Veteran British broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson has once again expressed his belief that Australia should become a republic in a frank and revealing interview with Channel 9’s The Bottom Line, airing on Saturday 22 March 2014 at 4pm.
Speaking with CPA Chief Executive Alex Malley, Parkinson – affectionately known as Parky – revisited the argument he first made in 2011 while visiting Australia, that positioned him firmly in support of Australia becoming independent from the monarchy.
“In Australia if I was an Australian, young Australian, I would be a republican, of course I would – which is not criticising the relationship, it’s been a very important relationship but Australia has been standing on its own two feet for too long to bother about being attached to us,” he tells Malley.
Now 78 years old, Parkinson is recognised as one of Britain’s most loved and accomplished talk show hosts and during his career has interviewed over 2000 celebrities.
The veteran presenter first expressed his opinion on Australia standing alone in 2011, when he was the first foreigner to deliver the annual Australia Day address in its 15-year history at The Conservatorium of Music in Sydney.
Speaking exclusively to The Bottom Line, the talk show king said that whilst Australia and Britain will always be linked, he thought it was time for the nation to formally sever ties with the British royal family.
“We will be attached, of course we will, undeniably over the years in one way or another. I just think that indication of independence is right. Why would it want to be associated beyond tradition, and I understand the tradition very strongly but I just think that it’s…I would rather be part of a republic,” says Parkinson.
The Yorkshireman is no stranger to the British establishment, having been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Prince Charles in 2000 and given a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in 2008.
When asked by Malley about his Knighthood, Parkinson responds -
“You can be independent and have that respect. That’s my point.”
Alongside discussion of the monarchy, during the interview Parkinson reflects about growing up a coal miner’s son and his early ambitions for fame, and reveals how he coped with dramatic personal obstacles in his career, such as his cancer diagnosis and the loss of his father.
Recalling his time spent working as on Fleet Street and at Granada Television in Manchester in the early stages of his career, Parkinson’s trademark sense of humour is at the fore,
“It was like Dodge City. It was wonderful! I love journalism, I like journalists, I like the booziness of it all, and I like the energy of it all… I like the shame of it all. It’s lovely to work with people who actually work hard but don’t give a damn and that’s what we were like when we were younger and it was the place to be.”
Parkinson discusses with Malley the diagnosis in May 2013 that he had prostate cancer, and his recovery after undergoing intensive radiation therapy.
“My latest examination showed that they’re fairly confident they got rid of the cancer and now basically it’s really a means of recovering from the after effects of radiotherapy, which in prostate cancer cases is awkward at times to say the least. …But I’ve been so far one of the lucky ones.
‘Parkinson’ on ITV and BBC One was screened for over 30 years, until he filmed his final chat show on ITV seven years ago.
Sir Michael Parkinson shares his insights with Alex Malley on The Bottom Line – Saturday 22nd March at 4pm on Channel Nine.
In an exclusive ReachTELpoll of more than 2100 Australians conducted in February 2014 for Fairfax, 41.6 per cent opposed the country becoming a republic, and 19 per cent had no opinion on the issue. Prime Minister Tony Abbott appointed former Defence Force Chief, General Peter Cosgrove as Governor General on 28 January 2014, to act as the Queen’s representative in Australia.
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Sir Michael Parkinson on The Bottom Line is Episode 6 in a 24 episode series.
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