June 11

Happy birthday Your Majesty and long may you reign

Invited to write in The Daily Telegraph, Executive Director Jai Martinkovits wrote:

THE celebration of the Queen's official birthday reminds us of our oldest institution, the Crown, which has been with us since settlement and evolving for much longer.

Yet republicans advocate dumping our tried, tested and proven crowned republic for some vague, undefined politicians' republic. On some occasions they also argue that we should be shredding our beautiful national flag.

Peter FitzSimons and Ray Martin did this just before Anzac Day in 2010.

Now, parading under the banner of "our identity", the Australian Republican Movement would have you believe that Australia faces some sort of identity crisis. To this end, they are running an expensive and glossy campaign.

You would have thought that anyone proposing change would at least say what sort of change they wanted. But no, the republicans want to foist this burden on to the Australian taxpayer. And burden it is.

The latest is Malcolm Turnbull's idea for some interactive internet plebiscite to work out what the republicans seem unable to do themselves.

To date, there have been 12 major votes and inquiries on the republic. All have been paid for by the taxpayer. Republicans seem to believe electors should keep on voting until they get it right – until we have more politicians occupying high positions, with some ghastly beach towel as our flag.

In the meantime, an unholy alliance has emerged between Turnbull and Wayne Swan.

Swan, flailing in his surplus troubles and Turnbull, perhaps wanting to show how he is different from his leader, are seeking to put the debate back on the public agenda.

Monarchists have good reason to be uneasy about Turnbull's attempt to reignite the republic debate. Apart from being a great communicator, Turnbull was, according to his campaign director Greg Barnes, the principal benefactor of the republican movement in the '90s.

Separately, it would seem that the Australian Republican Movement has been trying to hitch a ride on the movement to have indigenous Australians recognised in the constitution.

Recognise, the primary group campaigning for indigenous recognition, clearly does not want to be associated in any way with the republic movement. Its campaign director, Tim Gartrell, was quick to point out that Recognise is already receiving support from both sides of the republic debate, including strident monarchist Tony Abbott.

Indeed, Abbott has long demonstrated genuine concern about indigenous people. And republicans seem to have forgotten that some of the strongest supporters of the Crown have been indigenous. Neville Bonner, our first indigenous federal parliamentarian, was one of the founding fathers of the constitutional monarchy movement.

As Turnbull famously said in his published diary from the referendum campaign, "nobody is interested".

[Republished with full permission. Originally published in The Daily Telegraph on 11 June 2013. To see the layout of the print version of the newspaper, including the ARM's piece, click here to take out a special subscription to The Daily Telegraph.]


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