ACU experts provide insights into history in the making

The death of Queen Elizabeth II was an historic event and a significant global news story.

ACU’s experts stepped up to provide expert commentary as part of the unprecedented coverage by TV networks, print media and radio.

They featured in hundreds of media outlets around the world, from Australia and New Zealand to the UK and US, providing historical context and unique insights.

Across disciplines including history, theology and sociology, ACU experts were an integral part of broadcast coverage on Channel 7, Channel 10 and ABC TV and Radio National. They contributed powerful pieces to The Conversation, The Spectator Magazine, ABC Online and Eureka Street, and were interviewed by journalists from The Guardian, The Australian and Catholic media.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Hayden Ramsay spoke to The Catholic Weekly about the Queen’s role in building connections across many faiths.

“She was a miraculous bridge builder in the area of faith,” he said.

“To see a Head of State, that as people bow their head to her, she in turn bows her head to Jesus Christ, is sadly becoming increasingly riskier for public figures to do in a secular society. Yet in her Christmas messages, broadcast year after year, the Queen became more confessional and also more genuinely emotional about her love for the Gospel”.

Professor Bryan Turner from the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences was interviewed by The Catholic Leader about the Queen’s Christian faith, commenting that she was “a remarkable model of public service”.

“She was a devout Christian and was very much a symbol of tradition and family.”

“There’s very few Australians who remember a time when Elizabeth wasn’t queen,” Professor Turner explained. 

“She’s been the staple of the monarchy and her death launches a period of great historical change.” 

Associate Professor Darius von Guttner from the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences spoke to a range of radio outlets about the end of the Elizabethan age, from ABC Radio to Radio National. He also spoke to a range of nationally syndicated radio programs about the historical significance and symbolism of the Queen's funeral.

“Elizabeth I the first of England was very much a monarch who defended England against forces that tried to destroy it.

“Elizabeth II represented calm stability and continuity, despite presiding over upheavals such as post-war austerity, the Cold War and Brexit.”

Associate Professor Michael Theophilos from the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry was interviewed by ABC TV,  ABC Radio Melbourne and The Guardian about why and how our money changes when a new monarch takes the throne. In The Conversation, he explained the long history of leaders commemorated and celebrated on coins, from ancient Persia and Rome to the current day.

“How do we summarise our culture – a melting pot – on our coins if we no longer have a monarch? It would be open slather for what kinds of imagery would be used to symbolise our nation.”

Dr Miles Pattenden from the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry explained how the Queen’s staunch Christian faith influenced her reign and explained the religious significance of her funeral on Channel Seven News, ABC TV and Channel Ten.

He also penned powerful pieces for ABC’s Religion and Ethics and Eureka Street, examining the Queen’s role as the world’s most prominent Christian leader and her role as Supreme Commander of the Church of England.

"She was perhaps the most faithful person to lead a nation. More than the Pope — her reign saw seven of them — she was a constant presence in Christian life in Britain, at Church and in prayer."

Dr Joel Hodge, from the School of Theology, wrote a powerful piece for The Spectator magazine, exploring why the Queen's death had such a profound impact on millions of people around the globe.

"Humans seek common, transcendent symbols that express something of the best of ourselves and bring us together. Queen Elizabeth II was such a symbol."

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