In his Second Reading Speech on the Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill, Senator Brown said “The question of whether Australia should be become a republic has been close to the hearts of many Australians since Federation.”
In ACM’s submission, we pointed out that Senator Brown was no doubt referring to a politicians’ republic. “It is curious then that no delegate at the Federation Constitutional Conventions proposed that Australia become such a republic.
"The republican historian, Dr Mark McKenna, says that ’…the truth was that it was only through devotion to monarch and empire that Federation was able to take place.’”
The coup de grâce ACM administered was to point out that it was not until the formation of the Communist Party of Australia in 1920, that any twentieth century political party called for an Australian (politicians’) republic, albeit a “workers and farmers republic” on the Soviet model.
Now no one suggests any link between today’s republicanism and the communist republicans who played an important role in this country for over half a century. It’s just that there is no tradition in Australia of republicanism which was not first racist and then communist.
So we are not going to sit back and have republicans pretend that there were generations of publicly spirited republicans chafing under our constitutional monarchy, our crowned republic.
…loyalty to Australia?…
Incidentally apart from taking over the most strategic unions through rigged polling and undermining the war effort during the Second World War, even after the USSR came in, what were the comrades doing?
For example, why did communist leaders so often go to Moscow for "medical treatment"? Weren't Australian hospitals good enough? They could just as easily change the party line, as they invariably did, just by listening to Radio Moscow. They did not need to go to Moscow for instructions on what line they should take.
We now know there was an extraordinarily close relationship between the American Communist Party and the KGB, according to Anne Applebaum writing in The New Republic, syndicated to The Weekend Australian (13-14/5). Is it not likely that there was a similar link with the flag bearer of an Australian People’s Republic, the Australian Communist Party?
Paul Monk ("Reds were really under the beds" The Australian 9/6) points out that for some reason KGB operations in Australia revealed in the Mitrokhin archive remain hidden from public view.
These were, as he says, voluminous KGB files were smuggled West in 1992 and published in two hefty volumes, totalling 1700 pages, by Allen Lane Penguin in 1999 and 2005.
They deal with KGB operations in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as those behind the Iron Curtain. He points out there is a notable omission in these books: material dealing with KGB operations in Australia. He says such material exists; it was sent by the British intelligence authorities to Canberra in September 1992 but has been suppressed.
“That should never have happened and should be remedied,” he says. “What reason can there be for suppressing the entire file on Australia when so much was published about the rest of the world? Were the materials on Australia so bland and uninformative that they were deemed of no interest and consigned to the wastepaper bin?
That would have been an absurd reason for suppressing them, but it plainly was not the case. Something quite substantial and unsettling is in the Australia file. That something must see the light of day.”
He says this is not just a matter of history. “Russian and Chinese espionage has been resurgent in Australia in recent years. ASIO set up a new counter-espionage and interference division a few years ago to deal with it.
But how can we have confidence in such a division as long as the truth about what happened in the Cold War remains suppressed? And the Mitrokhin archive itself only deals with KGB operations. Those of the GRU (Soviet military intelligence) remain a disturbingly closed book. Yet we know the GRU was active in Australia and have reason to believe it successfully recruited agents here.”
And in the 1999 referendum some republicans had the hide directly or by implication to accuse monarchists of disloyalty.
The media did it by implication. In columns and other ways, some in print and television tried to suggest the choice was between Queen and country.
The disloyalty was elsewhere. It was among those committed to turn Australia into a dark, evil and sinister republic.