May 1

Harness Asia, counter geologic events, become proudly independent – claim republican politicians

Why should we become a politicians’ republic?  The republicans' purpose has never been to improve the governance of this country. 

The purpose of the first major Republican movement in the 19th century was to create a white Republic along the lines of the American Confederacy of the South African Boer republics. 

The purpose of the second movement, from 1920 until about the time that Senator Rhiannon stopped editing a Soviet funded newspaper, was to turn Australia into a Soviet or Peoples' Republic along Russian and East European lines.

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The purpose of the Republican movement which led to debate through to the referendum was simple. It was to get rid of our oldest institution, the Australian Crown and through parallel organisations, to shred the Australian Flag.

…finding some reason – any reason – for ditching our constitution and flag…

Knowing this purpose would hardly wash with the Australian people, that it was abysmally inadequate to persuade the people to change the constitution, the Republican movement had to develop reasons to justify such a major move.

They initially said it was inevitable, but people said all what's the hurry then?  They said we needed full independence, but we pointed out that we were as independent as Canada, a major NATO, NAFTA  and G8 power.

Then came the most bizarre justifications.  Sir David Smith catalogued the embarrassing statements of a succession of very prominent republican celebrities who claimed it would reduce unemployment, end the recession, liberate artists, improve trade and so on. 

I added a few more in the Cane Toad Republic. These included the claim that removing the Australian Crown would increase immigration.  Also that the then Irish born editor of the Sydney Morning Herald to become an Australian – he had made it a condition of his deigning to accept Australian our citizenship. Wasn't that gracious of him? 

Other reasons – often from retired diplomats – was that it would stop alleged confusion in the governments of  Argentina and France and of the then Indonesian dictator as he was about to invade East Timor. He asked why Gough Whitlam just didn't arrest Sir John Kerr. 
 
We were waiting for republicans to say their republic  would cure the common cold and arthritis.

…harness the rise of Asia by changing our constitution…

Well, we're seeing it again. In their submission to the Asian century White Paper federal politicians Andrew Leigh MP and Senator Lisa Singh actually say that by becoming a (politicians’) republic Australia can “harness” – yes harness – the rise of Asia. Harness in the figurative sense means "utilise for motive power" as in “harnessing the power of a waterfall”.

So a republic will allow us to use Asia. That should please our neighbours. We're changing our constitution and our flag so we can use you, the people of Asia. Can you imagine the excitement in Singapore, Delhi  and Beijing? The headlines?

( By the way, you can watch the Senator swearing or rather affirming her allegiance  and an extract from her maiden speech below.)


The politicians  say some vague politicians' republic  will make us "proudly independent” of Britain, a statement which indicates that these two members of Parliament should take courses in history and civics education.

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They also take a course in geography.  Australia is not part of Asia and never will be part of Asia unless there's some major tectonic shift.

Perhaps their authority is Paul Keating. Speaking at the Sydney Writers Festival on 30 October 2011, the former prime minister declared that Australia must become the republic we would now be had he not lost the 1996 election because of major "geologic" events in Asia.

Harnessing the rise of Asia by becoming a republic? Proudly independent of Britain?  Major geologic events in Asia requiring us to change our constitution?

All of this recalls the silly suggestion that by becoming a Republic we would improve trade.  Anyone who has the slightest understanding of trade knows that goods are purchased for two reasons – price and quality.

…their words…


There were words our politicians used:

“ We should revitalise the push for a republic. As the only Anglo-Celtic country in the Asian region, we have an extraordinary opportunity to harness the rise of Asia. Yet there is a mentality that when we punch out at the end of our time working in or visiting China, we come safely home to the Anglosphere. For example, only 20 per cent of Australians currently working in China can speak Mandarin. Our political and cultural institutions reflect an attitude in which Australia is a dependant of the British Crown."

"Despite the world's economic centre of gravity shifting towards the Asian-Pacific, the notion still persists that Australia is located far away from where the important decisions are made. We can no longer afford to think of ourselves as simply visitors to this region, when it is from this region that the future will be shaped. By becoming a republic, we would be able to stand proudly independent of Britain, and announce to our neighbours our readiness to be involved in our region.”

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