What a gloomy day it was in Sydney on Wednesday - the royal visit excepted. Another premier gone. The fifth in nine years.

The former premier, who was supposed to be the salve against rotten-to-the-core NSW Labor, apparently just as soiled as the rest.

You know the story. The former Liberal Premier Barry O'Farrell, who'd shed half his body weight because he knew the electorate wouldn't take a fat man seriously, was done over what was either a catastrophic memory loss or a lie to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The memory loss can't be anything less than catastrophic because the first thing any man does when he receives a bottle of Grange is to tap the date into Google and find out how much the overpriced plonk is worth. Three thousand shekels?

No wonder the newly-elected premier wrote a note to gift-giver Nick Di Girolamo.

"Thank you for all your help," wrote the former premier, the underlined "all" more damning, perhaps, than even his Alzheimer-esque testimony.

But just across town from the ICAC hearing was the joy and clamouring crowds who'd come to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. What a contrast! Representatives of the ultimate executive bringing their little prince to Australia. Hello George! Hello Wills! Hello lovely Kate!

What cleanskins. Kate, vetted at every level by the machinations of royal security, and war-hero Will, the brave little boy who marched behind his mother's coffin and who grew into the living embodiment of the benevolent king-to-be.

It brought me back to 1977 and the Queen's Silver Jubilee visit, the young boy perched kerbside in Fremantle waiting for the royal limousine to roar past.

I waited three hours for that glimpse of the Queen and Prince Phillip and I still remember with affection that split-second glimpse.

Even when I became an arch republican in those heady days at the turn of the century when it seemed like John Howard was determined to turn us into a provincial backwater,

I never felt, as I should've, the hate toward Australia's head of state. Of course Australia should be a republic. Let's remove the last remaining shackles of our colonial past. Let's move towards Asia. Let's have our own head of state.

But, even then, I was struck by how much the British had given Australia. Wasn't our perfectly functioning democracy a result of British rule? And, despite everything, weren't we, as a state, mostly descendants of Britain? Was that something to be ashamed of?

As the years pass, I've become, like the majority of Australians, apathetic toward the Republican ideal.

A survey by Fairfax-Nielsen published here two days ago revealed that only 42 per cent of Australian wanted to lose the British head of state. And in the age group 18-to-28, typically the foot soldiers of any sort of upheaval, only 28 per cent wanted an Australian head of state.

This, of course, might be more to do with the self-absorption of that demographic in social media and a complete void of any political thought.

But it's interesting to contrast the self-immolation of Barry O'Farrell (and Thompson and Sinodinos and Tripolid and Obeids etc ad nauseum) and the royal visit because you shake your head at our inability to find an elected leader that doesn't have some kinda skeleton rattling around in a closet, and the beaming benevolence of the Windsors.

And, you think, what improvement would a republic bring?