State of The REPUBLICAN Nation Report #2 of Early-Mid August, 2014
Writer: PETER CONSANDINE
The TONE MAY HAVE DONE The CAUSE a FAVOUR
Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, may well have, indirectly, boosted the stocks of the Republican push by re-introducing knighthoods & dameships to the Honours Lists. In following his New Zealand counterpart, John Key, Abbott has snidely attempted to gazump Australian Republican organisations in a too-clever-by-half, arbitrary act which, simultaneously, has restored a British imperial element to the Australian Honours System (AHS) and demeaned and devalued the AHS, accordingly. It was, from a cultural and symbolic values reform perspective, a backward move. ‘Dishonourable Honours’.
The REPUBLICAN CONCEPT and POPULARITY WILL RE-BOUND
Though the REPUBLIC is NOT travelling famously at the present time, it is ONLY a temporary lull. For there are a number of catalysts which might ‘come into play’ for the patient and the dedicated, long-suffering Australian Republicans:
? Scottish Independence – as a result of that UK country’s September 2014 referendum on the issue;
? The Centenary of Anzac Day – on 25 April, 2015;
? The monarch’s death or abdication – probably the former as the (9th) monarch is now 88 years of age (*see further commentary below);
? Wattle Day – proclaimed 1 September and yet to be legislated as a National Holiday to replace the queen’s birthday holiday;
? Prince Harry Windsor – being appointed to the Governor-Generalate to follow Peter Cosgrove in 2019.
It was NOT entirely unexpected, however, there was no perceived spurt for the REPUBLIC with the potential catalystic events in recent times including the abdications of the queen of Belgium and the kings of The Netherlands and Spain (over the years 2013-2014). And so, Australian Republicans will have to get their act together lest they grudgingly must accept a 10th monarch since George 3rd in the personage of Charles 3rd.
KATY GALLAGHER To The FORE
The Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Katy Gallagher, gave a stirring annual lecture to the ARM Canberran faithful on 13 June: ‘MORE THAN a FASHION CHOICE…Continuing the Campaign Towards an Australian Republic’ at the ACT House of Assembly and it, thankfully, generated a bit of media coverage.
The ST JAMES ETHICS CENTRE PUTS ON a GIG
A debate was held on 24 June involving Bob Carr and Marcia Langton speaking for the Affirmative Panel on the motion:
‘The QUEEN SHOULD BE The LAST AUSTRALIAN MONARCH’. The debate was sponsored by the IQ2 Project – an in-house associated entity of the St James Ethics Centre. Held at the City Recital Hall in Angel Place, Sydney, the writer was invited to participate from the floor in what was a recorded debate to be shown on an ABC network sometime in the near-future. Again, the Republic got a flight in the media from what was a well-attended event and at which, most importantly, the Affirmative Panel carried victory on the night with a net 57% majority.
DID YOU KNOW?
There were eight (8!) assassination attempts on the life of Queen Victoria – a fact pretty much airbrushed from the true political history of the 19th Century. Of course, her son – the future (5th) monarch, Edward 7th – had two (2!) assassination attempts made on his life – one of those being in Belgium. That Buckingham Palace intruder who got as close as possible to Elizabeth 2nd – entering her secluded bedroom undetected – left her unharmed. But, who knows what the upshot might have been if a plot to assassinate Elizabeth 2nd on a certain train journey over the Blue Mountains of NSW on one of her royal tours had not been uncovered? There is no such thing as 100% security – this assertion being borne out as Provisional IRA terrorists got to her cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, in Southern Ireland. So our current (9th) monarch may have been somewhat fortunate over her 63+ year reign thus far NOT to have been a victim at the hand of a would-be assassin.
MARK DREYFUS TELLS The ARM to ‘WAKE UP’
The Shadow Federal Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, in an address to the Victorian ARM Forum on 1 June certainly did not pull any punches. In a blistering speech, Dreyfus reminded the Lobby Group’s Melbournian faithful that (a) they should NOT become complacent; (b) they cannot rest on their laurels; (c) the Republic is NOT an inevitability. Dreyfus summed up this way: “It is our task [as Republicans] now to grasp the nettle and renew the struggle for an Australian Republic – (that) it will NOT be handed to us”. Hear, Hear to that! But were the powers-that-be in the ARM National Executive listening? Has there been ANY discernible action or meaningful response since from ARM National Director, David Morris, or ARM National Chairman, Geoff Gallop? It would appear NOT. A comprehensive check of the ARM website reveals that the 2012 ‘WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?’ campaign is being subtly phased out. Probably NOT before time, actually. The slogan never resonated in the body politic. I mean, every thinking Australian knows who they want to be. And the Australians who desire a Republic know what they want, one would have thought.
TIME for a REVOLUTIONARY APPROACH?
The opening line of former Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam’s final literary work: ‘ABIDING INTERESTS’ reads: “My chief interest in the events of October-November 1975 now lies in their relevance to Australia’s advance towards the Republic”. Lamentably, with The Great Man’s having reached the ripe old age of 98, he will NOT live long enough to witness the proverbial ‘changing of the guard’. A shame, that. Notwithstanding, Mark Dreyfus’s urging (see above) must NOT be ignored. His compatriots in the ARM do need to Wake UP. Indeed, ‘the show must go ON’. The REPUBLICAN PARTY of AUSTRALIA (RPA) must follow suit. Significantly, The RPA does have some revolutionary ideas to put to the ARM.
The RPA DOES ITS BIT FOR The CAUSE
The RPA, a registered political party, founded in January, 1982 – fully 9+ years ahead of the ARM’s coming in to existence – can honestly and fairly claim to do it’s share of the heavy lifting for the Australian Republic on a continuing basis.
The RPA contests Federal elections – and has done, as a registered entity, since 1993
The RPA holds Annual Conventions in a different Australian regional city/town – and has done since 1987
3. The RPA stages Annual Republican of the Year Dinners – and has done since 1991
4. The RPA sponsors Annual Wattle Day Luncheons at Parramatta Park (Western Sydney) – and has done since 2006
5. The RPA publishes Annual Wattle Day Newsletters – and has published 9 of these to date
6. The RPA publishes Republican Campaign Bulletins – and has published 44 of these to date
7. The RPA conducts regular Australia-wide Street Meetings – and has conducted no less than 747 of them over
nearly 23 consecutive calendar years at the time of this report going to press…That’s an average of 32 per annum
since October, 1991 – an unassailable track record on the grassroots Australian Republican Front
8. The RPA maintains a user-friendly website which, although academically-structured, nonetheless is a treasure-
trove of grass roots Australian Republican history for students, researchers and future-patriots et al
9. The RPA promotes the idea and concept of an Australian Republic per various marketing lines and merchandising
avenues e.g. ‘Republican’ branded Australian wine, coffee, olive oil, t-shirts, money, badges, flags, banners etc
10. The RPA commenced compiling ‘State of the REPUBLICAN Nation’ Reports in November 2013 and shall continue to
do so – this missive being the second in what shall be a series, over time.
OUT WITH The ‘S’ WORD and IN WITH The ‘R’ WORD
In the recent WA Half-Senate Re-Election, the opportunity arose to kill off perceived moves to revive secession for Western Australia. The West Australian newspaper availed space to The RPA to put a case for a WA State Republic (legal and constitutional) and to dispense with the idea of WA secession (illegal and UNconstitutional). The coverage was so positive that it has lent itself to The RPA’s August 2013 proposal for The Republic by Default i.e. State-by-State Republics. The nucleus of Committees for this new – possibly revolutionary – campaign are already in place in Perth WA, Melbourne Victoria and Hobart Tasmania and the real action is set down to wholeheartedly begin in October.
Watch this space.
EGMs #10 & #11
ALL Republican recipients of this report may come along to either of the next two Extraordinary General Meetings (EGMs) of The RPA. Venue: The Epping Club, Rawson Street, Epping 2121 from 8pm Wednesdays 24 September or 26 November.