Franca Arena AM

An open letter to Prince William from Franca Arena AM

Image: AFP/WILLIAM WEST

Dear Prince William, Kate and young George

Welcome to Australia!!!

We welcome the three of you to AUSTRALIA as distinguished and friendly visitors.

You must understand, however, that so many of us can‘t imagine that one day, you William, will be the “King of Australia”.

This is just how our present conservative Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, sees you, but believe me more and more people think that Mr. Abbott belongs in the Menzies era.

That was the time when Australia was so close to the UK; when Prime Minister Attlee asked Prime Minister Menzies if it was possible to use our country to test and explode, atomic bombs.

Menzies said yes straight away – without even consulting the Cabinet.

Here was an Australian Prime Minister who would have been happier to be British rather than being a colonial Australian.

“I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die…”

This is what he said to your grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

Prince William –  can you envisage a modern Australian Prime Minister saying something like that these days?

Well, maybe PM Abbott who, when he was sworn to his high office, chose to swear alliance to the Queen and her heirs and successors and not to Australia and its people?

A very disappointing development.

Mr Abbott has also reintroduced the titles of Dame and Sir without even consulting his Cabinet or caucus, knowing full well that there exists even among his colleagues many ardent Republicans.

Ex Governor General Quentin Bryce has been the biggest disappointment. She could have refused the title of Dame and assert her Republicanism.

But, like many, she fell for the allure of the title.

It is not that we don’t consider Great Britain a friendly country with close ties to Australia, but we are now an independent and modern nation, with nearly 200 different ethnic groups, a nation that has understood our future lies in this part of the world.

It lies in our region, in Asia.

Don’t you think that we are entitled to have own Head of State?

An Australian who lives amongst us and share all our achievements, our worries, our sorrows?

Our present Governor, the Hon. General, General Peter Cosgrove, like his predecessor, the Hon. Quentin Bryce, would have made excellent Presidents of the AUSTRALIAN Republic. They would represent us and the Australian nation anywhere they went. Instead, if you were our Head of State you would represent first and foremost Great Britain, anywhere you went.

Please, William, understand that your occasional visits will always be welcomed. You have been a friend and you will always be our friend, but we need to stand up and be our own. But also understand that the stronger Republican sentiments will grow in Australia, the greatest number of invitations will be extended to you and other members of the Royal family.

Rather sad, don’t you think?

It is an issue we as Australians need to resolve on our own, but I thought it was important for you to know that many of us want to see our country become a Republic.

Time and history is on our side.

Franca Arena A.M.

Franca Arena AM

Franca Arena was born in Genoa - Italy. She immigrated to Australia in 1959. She worked as a journalist with the Italian newspaper La Fiamma and as a producer/broadcaster in Italian with stations 2SM, 2CH and 2KY. She became active in Ethnic Affairs and Women’s Affairs and was appointed to several Federal and State Government Advisory bodies. She was one of the founders of the Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales and of S.B.S. (Special Broadcasting Services) In 1977 she won a Churchill Fellowship to study overseas the integration of minority groups into the host society. In 1981 she received an Order of Australia for her services to the ethnic communities. In 1990 she received l’Onorificenza di Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana (Knight Commander of the Italian Republic) from the Italian Government. In 1981 she was elected to the New South Wales Parliament, the first woman of ethnic (Italian) background ever to be elected to an Australia Parliament. In 1991 she was one of the founders of the Australian Republican Movement. She became a strong advocate for children’s rights and become involved with a strong anti-paedophilia campaign. In 1997 she resigned from the Labor Party of which she had been a member for 25 years and stood unsuccessfully for election in 1999 after forming the Franca Arena Child Safety Alliance. Since her retirement Franca has written her autobiography which was published in 2002 “Franca – My story” She is involved in various charitable organizations and is working as a volunteer telephone Counsellor at Lifeline. She is the founding President of the National Italian-Australian Women’s Association which in 2005 celebrated its 20th anniversary. In 2004 she was given the CITY OF GENOA AWARD, (LIGURE ILLUSTRE) as an illustrious former citizen who has honoured the name of Genoa around the world. Franca Arena has taken part in many broadcasts and telecasts, has written a large number of papers and articles and given many public speeches and lectures in the areas of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Women’s Affairs, education Republicanism and the Protection of children

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11 Comments

  1. LM said:

    Maybe part of the reason that people don’t follow Republic of Australia anymore is cos you guys are a bit nasty? Here is Ms Arena being respectful but firm. Then you come in with your sweeping claims about them being nice. Quit while you are ahead guys.

  2. Republic of Australia FB page said:

    Good on you Franca for speaking on behalf of most Australians who don’t have your access to the media. Personally though I don’t think you needed to be so polite. I don’t agree with the frequent claims that the Royals are nice people.
    Nice people don’t need 5 castles,700 servants and cost $500 million a
    year in up keep.Further the Prince and his wife clearly have no qualms about the massive cost that must be born by us so that they can promote themselves here. They also clearly have no interest in Australia becoming a republic or they would spoken out in favor of it.

  3. Samuel Eldrige said:

    Good article. I would say though, that the apathy most young people have towards Australia becoming a republic has more to do with their lack of knowledge around why this is an important step for our country to stand on its own two feet!

  4. Phantom said:

    No worries Paul, the “awaiting approval” message had disappeared but the comment hadn’t been published, which led me to think the comment had been disallowed. Obviously not the case and I was mistaken. Lesson learnt to be more patient next time!

  5. PaulBugeja said:

    HI Phantom

    Sorry for the delay in posting your comment – we moderate them as quickly as we can! We always post comments unless they are defamatory or clearly spam. Everyone is entitled to their informed opinion on anything!

  6. Phantom said:

    Alice, I would have liked to reply to you, and I did, but it appears the Big Smoke thought it appropriate to not publish my reply. This was presumably because they didn’t agree with it because it wasn’t insulting or offensive in any way.

    I guess they are sticking to the “attractive (to us, who cares what other people think)” part of the site’s concept rather than the “completely impartial and balanced” part.

  7. Rainer the cabbie said:

    Grazi Franca

    Ecco a una Repubblica!

    Have a good Easter.

  8. Phantom said:

    Alice, who is the “they” that you are referring to?

    The OP represents the royals and a royal head of state as an outdated concept that only someone who “belongs in the Menzies era” would support. The public opinion doesn’t match that assertion, as shown by yesterday’s published poll with 60% of 15-24 year-olds saying “No” to “Do you think Australia should become a republic” and only 42% of the overall population saying “Yes.”

    Incidentally, I am a supporter of the Republic movement and voted ‘Yes’ many moons ago, but I am sick of writers putting forward their own opinion and representing it as if it is the opinion of the majority despite evidence to the contrary, or implying that anyone with a differing opinion is outdated or simply wrong beyond question.

    I thought the Big Smoke was going to be different and rise above the belittling of views contrary to the writers’ own. It now seems that assumption was wrong beyond question.

  9. Alice said:

    They are still supported by loyal republicans Phantom

  10. Phantom said:

    Except polls show declining support for the Republic movement…

  11. Alice said:

    Thank you Mrs Arena for a respectful article. I share your values and I hope one day Australia becomes a republic in my lifetime.

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