Monday, April 14, 2008

Congratulations to our New Vice-Regal Representative Quentin Bryce

Days after the news that the Australian Anglicans have broken the "stained-glass ceiling" by appointing their first female bishop, comes the news that there is some vice-regal glass being broken too: Our new PM, Kevin Rudd, has appointed a woman for the first time in our 107 year history as a nation to the post of Vice-Regal Representative (we don't, for some reason someone will tell me in the combox, use the term "Vice-Regent" for the Governor General). There have been women who have served as Governors of some of the States before (as has Ms Bryce herself), but this is a first on the national level.

(Nb. for foreign readers, each state, as a former colony of Great Britain, has its own Governor who is also a direct representative of our Monarch over the Sea in a relationship quite independant of the federal Vice-Regent--this could cause a problem for Australia if we chose to become a republic some time in the future).

It seems that just about everyone is happy with this avant-garde decision by our avant-garde Prime Minister. Many commentators are comparing it to the less wise choice of former Archbishop of Brisbane, Peter Hollingworth, by our former PM, John Howard. I liked (and still do like) Archbishop Peter, and it is perhaps wrong to judge Howard's Choice by the unfortunate way that Archbishop Hollingworth's term in office ended, but I do think that that choice was wrong in every way.

I offer my heartiest congratulations to Ms Bryce. I have absolutely no argument with women holding the highest office in the State--how could I? I am a fiercely loyal supporter of Her Majesty the Queen. After explaining to my daughter the other day that a woman cannot be a priest, much less a bishop, in the Catholic Church because priests and bishops are 'images' of the maile Christ (the simplest explanation for a young child next to "Jesus didn't appoint women among the Twelve), she very naturally concluded this morning that all our Governors should be women since the Queen is a woman...

Of course, it would be sad if our first woman Vice-Regal Representative was also the last Vice-Regal Representative ever. God save the Queen!

10 Comments:

At Monday, April 14, 2008 3:01:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Nitpick:

A vice-regent would be somebody who (a) supports and (b) deputises for a regent, who in turn is somebody who rules in the name of a king or queen who is too young, is a prisoner in enemy hands, has been confined to a home for the bewildered, etc.

The adjective “vicregal” comes, not from vice-regent but from viceroy, someone who deputises for the king or queen in a particular place, but not generally. (Why not “viceroyal”, I hear you say? I have absolutely no idea.)

Historically, the British king’s representatives in Ireland and India were known as “viceroys” and their duties, courts, etc, were “viceregal”. Elsewhere the terms “governor-general” or “governor” were used, but the adjective “viceregal” was retained, presumably because the alternative of “gubernatorial-general” was just too silly to contemplate.

Trivium:

More power to Ms Bryce, but how did she get to be called “Quentin”?

PS:

Your daughter’s argument with respect to the appropriate sex for a governor-general of Australia seems to me unanswerable.

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 11:18:00 pm , Anonymous paddy said...

"the unfortunate way that Archbishop Hollingworth's term in office ended.."

you mean when he was caught out displaying his true colours on tv?

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 11:27:00 pm , Anonymous paddy said...

You say you're a "fiercely loyal supporter of the Queen" is that what a monarch deserves? You are her subject sir! And while I'm at it, what would dear old Dan Mannix (God rest his soul) say to such protest-ant sentiment?

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 4:07:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Daniel Mannix, bless his little pink cotton socks (who this morning gained some extra company in his place of rest for the first time in 35 years), was Irish. It was because he was Irish, Paddy me lad, that he was anti-monarchist, or, more to the point, anti-BRITISH-monarchist. I don't have an ounce of Irish blood in me (thanks be to Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the holy saints to be sure), and therefore do not have this hangup.

And a subject is one who is under a lord, and underneath is the direction from which one offers support to a person or structure, so I would have thought there was no incompatibility to being a supporter and a subject at the same time?

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 6:09:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

A supporter, of course, is a heraldic figure at the side of the shield in armorial bearings; so, David, are you a kangaroo or an emu (the two supporters on the Australian coat of arms - so chosen because neither can walk backward and so must ever go forward)?

As your daughter so rightly noted (dear child), it is most appropriate to have a lady G.G., since Her Maj. is our Liege Lady.

Indeed, Australia was made a Commonwealth by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and for most of our nation's existence we have had a female monarch (1901, 1954-).

Oh, and since we aren't Yanks, we don't use the ugly term "gubernatorial", but only ever "vice-regal", whether for State Governors or Federal Governors-General.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 6:16:00 pm , Anonymous Tony Bartel said...

"Each state, as a former colony of Great Britain, has its own Governor who is also a direct representative of our Monarch over the Sea in a relationship quite independant of the federal Vice-Regent--this could cause a problem for Australia if we chose to become a republic some time in the future"

I am sure that when Australia becomes a republic the States will each alter their constitutions to have their respective governors appointed in a different way.

But even if they do not, I am unable to think of a constitutional reason why a federal government could not be headed by a president while some states continue to have a governor appointed by the Queen. The relationship of the crown to the states is independent of the relationship of the crown to the Commonwealth, as you correctly point out.

It would be odd, but no odder than having a head of state who is not a citizen or resident of the country and whose ultimate loyalty is not to that country but to a foreign power.

(I just had a thought. Perhaps an individual state should first sever its ties with the monarchy and have a governor appointed by parliament. It would let the rest of the country see how it works. It would also undermine the fear campaign of the monarchists that somehow a republic would undermine our system of government.

Such a change would surely be possible as the goverment of the Australian Capital Territory already functions without a viceregal representative).

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 9:55:00 pm , Anonymous paddy said...

"Daniel Mannix was Irish", now that's a grand statement to set the ball rolling! He was also an Archbishop and not a pale imitation like all since his day in Melbourne have been, including the current overgrown Altar boy. Look at the parade of the bland and colourless; Simmonds (always the bridesmaid never the bride); Knox (who???) Little (said or done); Pell (mell!) Hart (tart; as in sharp-tasting, cutting etc etc)........not a man among them the blithering pack of spalpeens! Now as to you and your thanks at no Irish blood! It sure shows! Old man Luther and that streel Katie von Bora seemingly spawned you! No wonder you fawn all over the Rat in the Vat!

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:01:00 pm , Anonymous paddy said...

ps and while we're at it you can have old mother "Windsor" and Phil the Greek and their tribe of Prussian protest-ants and you know full well that they and their clogwog Oranges stole the throne from the Catholic Stuarts! Any wonder you 5th columnistes feign conversion...you wouldn't know the Catholic Faith if it jumped up and knocked your frog beret off of your nut! Do you know Ken Mock?

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 11:43:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Mmm. Thanks for that, Paddy. Food for thought.

But even more food for thought from our Orthodox friend, Mr Bartel. I must say that I have never stopped to consider that one of the States could, quite conceivably and all on its own, become a "republic" while the Nation as a whole continued as a Monarchy. Now there is a thought...

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 4:45:00 pm , Anonymous paddy said...

"mmm" what in the Name of the living God does that mean? I think your "conversion" has sapped your manliness! aw c'mon herr schutz, give us a fair dinkum donnybrook here! You pack of new age "Catholics" haven't a clue about what went before you and little understanding to see ahead. Defend your position vis a vis Dr Mannix! Well I recall as if yesterday the night before old Dan was buried, we went to St Pat's to see the grand old man and there he was dressed up to the nines with his silver buckle shoes and gloves and I imagined as I reverently passed by the KSC guard of honour that the grand old man himself was now elevated above the protest-ant rabble that tried to quiet him on earth.

 

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