What Price Sovereignty?

by Peter Consandine

Wattle Day Newsletter #6, August 2011 To: Friends, Rellies, Neighbours, Supporters and Network Contacts (as addressed): Nearly everybody I am directing this annual missive to knows that I am in the business of (Australian) politics. And, as a propagandist-pundit, I deal to a lesser or greater extent – as an Australian Republican – in the matter of sovereignty. 

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 In these annual Wattle Day newsletters I try to keep politics to an absolute minimum although being as politics has played a major role in my life since I founded The Republican Party of Australia on 11 January 1982, it is impossible to exclude it from the narrative. 

I have chosen the “WHAT PRICE SOVEREIGNTY?” theme this year because of, frankly, selfish reasons. I have decided that, gearing for the long haul, the accent needs to be on my own personal welfare and wellbeing primarily and a whole lot less on being the spearhead of the grassroots Republican Cause into the near-future. 

Now, only very recently, I have discovered the ‘Best Way Forward’ for the Republican Cause – to get the matter sustainably right back UP on to the National Issues Agenda and kept there – but that discovery needs some refining and in the coming months I will develop the program for the 2012-2015 timeframe. 

Before going further I would like to acknowledge the passing of the following 9 people who have ALL been an important part of my life up until their deaths in the past 12 months: Ian Dalgleish, Rory Thomas, Mark Hanson, Bob Ellis, Ian Johnston, Philip Day, Rex Mossop, Denny Wright and one of my cousins, Dorrie Carney. 

Well, the calendar year from the beginning of September 2010 started famously with Di Yerbury delivering the 5th annual Wattle Day luncheon speech at Parramatta. Di spoke of the cogent need for there to be recognition of aboriginal art in Australian cultural history and she brought along – for each of the guests – compendiums of photographs of the bountiful work she was alluding to. 

The 2 other major Republican Party events in the 12 month period were (a) the annual Republican of the Year dinner for Peter Ellyard in Melbourne this past May and (b) in the same month, the 25th annual National Republican convention in rural/regional Gippsland at Traralgon. Incidentally, The Party went with the very topical theme of: “A FAIRLY TAXED and PROPERLY LAND-MANAGED REPUBLIC!” and I can report that it was a very spirited conference day with 7 expert contributors as speakers: Rod Quantock, Steve Keen, Peter Ellyard, Maurie Fabrikant, Gavin Putland, Leo Foley and Yours Truly with Chris Doig facilitating firmly but fairly in the Chair. 

As if I wasn’t busy enough, in April this year, I went on what I am describing as a “mercy mission” to South Africa. One of my ex-partners, Yvonne Barnett, decided she did not want to go on trying to survive in her uber-violent home country of South Africa and that she wanted to emigrate to Australia. Fanciful, as it turned out. Too long a story to tell but for the most part, my journeying with her from Johannesburg via Pietermaritzburg to Durban and return to Johannesburg, was one helluva harrowing experience. Never again! I met up with and stayed with 2 of my old work colleagues though – Russ Swanborough and Clyde Wilson from the 1971-1973 years when I lived in the republic – and made some very handy business contacts for the future. So, not ALL bad! Furthermore, it was nice meeting and getting to know both their second wives – Linda and Hilary, respectively. 

In November 2010, another marketing wing of The Party Enterprise division was launched: Republican Olive Oil Estates…The Party now has on the market a super-tangy, olive oil product in 4 different flavours: blood orange, lemon myrtle, basil & garlic and rosemary & thyme. At the time of writing, The Party was distributing from its 3rd batch of supplies. ALL-Australian is our olive oil – as is our Republican arabica coffee and our Republican boutique wine. 

In March 2011 The Party brought on stream its latest promotional tee-shirt. The Party settled on the slogan – with suitable colonial backdrop – “FREE the QUEEN…So That We Can Be Free!” 

In May 2011 The Party adopted as its philosophical statement: ‘THE ESSENCE of REPUBLICAN LIBERTARIANISM’ which will serve as The Party’s interim indicative policy manifesto. I am particularly pleased with this document as, in more ways than one, it establishes The Party’s ethos. 

In June 2011 The Party began totalling revamping its website and has a splendid chance of finishing the ALL-new work by the time Wattle Day rolls around. Party Life Member, Miles Harris, has been exemplary in his creative pursuits with this major overall task. Of course, he is capitalising on the excellent previous work done for The Party by web designer Vic Hocking. 

On the Wattle Day score…enclosed herewith is your personalised 2011 Happy Wattle Day card. It is coupled with a flyer which will give the reader an overview of what my new ACN business franchise comprises. Yes, proactively, I have bought the said [alternative/competitive telco] ACN business franchise to build my superannuation package for future income and lifestyle support needs and ends. I am getting back into telecommunications and in to concomitant IT services and plans. As it happens, I will have the near-future advantage of adding to these 2 “Recession-proof” industries with alternative/competitive energy services and plans. And, while I gradually build UP my ACN business, I have taken on part-time wine tasting assignments for the APA Promotions agency to bring in some steady cash flow. 

Thus the ‘Sovereignty’ angle! My personal ‘Sovereignty’! 

I had a false start with taking on the exclusive franchise for the ‘RAINSAVER’ (diverter) product, Australia-wide. If I live long enough I think the chapter in my memoirs dealing with this episode in my life will make for stand-out reading. Suffice to leave you with a titbit: The female carer of the ‘RAINSAVER’ inventor and manufacturer, Bill Adamson, murdered him by way of an induced overdose of morphine. It took quite a while for the NSW police to locate ALL the ‘RAINSAVER’ stock that was stolen and stored illegally at a remote farmhouse and for it to be released from custody – by which time the La Nina weather pattern had delivered so much rain as to make marketing such a product a folly in the consecutive calendar years 2010-2011. 

For me there was personally no greater thrill than for my beloved AFL football team, the Collingwood Magpies, winning their 15th flag. I was fortunate to be in attendance at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Grand Final Replay game and cheered on my famous team to the eventual 2010 Premiership. The Magpies are a “good bet” to win back-to-back Premierships this year, 2011 – having a stellar season to the cut-off point in this correspondence, so far. And not just because they are October specialists! The Magpies are “on a roll” with a winning game-plan. Go ‘Pies!! BTW…I have been a Member of the Collingwood Football Club since 1964 – when I turned 21. 

Lamentably, ill-health returned for another bout in March this year when I was diagnosed as having severe Vitamin ‘D’ deficiency. The treatment for it has run to hyperbaric chamber sessions, intensive physiotherapy, neuro-musculo-skeletal impulse sonar wandings and intravenous magnesium shots. And the expense and inconvenience of it ALL is not over yet! Blame the PC and ALL the administrative and secretarial work on the internet/computer. Too much time sitting down – for too long, probably. What’s more, not enough time exposed to natural sunlight. 

I should get more natural sunlight once I recommence conducting Republican Street Meetings again in the coming month of September…there’s been quite a build-up in preparation for the return to the streets of Australia and I’m quite looking forward to the challenge albeit it is very arduous work. 

The big adventure of this past 12 months was the sojourn into Central Australia with my bride, Jennifer, in the first half of September 2010 when we drove out through Broken Hill to Coober Pedy and took from there a return flight over the bulging water catchment of the Lake Eyre Basin to Birdsville and back via the Goyder Lagoon and the historic William Creek Station. Just amazing the overall outback colour scheme as a result of “the Big Wet”. Jen and I also found Coober Pedy a fascinating place to mosey around in for a few days while we were in the true Central Outback of Continental Australia. We returned to Sydney via the Southern Flinders wine region (very underwhelming) and had most enjoyable stopovers for roistering occasions with country friends of long-standing: Robert King in Mildura and Rick Martin and Karen Sutherland at Cootamundra. In ALL: a “Wattle Glow experience”! 

Guard your Sovereignty over the next 12 months and I’ll get back to you in August 2012 if I’ve lasted that long, myself! 

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