To my mind, the 2-letter word ‘UP’ deserves to always be spelt in capitals because it is so emphatic a word; so deliberative. Think of the use of the word in sayings e.g. UP and Coming; UP, UP and Away (once a TAA slogan and that former airline’s promotional song); Build UP supplies/Build UP resistance; Everything’s Coming UP Roses; Come UP with an Idea/Come UP with a Plan; Scale UP or UPscale; UP for the Challenge; Love Lifts Us UP Where We Belong (the great Jennifer Warnes hit song); UP for Grabs; “Bottoms UP” (drinking someone else’s good health as well as happiness); ‘Get UP’ (I’d never be forgiven if I omitted the notorious, Left-of-Centre lobby group from the commentary!); “Keep your Chin UP” (encouragement for someone in a temporary bad space); UP to his/her back teeth – involved!; ‘Come UPPence’ (what one deserves/gets if one is disrespectful of others or misbehaves and offends others)…
I mean, the term: “UP is a Good Place to Be” has other luvly connotations, hmmm?!
It’s quite a long list. But, surely, you get my drift…Every year I’ve gotta be UP for this exercise. I have an ever-developing network across an ever-widening field.
And, along with needing to remain in contact with so many – especially Party Members – I actually am a natural communicator and I like corresponding with my associates in ALL categories. Utilisation of e-mails helps considerably BUT e-mailing is merely part of the communications domain, I hold.
I believe I nearly killed myself trying to complete one major [Yep, political] project this very year [January – June inclusive]…I undertook to prepare mail-out packages of Foundation Member’s Certificates plus couplings to the 868 Aussies who either joined or re-joined The Party during 2014-2015-2016. It, frankly, was the hardest job I’ve ever taken on in the 34½ years that I have been running The Republican Party’s affairs. However, the task is concluded and it is best now to look back on same as a ‘Labour of Love’. I was just UP for it!
By comparison, the annual Wattle Day newsletter project is a ‘doddle’. Perhaps that is so because, at the time of writing, I am in the last stages of a 2200 mail-out project albeit one that commenced immediately after last year’s project concluded.
There were not one but two By-Elections (for the House of Representatives Seats of Canning in WA and North Sydney in NSW) plus the 2nd July Double Dissolution General Election during the past year – ALL which interfered with The Republican Party’s re-registration efforts.
Ultimately, because of the time involved in the issuing and returning of writs for ALL three elections AND with the long, drawn-out process of the already re-registered parties having to get their new logos approved with the AEC etc, time ran out for The Party [The RPA] and for the first time in three decades The Party did not contest a general election. The valuable available time, though, made it possible to undertake a huge CONSOLIDATION project which yielded a fully-fledged 20 plank platform of policies for this 2016-2018/2019 electoral cycle and then some. It is always quite difficult for a minor political party to develop progressive policies given how under-resourced The Party always is. But a doubling of the policy platform since the April 2014 Re-Election for The Senate in WA was gratifying. And a monumental achievement. Incidentally, The Republican Party got itself a new logo too – it sits atop the coupling herewith.
There have been some changes on the homefront, as well. My bride, Jennifer, and I love going to classical music concerts staged by the SSO, ACO and ABO.
This past year, however, we have started going more often to the middle-of-the-day affairs: like ‘Tea & Symphony’!
There were a number of highlights in the convoluted year 1st September 2015 – 31st August 2016 but the following were Stand-Outs:
• Hugh Mackay’s talk on the theme of ‘The ART of BELONGING in Australian Society’ at the 10th annual Wattle Day Luncheon on 1st September;
• A short flying trip in early October with Heron Airlines to the Bass Strait Islands of Flinders and King. What I found interesting in both those places was that the ‘locals’ on these windswept islands defer to the bigger Island State of Tasmania as the ‘Mainland’! As do the ‘locals’ on Maria and Bruny Islands further to the South-East.
• A fortnight-long trip to three South-East Asian countries in February and more particularly the North-West of Laos [in Luang Prabang there are NO street names let alone numbers on the buildings!], North Vietnam [where Ha Long Bay is a most marvellous experience – the sights and, extraordinarily, the South Vietnamese cuisine!] and Singapore [which has been totally transformed over a generation in to a First World Island Republic].
• The Party has secured postage sponsorship for at least the next coupla years. This is the equivalent of a large donation to the coffers of The Party – especially in the light of much-increased Australia Post charges this year.
• I have dabbled in the area of blogging. Only three blogs produced to date. But one has to be prepared to make blogging a weekly routine, at least, and learn and perfect the tricks of linking etc. It’s a TIMING thing, really.
• From Sunday, 20th September, I have been into ‘REUNIONISING’ big time. As a different way of recruiting for The Party since this time, I have been recontacting – mainly on weekends – old associates on a grand scale. I have re-met old Primary School chums + old neighbours + old junior soccer and junior rugby league players + old musician mates + old work colleagues + old girlfriends! An enthralling chapter in my life ONgoing!! More on this next year.
• The Dinner at The Hub Restaurant, West Brisbane, for 2015 Republican of the Year, Glenn Davies, on 3rd March.
• The Launch of the State Republic of Queensland Campaign (the 4th in the Interstate series) on 7th March.
• Second Summit Meeting with my Australian Republican Movement [ARM] counterpart, Tim Mayfield, in the CBD of Melbourne on 12th July.
Subsequently, I UPdated (read: made clearer) the Frequently-Asked Questions paper on the differences between the ARM and The RPA which I was
compelled to write earlier in the year.
• In Solidarity, I re-joined the Australian Republican Movement, and have made a separate donation to the recently-formed ARM Women’s Network
because I absolutely believe the Major Task of Oz Republicans is to get as many Oz women as possible actively campaigning and winning over the hearts & minds of Australian Women who are yet to commit to The Cause.
• The publication of two (2!) ‘State of the Republican Nation Reports’: #5 in February and #6 in August.
• Five (5!) no less, Extraordinary Meetings of The Party including the Annual General Meeting in October, 2015; January, 2016; April, 2016; May, 2016 and August, 2016…The Party National Executive had a most productive year, indeed – borne out by the Minutes of ALL five meetings.
• Attendance at the Sydney Theatre Company on the night of 7th April for the contemporary play: ‘King Charles 3rd’, starring British actor, Robert Powell leading an ALL-British cast. The play itself had a plausible plot – the ascension on the queen’s death of her son to the Top Job in The Firm. Irrespective, the ending was too predictable and thus the play overALL was disappointing; a cop-out, actually. On reflection though, the play was quite possibly written by a ‘Leap-Frogger’ (Mike Bartlett) – one of those hankering Brits who don’t wish to see Charles Windsor take his rightful place when Her Maj carks it.
• It was painful to sit through but the BBC documentary ‘The Queen at 90’ – shown on ABC TV1 on 4th July – was worth watching for one salient reason: how the royal family [The Firm] re-inforces its image and (thus) maintains its popularity and its relevance – in the British Scheme of Things, of course.
Sadly, I acknowledge the passing of just too many more of my associates over the past 12 months – 40 of them ALL found and 6 more than last year. Starting with Barbara Thiering it was Vale also to Ian Pickard, Veronica Brady, Barry Rushton, Ernie Burgess, Keith Hammond, John Keneally, Marian Henderson, Nerida Lumley, Robert Melby Scott, Manuel Martin, Jim Delkou, Keith McGowan, Jim Allen, John De Winter, Marianne Bork, Kep Enderby, Bob McGregor, Peter Catts, Stevie Wright, John Bannon, Neil Wiseman, Kors Nederlof, Joe Morsanuto, Arthur Gietzelt, Rob Jakobi, Margaret Henry, Milka Valdivia, Bridgette Brasier, Barry Wallwork, Robert Markovic, Alf Read, Peter Urquhart, Vincent Burke, Bob Ellis, Gwen O’Grady, Ed Heyman, Sybil Edwards and last but not least, Jim Staples.
The four (4!) colour items – ALL 2016 issues – are as follows: (a) our recently re-elected Prime Minister, The Turnbully – depicted by cartoonist, Bill Leak – looking and “sounding” remarkably like King Charles 2nd, methinks;
(b) the monarch giving a rather candid “reason” for her longevity in The Job – a brilliant cartoon by Larry Pickering ya gotta say;
(c) the current Chairman of the ARM – RB himself – captured magnificently by cartoonist, Alan Moir – preaching to the converted OR to the bored OR to the UNinterested (take your pick) and
(d) the sign ready for the next phase of the Oz Republic-by-Default Campaign – State #5 (of 6) being South Australia – courtesy of long-time Party Member, Rex Corrigan.