December 24

Bruce Ruxton AM OBE 1926-2011

Bruce Ruxton, who died on 23 December 2011 aged 85, is best known as an advocate for returned soldiers, and a committed constitutional monarchist.  ACM was delighted by his agreement to be our patron.

Always a most generous man, he was courageous and outspoken in his defence of the traditions and values of the Australian nation.

He completed his education at Melbourne High School with the benefit of a scholarship and joined the Australian Imperial Force immediately after his 18th birthday. 

He saw active service with the2/ 25th Battalion, 25th Brigade in the Army's Seventh Division in Borneo and Japan.  He participated in the 1945 Allied landing at Balikpapan, fighting the Japanese to Samarinda Road, during which the battalion suffered heavy losses.  He then served for three years in the occupation of Japan with the 65th Battalion.

…soldier returns to Australia…

After his return he became heavily involved in his spare time in looking after the interests of those who had served in the armed forces.  According to his biographer Anne Blair, he spent much of his time assisting members of the Queensland-based 2/ 25th Battalion in which he had served with several aborigines.

He was elected State RSL president in Victoria and became well-known across the country not only for his service to the RSL, but for his intervention in public debates whenever he saw the traditions of the country being undermined or challenged.

When elections were announced for the 1998 Constitutional Convention, after discussions with Lloyd Waddy, then National Convener  of Australians Constitutional Monarchy, he decided to set up a Victorian group, Safeguard the People, which won two seats.

 The group immediately entered into an alliance with the other constitutional monarchist groups at the convention led by Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy.

 His interventions at the Convention are the stuff of legend.

Much to their amusement, he would refer to the two independent  republicans Moira Rayner and New South Wales magistrate Pat O’ Shane , as “the sibilant sisters”.  

He would ostentatiously blow kisses towards the Democrat Senator Natasha Stott- Despoja, much to her amusement.



The republican leaders, Liberal Attorney General Daryl Williams QC would sit on the ministerial benches  with the Labour politician, Gareth Evans who to many observers appeared to be leading the official case for change.  After one assertion had been made by them about the virtue of the "Keating Turnbull" republican model, Bruce Ruxton stood up, pointed at the two and interjected :

"Mr. Chairman, snake oil merchants, that's what they are, snake oil merchants!”

The Chamber was in uproar.

The author Thomas  Keneally, a former chairman of the republican movement, was once allowed to address the Convention as an alternate.  It was approaching lunchtime, and the public and press galleries were not particularly full.

 Bruce stood up and ostentatiously walked  towards the Speaker's chair, bowed, turned right and slowly walked up the stairs and as he was pushing open the swing doors, turned and interjected in a loud voice,

"Mr Chairman," he shouted, pointing towards the galleries ,” Mr Chairman, he's even emptied the galleries.” The chamber again broke up in uproar and Thomas Keneally  was left open mouthed for what seemed like minutes.

…energetic, courageous and generous….

Bruce Ruxton, who died on 23 December 2011 aged 85, is best known as an advocate for returned soldiers, and a committed constitutional

Bruce Ruxton was energetic, courageous and extraordinarily generous.  He was an outspoken and controversial advocate and seemed to embody the RSL.  He was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1975 receiving the Order of the British Empire (OBE)in 1981. He was awarded an AM in the Order of Australia in 1997. 

He was knighted twice by France as a  Chevalier of the Order of Merit and a Chevalier of the Order of the Legion of Honour  

He was a great and loyal son of Australia. May he rest in peace.


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