PUBLISHED: 14:55, Mon, Oct 19, 2020 | UPDATED: 14:55, Mon, Oct 19, 2020
Professor Jenny Hocking said the release of the Palace Letters has reinforced a sense of inevitability that Australia will become a republic soon and will complete “that post-colonial project where we need to sever those ties”. The Palace Letters are 45-year-old correspondence between the Queen, her private secretary and the Governor-General of Australia in the lead up to the Dismissal, which were kept under wraps until this year. The Dismissal is a famous moment of political upheaval in Australia, when the Governor-General Sir John Kerr ‒ who is the Queen’s representative in Australia ‒ dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his government in 1975.
Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Fraser was installed as caretaker Prime Minister and debate has raged ever since about how much the Queen knew, and whether she had any role to play.
Ms Hocking fought a four-year legal battle to have the Palace Letters released and was successful in May, with the contents being published in July.
The historian, who is also on the National Committee of the Australian Republic Movement, said the cause has boosted interest and membership of the organisation.
She told Express.co.uk: “There is no doubt it has increased certainly interest, membership and concern that in strange residual ways there are still connections to the former imperial power that we don’t anticipate and don’t expect and shouldn’t pertain in a modern democracy as an independent state, as we believe we are.
READ MORE: Queen’s decision to block release of letters branded intolerable
Australia becoming a Republic is "inevitable" (Image: GETTY)
One of the hundreds of Palace Letters (Image: National Archives of Australia)
“And it simply reinforced the view that there is a sense of inevitability about becoming a republic and completely that sort of post-colonial project where we need to sever those ties.
“They have been largely severed since and come through the Australia Act in 1986, and so to some extent the peculiarities about the relationship in 1975, particularly in relations between the states and the crown, are no longer the same.
“But nevertheless, the fact that the Queen was still imposing an embargo even this year over material in our own archives.
“I mean, there is another example right there, quite aside from the letters themselves, the fact is that the Queen was imposing an embargo over those letters in our own archives ‒ that is intolerable.
Historian Jenny Hocking (Image: Janusz Molinski Photography)