Let the Empire Games begin with a royal makeover
Michael Bachelard


MEDIA release from Sir Ronald Walker, chairman of the Empire Games 2006. Re: The national anthem and other matters.

BY popular acclaim, and at the request of the Prime Minister, John Howard, the Hons. Tony Abbott, Amanda Vanstone and monarchist league chief genuflector David Flint, the Royal Anthem, God Save the Queen, will be played at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Empire Games beginning in Melbourne on March 15, 2006.

This measure has been introduced out of respect for Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen regnant, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, long may she reign over us, amen.

The name of the event hitherto temporarily known as the Commonwealth Games will henceforth revert to Empire Games. The change will take effect forthwith.

Also, by order of the Empire Games organising committee, the Australian flag has been amended for the occasion, with only its top left hand corner to be on display. If the Union Jack is good enough for England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, it is good enough for us.

The Union Jack will fly over all Games venues for the duration of the celebrations and whenever subjects of Her Majesty's colonial territory of Australia are awarded medals on the podium.

At all medal ceremonies where subjects of Her Majesty's colony of Australia are awarded gold medals, the royal anthem will also be played as a mark of respect to Her Majesty and her slightly less majestic children.

The Australian anthem, Advance Australia Fair, will be sung as part of a medley of show-tunes at the opening ceremony. The medley will begin with a special royal rendition of an old favourite, God Save the Dancing Queen.

Pursuant to new Empire Games security legislation, republican tendencies will be banned during the period of the Empire Games out of respect for Her Majesty. Republicans, as well as those who believe in neither God nor the Queen, will be charged with sedition and imprisoned in hulks at the mouth of the Yarra River, awaiting transportation to the colony of Port Arthur.

Eureka Tower will be converted for the occasion, renamed the Tower of Melbourne and guarded by Beefeaters.

On a personal note, I might say that I was initially reluctant to enforce some of these strictures. I believed, until recently, that it was sufficient to show respect to the Queen of Australia by playing the national anthem of Australia in her presence. As well as all the other fawning and dipping and bowing and scraping, of course.

The protocol section of Buckingham Palace agreed, in our many discussions over boiled beef, spotted dick and tea (and, my God, was there a lot of tea), that our preparations were adequate. But what do they know? Australian monarchists are much better placed to judge the degree of toadying required to really, properly suck up.

The intervention of the Prime Minister and his senior ministers on this point was persuasive.

But more decisive was the finely argued point of David Flint: "If God Save the Queen is not played, it will be remarked on around the world, and Australia will be portrayed as rude and ill-mannered, a conclusion which can so easily be avoided."

So I searched my own conscience, which I am proud to announce to the eager ears of the rest of the world has a tendency towards monarchism, and realised that due respect can only be paid to our sovereign, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Defender of the Faith, by paying her quasi-religious obeisance.

I mean, how is it she can stand those Canadians, for example, who have removed the Union Jack entirely from their flag! And replaced it with what? A leaf? Disloyalty, treachery and high treason.

The flags of all colonies of the Empire should all look identical. New Zealand should immediately remove the reddish highlights on their stars that distinguish their flag from ours.

And so it is decreed.
Sir Ronald Walker, Games Organiser By Appointment.
God save the Queen.

      © The Australian