Referring to the 10th anniversary of the referendum landslide on 6 November, The Australian says that “ the day after John Howard delivers a speech to a monarchist audience on ‘the crowned republic’, (for details click on the icon on the right) what's left of the Australian Republican Movement will try to drum up media attention.
This will be with a commemoration based on the theme, believe it or not, ‘10 years: time to mend the nation's broken heart’.
This is no more than a futile attempt to embarrass the Leader of the Opposition and one time republican leader Malcolm Turnbull into reviving their republican push. He won’t. He regrets the way he conceded defeat in 1999. He said then that if the Prime Minister John Howard was remembered for anything, it would be as the man who broke the heart of the nation.
I wrote at the time that looking across Bondi Beach on that Sunday, all I could see was a nation at play, happy in itself and comfortable in our Commonwealth. And the only tears shed the night before came from a handful of celebrities, and perhaps from Mr. Turnbull who was the principal benefactor of the republican movement.
Mr. Turnbull is realistic about a republic. Not in this reign, not until there is a consensus about the model among republicans, and not unless opposition is minimal. I have assured him on behalf of ACM that the opposition will be at least as big as in 1999.
The headline on the piece in The Australian by the committed republican Mike Stetekee says it all:” Ten years after the referendum, we are no closer to a republic.”
The reason we are not having a referendum is that the polling the politicians do constantly tells them not to go there. Even a spin doctored plebiscite is likely to go down. That’s why they are trying to change the referendum machinery – last Thursday I presented ACM’s objections to that to a House committee.
Nevertheless, the government knows the cause of a politicians’ republic remains hopeless. So the Attorney General gave The Australian this mind numbing piece of obfuscation: "The question of an Australian republic is one of some significance and the precise form of any proposal for change and the process by which it would proceed requires careful consideration. The Prime Minister has encouraged all Australians to express their views and engage in a national debate on this issue. It would not be appropriate at this stage to pre-empt this consideration by making a commitment on any particular proposal."
….another silver bullet…
Those republicans who think that the end of this reign will deliver a republic have merely substituted this as their latest silver bullet. The sad end of this reign will result in a reflection – and one far beyond the Commonwealth of Nations – on this extraordinary Elizabethan era. The American, French and German media at least will give a lead to the world.
This will be followed by growing interest and excitement about the Coronation – and, let us not forget, the new Prince of Wales and his family.
This will be the moment when the magic of our monarchy once again dominates, and Australians old and new will show themselves once more an essentially monarchical people.
To think that at this point the Australian people would put their constitution into the hands of a rump who cannot even specify what change they want.