There would be hardly anybody in our nation of Australia who has not been – at least to some extent – affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which kicked in circa early March of 2020. And, as time marches on it is becoming as plain as day that there shall be no returning to what has been nicknamed: “the Old Normal”. Moreover, by virtue of each & every one of us having to make as good a fist of responding to the “New Normal” as possible, we survived and/or thrived as maybe… Jennifer (often just Jen interchangeably with The Bride) and Peter C. got away on short intra-State holidays several times and on one of these short holidays we went to the Southern Highlands and stayed at Bundanoon for 5 days/nights. Now, on one of these Bundanoon (cold & wet) mornings we visited a coffee shop [the Jumping Rock, actually]  where we got in to conversation with an old local geyser named Frank who took time out from the cryptic crossword puzzle he was completing to give us his 3M philosophy [nah, ahem, not the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing multinational spiel] thus: the importance, firstly, of having one’s head together; secondly, of having sufficient money to afford a comfortable existence and, thirdly, of having the ability to walk and generally get/move around without a wheelchair. The Writer has told the story – in anecdote fashion – on numerous occasions since then and it never fails to amuse. *More on longevity later, by the way.

Of course, other 3M equations have been produced over the 20th & 21st Centuries with Prime Minister of the ‘Roaring Twenties’, Stanley Melbourne Bruce, forever enunciating his ‘MEN + MONEY + MARKETS’ outlook and, in more recent times ‘Speccie’ columnist, Michael Baume, proffering his ‘MONEY + MOTIVATION + MANAGEMENT’ message.

In the convoluted year to 15 August 2022, in the usual melancholy fashion, The Writer continued adding, lamentably, names to his progressive Passing Parade…John Elliott (a.k.a. the “jam man”); Peter Hood; Jacqui Bosanac; Trisha Noble (a.k.a. Patsy Ann Noble); Shelley May; John West (a.k.a. “the show man”); Tom & Ted Le Garde; Gary Shearston; Barrie Smillie; Tom Richmond; Brian Tennant; Stuart Fisher; Eddie Jaku; Gordon Brooks; Don Davy; Mary De Vos; Sandra Ghosn; Glenn Wheatley; Ken Capelin; Les Williams; P.J. O’Rourke; Sam Pacella; Izzy Gliener; Dean Jaensch; Caroline Jones; Ray McNeilly; Moss Cass; Gerry Weingarth; John Tingle and last but not least Olivia Newton-John. Vale with fond memories writ large. Nowhere near as many as last year’s (2021) total of 70 but still 31 “Oldies but Goodies”!

With the 16th Annual Wattle Day Luncheon postponed because of the NSW State Premier’s second but more serious lockdown, political life proceeded and, from right field, The RPA was approached on 3 September (The Writer’s Birthday Anniversary) to amalgamate with Victor Kline’s New Liberal Party and, subsequently, rebuffed.

On 4 September Chrissy Sharp named the 2021 Oz Republican of the Year.

On 6 September James Cryer released his rather stern position paper viz: ‘Australian Democracy Ain’t What It Used To Be’. Cryer is, it must be said, a fierce critic of the way Australia ‘does gummint’.

On 9 September we welcomed our wandering male ginger pussycat, Meggsie, back home. The little survivor was absent for more than 2½ years!

On 13 September the ARM announced, per the Zoom medium, their initial Trivia Quiz as a precursor to the launch of their definitive model for the Oz Republic. Again, more on this later.

On 17 September Jen and Peter C. commenced a series of picnic lunches outdoors in mainly the North-West sector of Sydney. We totalled some 10 of these in ALL!

On 27 September The RPA launched its Wattle Day Newsletter #16 with the heading: ‘A DANGEROUS PATRIOT, INDEED!’ and in the following days Peter C. mailed out 2558 composite packages. Another record for the books!

On 27 October The RPA finally staged Wattle Day Luncheon #16 at Rozelle whereat Jim Simpson gave the throng a stirring talk on the vexed issue of ‘climate rationalism’.

On 12 October (then) Queensland Liberal-National Senator, Amanda Stoker [with her loyal researcher, Jye Beardow,] led a discussion by Zoom on the topic of ‘Mr (Mark) McGowan, Tear Down This Wall!: Section #92 [of the Australian Constitution] After Clive Palmer V Western Australia’ which The Writer urges ALL conscientious fellow-Australians – especially those who have been shocked by the roguish behaviour of State gummints in lock-step with the National Cabinet in recent months & years – to check out on the Brisbane-based Samuel Griffiths Society’s 2021 Online Speaker series site.

On 3 November, “boo hoo”, our fabulous neighbours Dean Robinson & Julie (“Frenchie”) Bordet split for Kellyville.

On 10 November The Writer addressed the Broadway Open Forum at Humanist House, Chippendale, on where the Oz Republic issue was at, pro tem.

On 25 November The Writer worked all day – in the rain – on a pre-poll booth for republican friend and customer, Peter Dixon, in front of Ashfield Town Hall. Peter D. was running for Local Government office.

On 6 December The Writer attended, per invitation from The Convenor, David Flint, the 22nd Annual National Conference of the ACM in Sydney.

On 31 December we had over for New Year “drinkies” our much-valued remaining neighbours, John Tanti & Bronwyn Hughes.

7-12 January…off on a 6 night/day holiday to Bundanoon and the Southern Highlands of NSW. On the 6th night we dined with long-term RPA Party Members and Customers, Harley & Megan Tarrant at their Balaclava home and finished UP staying the night with them. The highlights of this excursion were (a) a tour of Retford Park, Bowral; (b) a male lyrebird “strutting his stuff” at Echo Point; (c) visiting the charming village of Burrawang.

On 12 January the very latest (and last?) ARM model for an Oz Republic was launched [‘A HEAD of STATE for an Independent Nation’] at the Federation Monument in Centennial Park where Meredith Doig – UP from Melbourne – presided. Said model came out as an 8-page brochure with a major error on page 5 viz: that Australia was a former British Colony – which was never the case.

On 10 February The RPA signed Scott Peterson in to The Party Fold as a Life Member and Convenor of the ACT Chapter.

On 11 February recognised Oz Constitutional Academic, Anne Twomey, wrote a      more-than-interesting article in the AFR headed: ‘WHAT HAPPENS IF THE QUEEN is INCAPACITATED?’ Twomey gave the low-down on how & when a Regency occurs/can occur. This scenario is a distinct possibility as more often than ever, Lilibet, opts out of her public duties.

On 2 March…Joint Release of RPA Campaign Bulletin #51 – declared as being a ‘Collector’s Edition’ as an 8-pager purely because it featured critiques of the latest ARM model for the Oz Republic by no lesser prominent persona than Malcolm Turnbull, former Chairman of the ARM + Lindsay Marshall, Communications Director of the RRA  (that’s Real Republic Australia for those not “in-the-know”) and, as you would expect, David Flint of the ACM. There was an accompanying Announcement Blurb apropos The RPA’s UPcoming Double Header Event at Katoomba, Capital City of the Blue Mountains.

On 12 March also so-called (British) Royal expert, Jonathan Sacerdoti, “exclusively” informed the US Weekly that Prince Charles – when he becomes King Charles 3rd – (that) he intends to ‘slim down’ the ‘working royals’ whatever that means. Chukka, evidently, is already ‘prepping’ for a new era. King Charles the Last?! Anyone??!!

On 11 March…Kaffee Klutsch with monarchist friend, David Flint, at Bondi Junction. One of the matters discussed was the glaring howler in the ARM’s latest model (see 12 January notation as reference) for an Oz Republic.

On 12 March, the Sco-Mo gummint created & released its Australian Platinum Jubilee Emblem – in the 3 colours of platinum, gold & purple. No doubt – respectful though it was – the wobbly Prime Minister was, yet again, affirming his monarchical leanings.

31 March…1303 Compilation Mailers sent out to The RPA streamlined network – that of the 2 March Joint Releases.

9-12 April…off on a 4 night/day holiday (round trip) to Goulburn + Murrumbateman + Gundaroo + Gunning + Harden + Jugiong + Sutton Forest. The highlights of this excursion were (a) the best pub dinner ever at the Hibernian Hotel, Goulburn; (b) a tour of the heritage-listed Riversdale Estate, Goulburn; (c) wine tastings at Clonakilla and Eden Road wineries, Murrumbateman; (d) staying in the Paris Room of the Gundaroo Manor.

On 17 April we had RPA Party Members & Customers, Steve Henshaw & Joanne Elliott over to Hubtopia for Lunch.

9 April-3 May…off on a primarily RPA Business Round Trip which took The Writer – acting mostly as The National Executive Director of RPA – to Canberra & District + Southern Tablelands of NSW + Gippsland + Greater Melbourne (most notable for The Writer’s 4 night stay with newly-introduced friend, Janice Collins, at her Kew redoubt)   + Geelong + Colac + Warrnambool & District + Ballarat + Warracknabeal + Bendigo & District + Shepparton & District + The NSW Riverina + Central Western NSW and the Blue Mountains. Yep, and whence in Melbourne, Peter C. just had to witness his beloved Collingwood Magpies go around against their long-standing VFL/AFL rival, Essendon Bombers, at the MCG on Anzac Day and win, quite handsomely.

On 19 May Jen & Peter C. went together to the 2022 Sydney Writer’s Festival being held in the refurbished Carriageworks (Everleigh workshops) at Redfern where The Writer met UP with Bryan Brown + Jon Faine + Phillipa McDonald + Jonathan King.

On 21 May, of course, the era of the Sco-Mo gummint ended. SMH columnist, George Megalogenis, opined on 23 August (2022) that “(Oz) voters took a decisive turn to the Centre-Left by electing our most diverse federal parliament in history”. Hard to disagree, hmmm? Latterly (on the ABC’s ‘4 Corners’ program of 15 August (2022) reporter Louise Milligan – in a comprehensive edition headed ‘Independents’ Day’ – explained the ramifications of the new scheme of things…indeed, just how difficult things are going to be in the first term of, particularly, the ‘Teal Independents’. Good Luck to them, anyway!

On 27 May, The Writer – together with RPA Victorian Chapter Convenor, Colin Stephens – conducted Republican Street Meeting #789 in Katoomba Street, Katoomba as a public relations exercise for the most part.

On 28 May, The RPA staged its now quite famous 2022 Double Header Event in Katoomba proper viz: Annual National Republican Convention #34 [twice previously postponed] at the historic Carrington Hotel in the Library thereof in the afternoon and its 40th Anniversary Dinner at the exquisite Avalon Restaurant in the evening. Two UPshots: (a) the record of the deliberations at Convention #34 may be sighted on The Party’s website and (b) gold-framed Life Membership Certificates were awarded at the splendiferous dinner to esteemed long-term RPA Members Mike Burke + Howard Wheatley + James Boddy + Rick Martin and to relatively new chum Scott Peterson.

On or about 1 June in the Winter, 2022 [edition #10] of the RRA’s quarterly bulletin viz: ‘Constitutional Conversation’ the Chairman of the Lobby Group, David Muir, reviewed Tom Keneally’s latest book headed: ‘A BLOODY GOOD RANT: My Passions, Memories & Demons’. Muir reports that Keneally himself revealed that Malcolm Turnbull took over as the ARM Chairman in 1993 and relegated him to an UNwinnable position on the ARM ticket in elections for delegates to the February, 1998 (first) Constitutional Convention – which he apparently still resents. As one would expect from Muir, as a thoroughly staunch Direct Electionist…he asserted that Keneally was wrong in his criticism that “direct electionists”, who were active for a direct election model for an Oz Republic, were “wreckers”. Muir cogently reminds anybody interested – OR who has forgotten ALL the relevant circumstances – that the ARM-backed ‘YES” case model did NOT have a majority vote from the ‘Con Con’. Insofar, the so-called politicians’ republic amounted to an absolutely mistaken model because it was put, per referendum, on a “take it or leave it” basis and on the 6 November, 1999 Australian voters chose to leave it. Case Closed!

On 4 June The Writer commenced work on UPdating The RPA Party’s constitution.

On 11 June in a SMH article headed; ‘WHAT WE GOT WRONG in 1999 AND HOW to SECURE a REPUBLIC NOW’ The former ARM “YES” Campaign National Director, Greg Barns, warned of the necessity to not UNDERestimate the concerted opposition which will come with the enterprise. Yep! *The ‘NOW’ Barns speaks of is way too premature but an informative article, notwithstanding.

On 22 June The Writer met with a significant young player in Oz politics – one David Olbrycht-Palmer for a ‘working lunch’ at Rouse Hill. Watch this space.

14-27 July…off on a near-fortnight holiday with The Bride. In yet another Round Trip [read: Adventure!] we drove per the Riverina + Broken Hill + Packsaddle + Malparinka    + Tibooburra + Cameron Corner (where the 3 States of NSW, South Australia & Queensland intersect) + White Cliffs + Cobar + Bourke [where, there on NSW parliamentary investigative work, The Writer re-met Mark Latham] + Brewarrina            + Narrabri (where we really “chanced it” driving UP to the top of Mount Kaputar in the Mt. K. National Park) + Paterson in the Upper Hunter Valley.

The highlights were (a) the tour of the Altina Wildlife Park, Darlington Point;
(b) the tour of the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum and (c) the 50’s-style Bell’s Milkbar and (c) dining and checking out of the iconic Palace Hotel and (d) staying in a salubrious studio of the Red Earth Motel in Broken Hill; (e) Corner Country – as indicated; (f) The quite magnificent Underground Hotel at White Cliffs; (g) the Back o’ Bourke Museum and (h) the guided tour of the weekend-operating Harris Cotton Gin and (i) the Back o’ Bourke Gallery, Bourke.

On 2 August Matt Thistletwaite, the Assistant Minister for the Republic, addressed a select group of 12 ACM Young Ambassadors – presumably somewhere in Greater Sydney – regarding, naturally enough, the Albo-led Federal Labor gummint’s plans for a second Oz Republican referendum – in their second term if they get there!

On 9 August Jen & Peter C. really treated themselves to one of the best movies we have ever seen: Baz Luhrmann’s ginormous film simply entitled: ‘Elvis’. It is a “Must See”!

On 10 August The Writer made it his business to sit down and watch the Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, deliver an address to the National Press Club in Canberra. Taiwan and ‘China’s One Motherland’ concerns dominated the speech.

Returning to the ‘longevity’ aspect of things Peter C. has a mid-90s friend, Ted Newman – who is both deaf and blind – to begin a considered quote with. Newman is worldly-wise and is – even in his dotage – quite a marvellous storyteller and fun to share an afternoon with at his Middle Dural home. He propounded the view last time Jen visited him thus: “One can live too long” which is worth contemplating. SMH columnist, Kate Halfpenny, on 25 June last – in a humorous article headed: ‘I Was Feeling Old Until Rupert Murdoch’s Act of Optimism – Divorced from Jerry Hall at Age 91’ opined, in summation: “what keeps us alive & young at any age is purpose” The Writer, who, candidly, has spent a goodly while in various clinics through the past convoluted year cannot but concur with both Newman & Halfpenny. Good health is decidedly key to longevity. Amongst other sessions, The Writer has had the cataracts from both his eyes removed and intensive therapy for his ever-degenerating lower back. However, believing that his life is still ‘purposeful’ Peter C. believes he must ‘soldier on’ and ensure he has few(er) falls and minimises cuts to his body, Hey!

In yet another full-on (convoluted) year The Writer well & truly kept UP his book-reading levels and got through 5 books penned by his #1 Oz republican adversary, Fitzy, amongst others. As Peter C. has acknowledged hitherto, Peter FitzSimons is a topflite storyteller and he loved reading ‘The Incredible Life of Hubert Wilkins: Australia’s Greatest Explorer’ + ‘The Catalpa Rescue’ + ‘Tobruk’ + ‘Nancy Wake’ + ‘The Ballad of Les Darcy’. Three other recommended books would be (a) Alex Mitchell’s ‘Lord Louis Mountbatten: Britain’s Warlord’ in which Mitchell, on page #123, mentions that this dynasist was once considered for the Governor-Generalate of Australia; (b) Margaret Cameron-Ash’s ‘Lying for the Admiralty’ in which Cameron-Ash, on page #79, gives UNswerving credit to seafarer, James Cook – when he was a merchant navyman in the “collier days” – for learning ‘The 3 Ls’ viz. lead + latitude + lookout… thus the practical skills of his trade and (c) Tom Keneally’s ‘The Great Shame: A Story of the Irish in the Old World and the New’ in which Keneally stresses, time & again, that the twin ideals of Republicanism & Communism haunted the British and their monarchical values in both the 19th & 20th Centuries.

And, being a massive fan of 19C Italian Patriot, Giuseppe Mazzini, Peter C. conducted a whole lot more research into his legacy primarily via C. A. Bayly’s tour de force: ‘Giuseppe Mazzini and the Globalisation of Democratic Nationalism 1810-1920’. Pointedly, Mazzini became and was an arch-disciple/advocate of Claude-Henri de Rouvroy, Comte Saint Simon (1760-1825) and hence the enthusiastic espousal of the philosophy of ‘St. Simonianism’. It is ALL fascinating history and, doubtless, The Writer will resolutely further-research the comings & goings of anti-clerical Mazzini – this great Italian Statesman – well into the future. A Trivial Pursuit question for the reader thus is: What was Giuseppe Mazzini’s nickname? It was “Pippo”!

Two final matters for consideration: (a) If 26 January becomes the day which is selected to be the appropriate date in the future for celebration of the coming of the Australian Republic it should, somewhat automatically, cancel the clamouring for ‘Invasion Day’ and (b) With the likes of prominent and highly respected Aboriginal-Australians e.g. Michael Mansell + NT Senator Jacinta Price + Warren Mundine ALL having gone on the proverbial public record as being ANTI-The Voice to Parliament, why not focus on the already-provided Section #101 of the present Oz Constitution and, enact Commonwealth laws to facilitate specific needs of indigenous Aussies per properly-structured Inter-State Commissions?

This issue is the most compact yet and The Writer is including a batch of cartoons he picked UP along the way for the Back Page – humour being the Spice of Life.

ALL Good Getting to The Readership until next time – if there is one! Stay Safe but most of ALL Stay Sane – there’s a way to go before ANY kind of ‘Old Normal’ returns!

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