I asked in our last column why New South Wales Premier doesn’t order that the Australian flag fly over the site of the first Government House, now the Museum of Sydney.

Perhaps I should not have asked.

After his great successes in transport, law and order, education and the hospitals, Mr Iemma has spoken about that topic which politicians in big trouble latch onto…yes, the republic.

Just as 88.8% of a larger than usual Daily Telegraph poll says Mr Iemma does not deserve re-election, According to a report which seems to be only in its print version, Tony Stephens the Sydney Morning Herald, 21-22 January, 2006 writes that Mr Iemma, put the republic back on the national agenda.

He regretted Australia had entered the twenty first century without becoming a republic.

‘The idea of a republic is not dead. But his time let’s grow with it, take the people along with us and accept it with good grace when the moment comes”

If Premier Iemma thinks the republic is not dead, columnist David Marr says the republican movement is “near comatose”. That was before the Bondi fiasco, when nobody – apart from the ARM organizers – turned up to the republican’s heavily promoted key campaign function.

The national director Allison Henry, agrees that the movement is in difficulties, admitting : "We’ve just done our best to stay alive."

David Marr, writing about the “mate” campaign in the Sydney Morning Herald of 21-22 January, 2006, (“A whiff of snags and a republic”) says money is tight and republicans are not known to be generous givers to the cause. Malcolm Turnbull was the great exception.

Greg Barns, the ARM’s campaign director for the referendum, who has declared Australia a “pigsty” says: "I had a budget of about $4 million, but Malcolm Turnbull contributed the lion’s share, well over $3 million. His commitment was, in a sense, unique."

The result was that the ARM alone could afford television advertising.

David Marr quotes me on the question of republicanism among politicians. In 1999 I estimated that at least two thirds of the sitting politicians were republican, which neither reflected the country or the membership and supporters of the Liberal Party or indeed the Labour Party. This only demonstrates to me how out of touch these republican politicians are. David Marr makes a very interesting point. Membership of the new parliamentary republican forum is , believe it or not secret.

The republican politicians are so lacking in courage they won’t show their colours!

This, according to Senator Stott Despoja is because the poor dears won’t feel “bound or pressured”

No wonder its called, in relation to the abuse of parliamentary privilege, as the “cowards’ castle” !

Until next time,

David Flint