Australian Left Review

Article Title

Old Lang's Sign


Peter Love


Paul Keating's oblique reference to a republican future for Australia during the recent royal tour outraged John Howard and like-minded royalists. It was ill-timed, provocative and, worst of all, it was bad manners. When our Prime Minister laid a guiding hand on the Queen of Australia's back, all hell broke loose. Television news bulletins around the world ran it as their 'amazing scenes' segment. The British tabloids, ever the guardians of royal dignity, were near to apoplexy. This was more than just the gauche familiarity of a colonial Prime Minister, even a Labor one. It was l&se majeste. Ian Botham, here to smite the colonials at cricket, blustered threats against those who would insult his sovereign. It was all good knockabout stuff for the silly season.