“A great day for all Australians,” said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
No, he wasn’t referring to yet another Ashes cricket victory over England. Nor to his election victory nearly two years ago. Nor even to the day when his government might produce a budget surplus.
He was referring to the birth of Princess Whatshername, fourth in line to the British throne and therefore fourth in line to head the Australian state.
Even for an avowed Royalist – Abbott recently awarded an Australian knighthood to the Duke of Edinburgh – it was a bit rich to spread the joy to all Australians. It’s a fair bet that half the nation couldn’t care less; and about half of those would actively protest that we acknowledge the new arrival at all.
It was, of course, an off the cuff remark. The official media statement from Canberra refers only to: “The birth of a baby is a great moment for any family and Australia shares this young family’s joy.”
In addition to the personal and national congratulations, the Government also announced the gift of a cot blanket of Australian merino wool and embroidered with an image of the wattle, Australia’s floral emblem.
And then there’s a celebratory donation of $10,000 to support zoological research on the Mountain Pygmy-possum.
“I hope one day the princess can visit Australia and hold a Mountain Pygmy-possum herself,” said our Tony..
Good luck with that. The present is similar to the $10,000 donation to Taronga Zoo’s bilby preservation program in honour of the little princess’s older brother, Prince George, who visited Australia last year with his parents.
Presented with a plush toy bilby, Prince George famously threw it to the ground.