January 26

A day to be proud and a day to be united

On Australia Day, ACM National Convenor Professor David Flint will address the Order of Australia Association at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney. The subject of his address is one intended to unite all Australians: “We Have Reason To Be Proud.”

His theme is that the achievements of this country have far outweighed our failings and that the foundations for this were laid by Captain Arthur Phillip on 26 January 1788, and then developed  through Federation down to the 21st century.

Professor Flint regretted that some politicians are trying to divide politicians on the very day when Australians would wish to be united, Australia Day.

Senator Bob Brown has actually called on Kevin Rudd to use, or rather, to misuse our national day to announce a vote next year on some sort of republic, says Greens leader Senator Bob Brown.

According to a report by Danielle Cronin in the Canberra Times of 24 January, he said the Australia Day long weekend is “the perfect opportunity for the Prime Minister to commit to building cross-party support for a vote on a plebiscite.'' 

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy executive director Thomas Flynn rejected the suggestion, saying a republic referendum would be a colossal waste of time and money.

''I would expect with inflation and all that, any future referendum [would cost] about $100 million,'' Mr Flynn said. ''Do we want to spend $100 million on a vote when it's highly unlikely to get a yes vote? I think it's a total waste of everybody's time.''

Senator Brown has already introduced a Bill proposing a republic plebiscite be held at the 2010 federal election. The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee has launched an inquiry into the Bill. The committee will accept submissions until February 6 and is due to table its report on June 15.

Neither Senator Bob Brown nor the republican movement would say what sort of republic they want, and why the constitutionally prescribed method for constitutional change, a referendum, is not being discussed.

The reason is clear. The Founding Fathers chose the referendum because it requires any proposal for change to be on the table before the people vote, and not after. 

Senator Brown and the republicans refuse to accept the people's decision in 1999, but is clearly afraid they will again say no in any referendum.


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