To: Friends, Colleagues, Supporters, Rellies, & Customers (as addressed)
On countless occasions since The Writer reached Three Score & Ten – indeed, his Seventys – and especially when they learned that ‘Conso’ had been keeping a day-by-day diary since 1st January, 1964, the general response of the informed was along the lines of “Oh, you must write your memoirs”. Well, for a considerable period of the past decade I have had to ponder: how does one go about such an enterprise? I put out feelers for both “ghost” writers and co- writers and consulted many of my friends and customers et al and finally – approximately a year ago – I came up with the way I should approach what I am calling my ‘ENMESHMENT’ Project. This was because not only was I going to delve as fully as possible in to my Personal Diaries but the 41+ years of The RPA political party which I instigated with 4 other fellow-republicans in January, 1982, 3 of whom are now dead.
In a fashion, the 2 lockdown years of the Covid-19 pandemic assisted with my beginning to clear the family shed + national secretariat + home attic of yesteryore ‘copy’ for Oceania!
I, fortuitously, was able to make sub-leasing of an old gold miner’s hut in remote North Eastern Tasmania – the township of Gladstone, 7264 – for 4 months as from late February this very year of 2023. My adorable spouse, partner & soulmate, Jennifer/Jen, extended me a 4 month long ‘Leave Pass’ and over to the Island State I went and, as it were, ‘got started’. Long story short: the hut, per se, was “functional” as I was led to believe but ramshackle-to-the-max what with extension leads but everywhere, bad lighting, uneven floorboards and loose carpeting…in other words: a death-trap for one as UNbalanced, physically, as I am these days. I had no less than 4 falls on the premises – one in which I broke my right hand and another when I split my head open. Before I even got to Gladstone I incurred 2 early-in-the-piece falls at Kettering and Scottsdale. And I hobbled back home to the Mainland after a bit more than 2 months with a ruptured hernia and a damaged right knee. So, I am “in the wars” but ‘Soldiering ON’ as I know I must!
2023 – when the calendar year is reviewed – shall, I am convinced, be a noteworthy year for our republic in terms of ‘keeping the show on the road’. The report in this, Wattle Day Newsletter #18, shall be “sum-totalled” from end-August, 2022 to end May 2023 because of costs on the one hand but timing on the other as shall be borne out.
As ever, I shall notate in this section the PASSING PARADE of those who are no longer in the Land of the Living or, as the case may be, Dead to Me: Sandra Arnold, Alan Stephens (Snr), Jaap Rhemrev, Max Ridddington, Phil Montgomery, Jim Bain, Hilary Mantel, Tony Osborne, Anthea Wieneke, Gracie Di Francesco, John Farquharson, Peter Kennedy-Smith, Bill Lines, Norman Bufton, Paul Knight, John Grandin, Les Holden, Wally Nash, Jimmie Rodgers, Rob Amos, Peter Woods, Bob Templeman, Hubert Evans, Les Carlyon, Peter Reith, Jack & Lena Docwra, Mick Jenkins, Chris Bennett, Phil Rowe, Graham Sumner, John Foley, David Duffy, Quentin Waugh, Jack & Auriel Seagar, Ralph Feller, Tony Britton, John Murray, David Hillman, Jon Hillman, Jim Andersen, Geoff Lutz, Dave Allen, Richard Ely, Ron Austin, Doug Carruthers, Charles Mollison, Lionel McKenzie, Jeff Beck, Renee Geyer, Margaret Blaxell, Maurie Mavin, John Clarke, John Kerin, Doug Mulray, Maree Schweitzer, Leon Isackson, Paul Dahan, Sophie Gebhardt, Noel Cassidy, Russell Thurlow & Billy Bunter. Vale writ large.
Thursday 1st September, 2022 at a new venue at Oatlands, we staged the 17th Annual Wattle Day Luncheon whereat our Guest Speaker Andrew (‘Billy’) Baxter addressed the topic: ‘WHY PEOPLE WANT TO BECOME BRANDS’. Stirring stuff!
On Saturday 3rd September Jen took me for a sumptuous lunch on my Birthday Anniversary at the ritzy Wild Pear restaurant at Dural – coincidentally, National Flag Day.
On Friday 9th September came the announcement that our Monarch of 70+ years, Queen Elizabeth the Second had died.
On Monday 12th September Jen & I went on a 4-Day excursion to Shellharbour and the South Coast.
On Tuesday 20th September I did the final tally of just how much money I had raised for The Quest over 40+ years of RPA grassroots involvement = $3,888,000 in net rounded dollars.
On Thursday 22nd September there was a declared Public Holiday for a National Day of Mourning in the light of the Monarch’s passing.
On Friday 14th October our long-term friend Elaine Birk came to stay at Hubtopia for a coupla days.
On or about Tuesday 25 October Craig (‘Fozzy’) Foster replaced Peter (‘Fitzy’) FitzSimons as Chair of the Australian Republic Movement and ‘Conso’ [that’s ME!] duly wrote him a Congratulationary Letter.
On Tuesday 29th November arrangements were put in place with long-term Life Member of RPA, Laurie Dunlop, to sub-lease his Gladstone, North East Tasmania, being-gradually-restored, old miner’s hut for 4 months in the first half of 2023 so that I could conscientiously begin on the said ‘Enmenshmennt Project’ in earnest. Princess of Tasmania ferry bookings were made fairly promptly afterwards – Jen graciously granting me Leave of Absence for a third of a year  away from her.
On Tuesday 6th December Laurie Dunlop agreed to become The Party’s Tasmanian Chapter Convenor.
On Wednesday 7th December Jen and I went to the Valley of the Waters Resort at Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains for a 2-day stayover…Hearty breakfasts here, indubitably! Whilst in the beautiful area Jen & I bought a new teapot at the Teapot Museum in Leura and dined there at the becoming-famous Garage Restaurant and also made a mandatory visit to the Megalong bookstore.
On Thursday 17th December I entered in to a fresh 20-book deal with Benjamin T. Jones, now a Central Queensland University History lecturer and Arts academic whose 2018 book ‘THIS TIME: AUSTRALIA’s REPUBLICAN PAST & FUTURE’ IS, from The Writer’s perspective, a bible which thoroughly deserved a revival – indeed, a renaissance!
On Monday 9th January 2023 I wrote – by agreement with Jen – a Promisssary Note to the effect that whence in North Eastern Tasmania on my own I would NOT try and beat/defy the odds, per se; that I would come back to the Mainland of Australia & Hubtopia if the situation in Gladstone 7264 became UNNbearable.
On Monday 16th January Miles Harris began getting my laptop needs (for Tassie) in to place.
On Tuesday 31st January I met up with my new ARM counterpart, Craig Foster, at Randwick which proved to be super-positive occasion.
On Sunday 5th February I spent 7 hours photocopying the 319 report sheets of/on the track record of RPA Community Republican Street Meetings conducted by, primarily, myself on The Party’s behalf between mid-October 1991 and very early October 1999 for Ben Jones as I had determined through correspondence that he is beginning to write his second book on The Oz Republic featuring the 1980’s & 1990’s decades…On the following day I packaged up and mailed the bundle to Dr Ben.
On Wednesday 8th February, Jen and I set off for the Deep North – she was going to a private wedding at Mooloolabah on the Sunshine Coast…I stopped off at Paddington, Inner Western suburb of Brisbane, to negotiate banquet dinner arrangements at the Nota Restaurant for the Republican of the Year 2023 celebration for the gong-winner, Ben Jones, on Saturday, 22nd July…Jen & I stayed with our ex-neighbours Jean & John McCartney at Mt Coolum for a coupla nights and a further night with Life Member Mike Burke and his bride, Jacqui Rowntree, at Ilkley. Before leaving SEQ, I held discussions with my RRA counterpart, David Muir, at St Lucia and Sponsor, Mark McIvor, at Surfers Paradise before trekking back to Sydney via a Yamba stopover. It is worth noting that Muir – to quote him affirmatively – believes that the ARM ‘Australian Choice’ model for the Oz Republic is “the politicians’ republic on steroids”. Hey!
On Thursday 16th February I ordered a second batch of Ben Jones’s book for select issue in and around and more particularly Victorian and Tassie contacts’; On Saturday morning 18th February – after spending weeks “prepping” for my Away-Adventure – I set off for the Deep South – delivering product to Megan Walker at Mooroopna, on the Saturday; latest boxes of “cleared” records to Colin Stephens at Heathcote, obtaining last writing tips from Mark Harris at Ballarat before ending the Sunday 19th at Tenby Point with Laurie Dunlop and his bride Sandi; on the Monday 20th delivering product to George Dyer at Balwyn, lunching with Sponsor, Fred Carter, at South Melbourne, afternoon kaffee klutching with Meredith Doig at Hawksburn before rocking out to Beaconsfield Upper to dine and stay the night with my brother-in-law, John Farrer, (then) on the Tuesday 21st having Morning Tea with my long-term friend, Cheryl Whelan, at Caulfield, Lunch with new friend, Janice Collins, at Richmond before heading out to Moonee Ponds and the Electoral Office of Bill Shorten, the MHR for Maribyrnong to brief Daniel White, Convenor of Labor for the Republic, on happenings-in-general before lobbing at Brunswick to both deliver product to long-time customer, Helen Breier, and stayover with her after dining out, (then) on the Wednesday 22nd – en route the Geelong Quay and the Bass Strait ferry – I did some rollchecks at the AEC office in downtown Melbourne, dropped off some “copy” to another of my old friends, Life Member Dana Serelis at Prahran and as I awaited at Geelong Quay and a boarding call I held a ‘live’ debate on my mobile phone with old monarchical rival, Philip Benwell, on Radio 2GB, Sydney apropos the Monarchy versus the Republic issue…Chris O’Keefe’s afternoon program ‘THRASH IT OUT’ being the medium. Got to hand it to Benwell though, inasmuch as he and his fellow Monarchist League colleagues don’t try to push the fallacious line that Australia already is a ‘Crowned Republic’ as ACM-aligned monarchists repeatedly and mischieviously do.
On Thursday 23rd February – after a rough crossing and not getting a wink of sleep – I arrived at Devonport…I decided to change my early plans and, very tired, split for Gladstone via a visit to Party Member’s Lisa Lewis’s abode at George Town…boy, oh boy did I sleep like the dead when I eventually got to Laurie’s hut!
On Friday 24th February I drove in to Scottsdale to make ALL necessary arrangements for UPcoming times before driving all day to Maydena where I overnighted with long-term Party Member and former Senate candidate, Bert Lawatch.
On Saturday 25th February I got my hair washed at the Exper-Tease hair salon at Claremont en route to a lovely afternoon kaffee klutsch in downtown Hobart with long-term friends Henry & Margaret Reynolds before heading to Mt Stuart to stay a coupla nights with other long-term friends Leo Foley & Cheryl Price; (then) on Monday 27th I returned to my Gladstone hut via both Launceston & Scottsdale where I put my affairs & needs in order for the proverbial ‘Long Haul’.
On Tuesday 28th February I had lotsa local arrangements to make and I got about attending to ALL that I could…setting UP truly took me the best part of the next 3 days. But, it was a struggle from the get-go albeit I kept an optimistic outlook. I shall write fully of my trials & tribulations at a future time. However, suffice to say/admit that I was ‘on the back foot’ from very early on and eventually – on the late afternoon of Saturday 1st April – Yeah, April Fool’s Day – I tripped on the front veranda of the hut whilst looking to see if a package for Laurie had arrived…Yep, I broke my right hand – two fingers thereof – which in X-rays at the Ochre clinic in Scottsdale in subsequent days meant I had to be referred to Launceston General Hospital for hand surgery which saw my right hand put in to a splint which, effectively, prevented me from both writing and touch-typing, anymore – for the time being.
From Sunday 2nd April I was on ‘R & R Leave’ …I had to fill in time until I could depart Tassie on a revised return date to the Mainland on the night of Tuesday 2nd May. So, I was greatly set back, scheduling-wise. I was able though to prepare for the coming expansive mailing exercise – stamps + envelopes + return address stickers etc. A week later – on the evening of Tuesday 11 April – I ‘owned up’ to Jennifer that I’d be quitting Gladstone around the time she was flying back to Sydney in very early May. That was a factor in the equation – Jen’s coming down to pay me a visit and thereafter visiting a long-term friend of hers in Lindisfarne – I had to wait for Jen to arrive at Launceston airport where I picked her up on Sunday afternoon 23rd April. From here, Jen & I stayed a night at the Auldington Hotel and dined at the Rupert & Hound restaurant. Once we got to the Gladstone hut we began sightseeing together out of the township – checking out over the days 24th – 29th April inclusive, the Little Blue Lake, Eddystone’s Lighthouse, Ringarooma, Fingal, St Marys and, in turn, Scamander on the East Coast – some hairy “fortune-shunting” days, to be sure. From Scamander we checked out Petrel Point, St Helens, Binalong Bay, the Cheese Factory at Pyengala, St Columba’s Falls and, not forgetting, the notorious Pub-in-the-Paddock and lastly Musselroe Bay.
On Sunday 30th April together Jen & I packed up and loaded my car which quite exhausted both of us. I said my Fond Farewells to the locals who I got to know and who assisted me no end: sweet ‘n’ luvly Lyn Fulmer, Dale & Anna Brown the Proprietors of the General Store and Joint Post Officers, neighbours Johnny & Chrissie Robertson and Owen & Debbie Jepson. I ensured also a most appreciative acknowledgement to my super-caring Scottsdale physician, Dr Ali Ghorbani, too.
On Monday 1st May following my final appointment at LGH I dropped Jen off at the Bus Stop from where she would commute down to Hobart. I (then) picked up and paid for the printing jobs done for me at Foot & Playsted…Ross Martin & his most accomplished personal assistant Anah Chapman were most professional in this regard and very nice people, what’s more. I overnighted in Deloraine in a very cramped room at the Mountain View Country Inn. And, after an absorbing few hours in downtown Deloraine on Tuesday 2nd May I split for the wharf at Devonport.
Now, as if I hadn’t injured myself enough whence in Tassie, I got the middle finger on my left hand caught in the door to the ablutions block on the morning of Wednesday 3rd May. Clumsy of me!
Back on the Mainland on Wednesday 3rd May I began my guided rounds firstly at Albert Park (Fred Carter), secondly at Richmond (Sarah Jones) and thirdly at Balwyn (George Dyer) before heading out to Thomastown to sort out matters at the (rubber) Stamp Store and, thenafter, lobbing at Chris Doig’s property at regional Denver where I overnighted.
I stayed on at Chris’s until late afternoon of Thursday 4th May when I ventured cross-country to Heathcote and Colin Stephens’ place where I overnighted. Whilst here, I signed Colin up to Life Membership of The RPA.
On Friday 5th May I drove 720kms dropping off at Mooroopna (Megan Walker), Albert Lake, Wagga Wagga (John & Margaret Rumens), Cootamundra (Rick Martin), Cowra (Andrew Mulligan) en route to Blayney and Elaine Birk’s place where I overnighted.
On Saturday 6th May, I ventured via South Bowenfels, suburban Lithgow (Bevan Ferguson), then Wentworth Falls (Jim Boddy) then to the other side of Wenty Falls and Matt Quinn’s being-renovated home where I watched – with an obliging host – the coronation of Australia’s new Monarch: King Charles the Third and overnighted. I mean, good republicans must be good royal watchers too. Yes?
On Sunday afternoon 7th May I humbly returned to Hubtopia, Castle Hill in North-West Sydney thankfully in one-piece! In the Peter FitzSimons column [5 Minutes with Fitz] in the Sun-Herald newspaper this very day the journalist interviewed no other than his Australians for Constitutional Monarchy adversary, David Flint, the National Convenor. Flint, obviously somewhat uncomfortable, (a) denied he’d ever been a republican; (b) admitted that he, as a then Member of the Sydney University Labor Club of which he was a Founder joined in Sydney street protest demonstration when Labor Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, was sacked by the Governor-General, John Kerr in November 1975; (c) declared he was a monarchist because he viewed Monarchy as the best, most stable form of government; (d) agreed that King Charles the Third doesn’t enjoy the same level of affection as his impeccable mother.
On Wednesday 17th May I ordered another batch of 20 books from Dr Ben Jones.
On Tuesday 23rd May I dropped off to Marcia Pacella at Galston and Rodney Parsons at Hornsby. Also this day, I wrote up a Media Release on Why Ben Jones was selected at 2023 RPA Republican of the Year 2023 and it may be found elsewhere in this RPA newsletter.
On Wednesday 24th May – because of inter-related circumstances – I very belatedly joined the Peugeot Car Club.
On Thursday 25th May I wrote to David Muir of RRA pointing out the glaring error on the first line of the opening paragraph of his organisation’s specially-prepared Autumn Extra edition of Constitutional Conversation viz: “the coronation of King Charles the Second”! Well, we ALL make mistakes. However, given that RRA mails its quarterly bulletins to politicians and other prominent constitutional reformers Australia-wide, it is extraordinary that such an error was NOT sighted and corrected before going to print!
On Saturday, 27th May the “scheduled” RPA Annual National Convention #35 at Scottsdale proceeded successfully…the Record of the “event” is featured in the body of this RPA newsletter.
MEDIA RELEASE OF 23RD MAY 2023
Why Benjamin T. Jones has been awarded the RPA gong as Oz Republican of the Year 2023
Peter Consandine, National Executive Director of The Republican Party of Australia is – along with his perpetual grassroots promotion of an Australian Republic – a bookseller of renown and has been since the publishing in 2018 of the book by Ben Jones titled ‘THIS TIME: Australia’s Republican Past and Future’ a passionate advocate of its being widely red.
However, when Peter Consandine learnt in early 2023 that Dr Jones was in the throes of writing a second book on the important issue – one which would be a successor to his first brilliant effort – recognition needed to be acknowledged for an UPcoming work which would, doubtless, assist in keeping the Oz Republican Quest alive in the period leading up to the second Oz republican referendum which, UNfortunately, may NOT be staged until 2025 at the earliest.
Thus, Dr Jones deservedly won the Award from a “timeliness” perspective.
‘THIS TIME’, by the way, is enjoying something of a renaissance insofar as Consandine has, since 2018 indeed, already distributed 46 copies of Jones’s signed copies of the book with – in the immediate near-future – the prospect of distributing at least another 20 copies!
Record of the Proceedings of
the 35th Annual Republican Convention
scheduled for Scottsdale, N.E. Tasmania, 7260
on Saturday, 27th May, 2023
Topic 1: The three (3) Referenda being put to The Oz People by the Albo-led Labor Gummint in the remaining period of their First Term &/OR in their Second Term…
(a) The Voice to the Federal Parliament;
(b) Recognition of Local Government [the 3rd Tier] in an amended Federal Constitution – bearing in mind that this proposal has been defeated already twice before;
(c) The Second Republican Referendum
Apropos Topic #1 (a)…That The RPA remains purely neutral apropos the YES & NO cases; The RPA neither plumps for the former nor in any way, shape or form does it advocate a negative vote regarding the latter; That The RPA Membership broadly exercises a conscience voteT; That The RPA, cognisant of there appearing to be NO Plan ‘B’ to cater for an UNsuccessful YES vote, is of the considered view, that the Albo-led Labor Gummint needs to prepare for the ‘Way Ahead’ in the light of a necessity to work more coherently in the implementation of a fresh ‘Bridging the Gap’ policy. Of course, the implementation of any or all interim arrangements for putting the succeesful YES case practicably into operation may suffice as a theoretical Plan ‘B’. *If space permits in the balance of this newsletter then the National Voice to Federal Parliament issue shall be further broached.
Apropos Topic #1 (b)…The RPA holds fast to its long-held view that the country is OVER-governed and that at some stage there should be a major Inquiry into the overall Australian Governmental system…therefore, it remains steadfast that there should be NO third Commonwealth referendum to recognise Local Government in the Federal Constitution;
Apropos Topic #1 (c)…The RPA remains 100% in favour of an Australian Republic notwithstanding its Presidium model – for a 3-person Presidency – remains its Direct Election preference.
Topic #2: The Nuclear Issue…has the time come for The RPA to make a more serious and therefore considered policy apropos the appropriate energy mix for Australia? It was noted that small, modular nuclear reactors were now in full production per the Hitachi and Westinghouse corporations! The appropriate resolution was that since nuclear energy forms part ‘n’ parcel of The RPA’s energy mix, already, that the status quo prevails.
Topic #3: There be Established named the Republican Heritage Fund to ensure future funding for The RPA grassroots Oz Republican Champions.
Topic #4: (well in advance of time) Dual Nomination of new ARM Chairman, Craig (‘Fozzy’) Foster and his even newer female Co-Chair, Nova Peris, as RPA Joint Oz Republicans of the Year 2025 whilst The Party honours Geoffrey Dutton as RPA Republican of the Year, in Memoriam, for Year 2024.
Topic #5: That King Charles be written to and formally asked to convince his State representatives i.e. the Governors of Western Australia & Queensland to change their existing Monarch’s Birthday Annual Holiday to that of June in lieu of as heretofore and thus – and very belatedly – chime in and share the holiday in legion with the other 4 States and 2 Territories.
Topic #6: That Life Membership to be awarded to Jean Lin + Colin Stephens who have earnt their gongs and Joyce Phillips who has been a long time Supporter cum Customer and Member of The Party but who is now in her dotage.
Topic #7: Regarding the idea of Reviving the Campaign for a Tasmanian State Republic – YES or NO? A pronouncedly big and decisive ‘NO’ as interest in Tassie for this Cause has patently diminished , over time.
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