Monday, 23 August 2010

Non-partisan vice-regals better than political presidents

Quentin Bryce, Governor General of Australia

In the aftermath of the recent Australian election that produced no clear winner, much attention is now being paid to that country's Governor General.  Specifically, people are asking what role she has in sorting out who should form the government.  This piece does a pretty good job explaining the various options.

However, the most reassuring fact is that the person who holds the ultimate authority in sorting out this political quandary is not a politician at all but rather a non-partisan vice-regal who represents the non-partisan Queen.

That's the beauty of constitutional monarchy.  It gives you a non-partisan headship of state.  The Queen and her representatives in the Commonwealth Realms are above the political fray.  Because politics are divisive in nature, at least in a constitutional monarchy (such as Canada or Australia) we have one element of government (the Crown) that strives to unite the country rather than divide it.  And, having a non-partisan head of state is only possible in a constitutional monarchy.

Despite what republicans may claim, it is virtually impossible to have a non-partisan president whether he is elected or appointed.  And, before any republican tries to one-up me by suggesting that the Governors General are appointed (and thus must be partisan, too), let me remind them that Governors General are appointed by (and removed by) The Queen.  It is also worth noting that time and time again, even vice-regals who are former politicians have shown themselves to be completely neutral and non-partisan once they take office.

In uncertain or turbulent political times, without question non-partisan vice-regals are much better than political presidents.

Until next time,
Robert / The D.C.

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