The Australian Republican Movement’s quasi rebrand – starting a “new conversation” about our national identity – is a desperate attempt at keeping a dead issue alive.
They know, as the ultra-republican Senator Bob Brown knew (hence why in the negotiations to form the 2010 government he did not demand a referendum or plebiscite, despite having previously introduced bills into the parliament concerning exactly this), that Australians are just not interested.
The fact is, Australia is already a form of republic – a republic under The Crown, or a Crowned Republic. The only other sort of republic is some form of politicians’ republic.
In 1999, Australians made it overwhelmingly clear, in 100% of States and in 73% of Federal electorates, that they wished to retain our present constitutional arrangements. Since 1999, support for a republic has further collapsed – now in the low 30’s, and that’s for a vague form of politicians’ republic.
The history of Australian referenda shows that wherever a proposal has been rejected by the people – and where politicians have sought to “keep them voting until they get it right” – subsequent attempts at the same proposal have failed.
Instead of running tokenistic campaigns, based entirely on spin, republicans should recognise that it is their responsibility to go away and produce a model to put to the people.