely remain empty, that people pay entry to wander through and observe obscene privilege and unimaginable wealth from behind a rope. These shiny riches are built from a long history of cultural violence. Over the Kenyans. The Nigerians. The Indians. The Irish. The Indigenous. There is no other way to create dominion. You take. You break. And then you rule. And then you charge an entry fee to a museum so they can visit what was once theirs.

Empires aren’t created by accident. Succession is not democratic. You don’t earn it. You can’t study for it. You are born into it. Surely, with what we know about unchecked privilege, about bloody history and about the devastating impacts of the trauma of colonisation across the globe, we have to question this tenuous thread of legitimacy? Is lineage an ethical way to head hunt for the top job? You’re in charge because you got born first? We might as well appoint leaders through a game of scissors, paper, rock. Just be thankful it’s not Prince Andrew who is our new king. Otherwise we’d be revisiting the ethos of ‘lock up your daughters’.

And as Charles is sworn in as King of Australia (ironically the Irish will pronounce him ‘King Charles the Turd’), the baton is handed to another monarch in the continuance of an outdated cruel system whose foundations have always been built on the oppression and sublimation of indigenous peoples. 

Historically it’s a big moment. The Queen is on our currency. She’s on the lids of cake tins. She’s on the wall of every hall, RSL, and bowling club in this country. She’s on tea towels and calendars. It’s the end of an era. We’ve changed. I don’t think we’re about to start making Charles tins for our biscuits. As bowling club ladies stretch on ladders to respectfully take their dead Queen down, maybe we don’t just replace it with the bloke with big ears who happened to be next.

This is a significant time. And yes, it’s time for grief. For a Queen, for what we have become. For what we have let happen. For what don’t admit. For what we need to change and haven’t. Right now we have the opportunity to lay the foundations for who we will be in the future. To do that you have to make peace with your past. As someone once said, insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results. Perhaps what we are mourning now isn’t just the death of Queen Elizabeth; it’s the end of an archaic and outdated system. Nostalgia.

When I teach memoir writing so many people are scared to tell their stories until their parents are dead. They hold their tongue and wait. There is a freedom in the passing of the old. The Queen is dead. It’s time to make the break.

This is a time for truth telling. 

And a reimagining of the kind of country where there are no shrines to empty wealth.

And the only castle where we must step with reverence and respect is the forest. And there everyone is welcome. No entry fee required.


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35 COMMENTS

  1. Well said, Mandy. The Colonial era must end now. We need to move on from the Royals, and bring Australia’s real ancestors into the management of this land and its people.

  2. The Queen was and has always been real
    Never heard a bad work spoken about her
    Unlike you Mandy, virtue signalling double
    Hypocrite.. did you meet your guru resently
    at the airport coming out of the Qantas
    Lounge lecturing fellow denialists.. ?
    Incidentally first nation’s people’s women
    Are 30 % more likely to be at the hands of
    Domestic violence your sisters Mandy..
    Can’t recall you ever bring this to light ..

  3. September’s 22nd public holiday is a bit rich, Law or no lore, I’m pleased to say my GP won’t be shutting up shop. The average Jo
    or Jenny will be looked after as per usual. I reckon that’s the way it should be.

  4. I agree. The question of Australia’s future needn’t involve any criticism of current or former heads of state.

    QE II was rightly admired and always exercised her position with grace and dignity.

    Australia’s becoming a republic is not about others, but about us. It’s not about whether the system that has served us until now is ‘broken’ or not, but a question of our own cultural / emotional growth as a nation.

    Any genuinely independent country aught rightly to have a head of state who is native to that country and who resides there. Independence, by definition, demands that we stand on our own two feet and evolve an identity that is wholly our own.

  5. Once again, the future Honourable Member for Richmond gets it right and is spot on! This from another publication https://johnmenadue.com/prince-philip-and-gough-whitlam-story-the-crown-forgot/

    The mother lode is this: In his ‘hostile assessment’ of Whitlam, Philip was not alone. His uncle and mentor, Lord Louis Mountbatten, expressed his strongest support and admiration for Governor-General Sir John Kerr’s dismissal of Whitlam, as did Prince Charles. Charles and Mountbatten wrote near identical letters of support to Kerr in the weeks after the dismissal, praising his ‘courageous and correct’ action, a view which Kerr believed was shared by others in the royal family.

    What was the saying from Gough about well may we save the Queen?

  6. Barrow is full of it… and he rolls it out like many ignoramus types, he has the problem, not Mandy who nailed it exactly as it is. It’s all effin true. As the Sex Pistols put it so accurately, there’s no future in monarchies which belong, like dinosaurs, well in the past: ‘God save the Queen, the fascist regime! They made you a moron, A potential H bomb, God save the queen’ etc
    Yes Barrow, ‘we mean it man, there’s no future’.

  7. Well I hope l never see a Republic in my life time, we have seen how other countries have ended up broke or dictators take over, rotten governments, this system has worked for hundreds of years for England and the commonwealth I don’t see England interfering with our way of life. God help Australia if they do become a Republic.

  8. Well said Mandy,
    Agreed…my only concern with the republic, we will undoubtedly become, is what form the new republic will take? I think we’ve taken the stability that the monarchy has given us for granted. Personally I’m wary of a highly politicised, voted in President model seen in the US, preferring perhaps an appointed by parliament option, but I’m not versed enough to know which gives a steadier hand. Perhaps you could give us some ideas on which you might prefer and why?
    Thanks again for thought provoking, inspiring reading

  9. If you’re concerned about your mental health with this out of control contrived media saturation campaign we are being forcibly water boarded with and have to switch off all media for the last week and the next week. Just consider for a moment that this is the very same saturation media propaganda used by Murdoch and other corporate media saturation coverage of the pro LNP, anti Labor/Greens indoctrination 24/7 on your daily lives. I think many people are opening their eyes to just how manipulated our media has become and that it really has nothing to do with reality and fact, just a contrived far right extremist indoctrination, similar to that used in any fascist dictatorship. There was a report of a journalist holding a blank piece of paper in Scotland, police apprehended him and asked what he planned to write on it. He replied, “Is this Russia or Britain”?

  10. Every nation in the world has been invaded by another nation over the history of mankind. Queen Elizabeth wasn’t a despot. She worked two days before she died. She deserves honour and respect for her service. And let’s face it, she must have been incredibly bored at the inevitable functions and speeches she’s attended as part of her job. And has she interfered in other nations? No, not like Russia is currently doing.
    Yes, we should become a Republic now. But how will the leader be appointed? Another bent politician in all probability will rule. So history will just go on repeating itself under a different guise.

    • Rest assured, we will have that very discussion in the next term of a Labor Govt., it is not going to be easy and cannot be rushed.

  11. People may not realise! The most celebrated holiday in the world, around every 6 days! A country is celebrating their freedom and Independence from Britain!

  12. Typical , disrespectful greens comment.
    We don’t need an unstable republic. Do we need a Putin, Trump, or African republic dictator style of government?
    Look how unstable the US has become with a presidential system.
    We already have a head of State the Governor General.
    The Queen presided over 70 years of peace in the U.K which neither colonised or invaded any state during this time.
    We do not need to concentrate power in the hands of one person .

  13. Terrific soapbox Mandy. There is nothing democratic or egalitarian about the monarchy. The Queen may have been devoted to duty but she was also devoted to keeping the archaic institution of the monarchy alive. An institution, as you say, built from exploiting others. And how anyone can think it’s ok for others to bow and curtesy before them is beyond me. We don’t need the monarchy, and several of our governors- general have been less than impressive. Time to grow up.
    Hermit, have you forgotten the Falklands and Afghanistan wars in which the UK was very much involved?

    • The Queens doesn’t choose the Governor-General, the PM does. Argentina tried to invade the Falklands. They were not trying to colonise Afghanistan, and that wasn’t the Queen’s choice anyway.

  14. Yes – the Brits did indeed stick their fingers into the Oz way of life. Democratic hostility still lingers rightfully. Gogh took it all, in stride.
    A lesser man could never have done that. Should we ever forget a Gove General? No way… nor the U.K. cult ruling the waves.

  15. That was just more disrespectful grandstanding from the Greens, especially coming from a failed candidate who seems to make a habit of tactless comments. We don’t need lecturing, we are well aware of the worlds appalling colonial past from all the major powers of different eras and still dealing with the some of the results; but don’t forget it was the British parliament, in 1833 that did abolish slavery. Try and show some respect for a special person who had no control over what her forbearers did in the past and did an outstanding job of helping to keep a fractured world together for almost 70 years. Yes we do need to become a republic, but if the Greens continue to act like spoilt disrespectful brats demanding change immediately, all their going to do is piss off most people who are undecided, remember a referendum requires a majority of the national vote and a majority of states to be in favour to pass- not an easy ask- last federal election the Greens received less than 13% of the national vote, that’s a long way short, maybe they should do more thinking and less grandstanding, they may actually achieve something for once.

    • WOW keith comes back from the wilderness
      Chimes in with some home truths for the Greens ..
      Seriously Keith kudos to you mate .. the coalition
      Are done .. and do hope for a better future for
      All Aussies moving forward.. realistically labor
      Have always been a political party for the
      Workers .although they have ventured
      To far to the left Keith..it certainly has been
      Noticeable to the blue collar workers who
      Have given heart & soul to labor ..keith the party
      Labor gladly accept preferences from are a lost cause Brandt & co are a rabble..have absolutely lost
      Touch with mainstream so disconnected are the
      Greens keith .. welcome back keith ..certainly
      At one with whats best for this country ..for the Greens are far from that ..

      • As for preferences, we’ll gladly accept ANY preferences except from One Nation, it’s a combination of us needing them in certain seats and the Greens voters not being willing to give them to anyone else, they are highly unlikely to preference the Conservatives, their just too distasteful, except on very isolated occasions.

  16. Monarchy’s colonise, Republic ‘s colonise , Dictator’s colonise,
    Doesn’t matter what system we operate under our need to assert our system , our way of life, as superior to others different way of life that is the fundamental problem.

  17. I’m pretty sure in Canada ithe queen or king is not the head of state. They don’t have a governer general. They don’t have a president. They just have a prime minister. They still seem to be part of the Commonwealth tho . The complete wastefulness of US presidential elections is a perfect example of what not to do.

  18. The OZ gove/general got bought in order to do away with Gogh . . . simple as that, Barrow. The new ‘incoming King’ along with his
    mates made a decision most Australians did not want. It was all ‘cash-and-carry’. The Queen was fully aware as well. We need a Republic.

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