August 29

History of ACM


Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM) was launched in June 1992 to preserve protect and defend  the Australian Constitution, the role of the Crown in it, and our National Flag

The original Foundation Council included Charter signatories of eminent Australians from across the nation. Our founders included Michael Kirby (subsequently  a Justice of the High Court), the Rt Hon Sir Harry Gibbs, Justice Lloyd Waddy, Neville Bonner AO, Dame Leonie Kramer, The Hon Barry O’Keefe, Alderman Doug Sutherland AM, Lord Mayor of Sydney,  Sir John Atwill, Dr Margaret Olley, The Hon Helen Sham-Ho MLC and others.  ACM is fast becoming the largest grassroots community organization in Australia. It was ACM which organized the highly successful ‘No Republic – ACM’ campaign for delegates to attend the Constitutional Convention.

Since 1992, without government assistance, ACM has been in the forefront in defending our constitutional system. The following is a summary of our history:

  • 1992: Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM), is launched at a public meeting on 4 June 1992. Justice Michael Kirby drafts the ACM Charter, and Justice LLoyd Waddy QC becomes the first National Convenor.
  • 1992: In a major submission to the official Keating government Republican Advisory Committee chaired by Malcolm Turnbull and consisting only of republicans, ACM advances the principal arguments against a republic.
  • 1993: The Hon. Tony Abbott becomes first Executive Secretary. Divisional Councils and branches established across Australia. 
  • 1993:A standing room only rally in Sydney Town Hall on 26 November 1993 is addressed by the Hon John Howard MP (now Prime Minister of Australia).
  • 1993: The late Father Jeremy Flynn endows a trust fund to undertake constitutional education in Australia. A significant publications programme is undertaken.
  • 1993: The ACM Memorandum and Articles of Association (the Constitution) and Charter were signed on 18 March 1993. Two of the seven subscribers were Aboriginal Australians − former Senator Neville Bonner AO and Margaret Valadian AO CBE . One had been a politician, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Doug Sutherland. He was to head the ACM NSW ticket for the Constitutional Convention. There was a former Chief Justice, Sir Harry Gibbs, the then President of the NSW Court of Appeal, Michael Kirby, ( soon to go to the High Court) an eminent QC and later judge, LLoyd Waddy ( our first National Convenor) and a celebrated authority on Australian literature and former ABC Chairman, Dame Leonie Kramer.
  • 1993: Former PM Bob Hawke says the “monarchists are winning the intellectual argument”.
  • 1994: ACM’s education policy formalised through the creation of the Constitutional Education Fund- Australia.
  • 1994 Tony Abbott is elected to federal Parliament and Kerry Jones is appointed Executive Director.
  • 1996: ACM organises a march from the gates of Government House to the front of Parliament House in Sydney to protest against the New South Wales Premier Bob Carr’s unpopular attempt to downgrade the Office of Governor and expel future governors from their purpose built home, Government House. With over 20,000 participating, it is among the largest peaceful non- political non- union demonstrations the city has ever seen. 
  • 1997: Voluntary postal election for Constitutional Convention. ACM is the second largest group after the Australian Republican Movement.In all there were six monarchist groups.With their shares of the formal national first preference constitutional monarchist vote, they were:
    • No Republic  ACM, 72.39 %
    • Bruce Ruxton’s Safeguard The People, 8.69%;
    • Australian Monarchist League, 6.05%;
    • Queenslanders for Constitutional Monarchy, 5.95%;
    • Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats, 4.81% and
    • Monarchist League of Australia (Victorian Chapter), 2.02%.
  • 1998: The convention meets in February 1998 with 76 elected 40 ex officio and 36 nominated delegates.  Of the 36 delegates nominated by the Howard government, only 10 are constitutional monarchist.  John Howard did not rig the Convention.
  • 1998: To the surprise of the ARM, all monarchist delegates refuse to vote for any model, including the “least worst” McGarvie model judged to be the easiest to defeat in a referendum. His Eminence Cardinal Pell compliments them for their adherence to principle. Although it fails to win an absolute majority, the model preferred by the greater number of republican delegates is approved as the referendum model. John Howard is widely praised when he decides that it would be sensible to put this to the people.  
  • 1998 Made a judge, Lloyd Waddy stands down and is succeeded by Emeritus Professor David Flint AM.
  • 1999: “The main monarchist organisation is ACM….By 1999 ACM, like its opposite number ARM in the case of republicans, appears to have become the spokesperson for monarchists.” ( Parliamentary Library Research Paper 25 1998-1999)
  • 1999: ACM opens offices and appoints directors in every state capital as well as a national campaign director, David Elliott, and undertakes some media advertising. Coordinators are appointed in every electorate and over 55,000 supporters across the Commonwealth work for a no case victory.
  • 11999:  Two books, The Cane Toad Republic and the No Case Papers launched.
  • 1999: ACM develops slogans, not as just clever advertising, but as well-worded distillations of our fundamental beliefs and principles.  Some of the following in the ACM Library of Slogans, were very effective in the referendum and will be again. All come from ACM except the one from Alan Jones:
















  • 1999:  The government appoints Yes and No case committees made up of Convention delegates on the basis of votes cast in the election.  The No Case consists of 2 independent republicans and 8 monarchists, all ACM delegates to the Convention. Kerry Jones chairs the committee.
  • 1999: ACM plays a major role in the drafting of the AEC No case. The Yes case uses the argument that only a republic can provide a Australian Head of State nine times.
  • 1999: Republican leader Malcolm Turnbull proposes that two words be removed from the long title of the referendum bill, which will become the referendum question.  These are “president” and “republic”.  He is ridiculed in the republican media.  ACM proposes that long title include a reference to the method of dismissal of the president which ACM says his unique.  They say it will be easier for the Prime Minister to set the president then his cook.  Cabinet decides to retain the original question which is supported by large republican majorities in both houses.
  • 1999:The No case wins the national vote, all states and in 72% of electorates. 
  • 2000: ACM holds the first of its annual National Conferences since the referendum.  (With the National Conference in October 2010, there will have been eleven since the referendum)
  • 2000: ACM argues that a “blank cheque” plebiscite on “a” republic is grossly irresponsible and would invite a vote of no confidence in one of the world’s most successful constitutions. If carried it would be followed by years of constitutional instabilty.
  • 2000: Quadrant publishes the results of ACM research:” The Head of State Debate resolved.”
  • 2001: On the personal invitation of the former Victorian Governor, the Hon. Richard McGarvie, ACM sends a large delegation to the Corowa Conference to defend the Australian Crown.
  • 2004: ACM presents major submission to a Senate Inquiry, and campaigns against its report.
  • 2006: ACM launches its second journal, The Australian Constitutional Defender.
  • 2006: ACM campaigns to opposes a republican plan, curiously supported by the Chairman of the Monarchist League in a letter to The Australian,  to suppress the singing of the Royal Anthem ”God Save The Queen” at the opening of the Commonwealth Games on 16 March 2006. ACM supporters distribute texts of this and the National Anthem. 80,000 people in the stadium stand to sing God Save The Queen contrary to the organisers’ wishes. 
  • 2007:  Kerry Jones stands down as Executive Director and is succeeded by Thomas Flynn.
  • 2009: ACM mounts media campaigns against the gerrymandered 2020 Summit, and exposes the errors in its final resolutions which when taken up by the media are then surreptitiously changed.
  • 2009: ACM makes the most comprehensive submission to Senate Inquiry into Senator Bob Brown’s Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill
  • 2009: Government survey released finding that in a simple multi choice test  only 1 in 3 of Year 10 students  chose the correct definition of the constitution.
  • 2009  ACM  launches the latest version of a new major educational project, The Crowned Republic, with a new website and an ambitious outreach programme into the schools.
  • 2009: Australia’s 26th Prime Minister John Howard AC delivers the Neville Bonner Oration on the 10th anniversary of the 1999 referendum. Australia’s leading broadcaster, Mr. Alan Jones AO, moves the vote of thanks. A DVD is produced 
  • 2010: ACM’s principal site is now attracting a record number of hits, more than twice as many as in 2008 and four times than in 2007. The projected annual for 2010 rate is over 8 million hits and over 3 million page views. Interest in what we are doing is not restricted to Australia; over 25% of visitors are from overseas. In any major campaign, this site will become a significant source of information.
  • 2011: Just before a state election in New South Wales, an undertaking is given by the Hon Marie Ficcara at an ACM rally addressed by the eminent broadcaster Alan Jones AO, the Reverend Fred Nile, the Hon. David Clarke, David Elliott MP,  Jai Martinkovits and Professor David Flint AM . The undertaking is that if the Coalition is returned in the coming election, Government House will once again be the home of the Governor. After the election, the Premier, the Hon. Barry O’ Farrell announces that the Governor has agreed to return to live in Government House.
  • 2011: Thomas Flynn stands down as executive Director and is succeeded by Jai Martinkovits. Thomas flynn continues as editor of Australia’s oldest monarchist journal, Monarchy Australia
  • 2011: As the visit of The Queen approaches, Australia’s oldest and respected polling organisation, Roy Morgan Research, presents a paper on opinion polling from 1953. Presented at the 12th ACM National Conference in Melbourne, this confirms  two matters identified by ACM. The first irelates to the trend  which is that support for a politicians’ republic has been falling to levels well below that at the time of the 1999 referendum. Expressed as a percentage, this is now in the low thirties. The second is that support among the young  has been consistently lower than in the general population. In addition, support among new immigrants is even lower.  The overall result  was reported widely at home and overseas and set much of the media context for the Royal Visit.
  • 2011: The Royal Visit attracts crowds similar to those of the 1954 Royal Visit, with over 120,000 at the last event on the banks of the Swan River in Perth.
  • 2011: The ABC says the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton attracted a TV audience larger than the opening and closing of the Sydney Olympics, the previous largest TV audiences. The Queen’s Christmas message is the most-watched free to air TV program on December 25, totalling 759,000 capital city viewers on Nine and ABC1
  • 2011: The ABC says the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton attracted a TV audience larger than the opening and closing of the Sydney Olympics, the previous largest TV audiences. The Queen’s Christmas message is the most-watched free to air TV program on December 25, totalling 759,000 capital city viewers on Nine and ABC1.
  • 2011: The ABC says the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton attracted a TV audience larger than the opening and closing of the Sydney Olympics, the previous largest TV audiences. The Queen’s Christmas message is the most-watched free to air TV program on December 25, totalling 759,000 capital city viewers on Nine and ABC1.
  • 2011: The ABC says the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton attracted a TV audience larger than the opening and closing of the Sydney Olympics, the previous largest TV audiences.
  • 2011: The Queen’s Christmas message is the most-watched free to air TV program on 25 December, totalling 759,000 capital city viewers on Nine and ABC1.
  • 2011:To date, there have been 12 major votes and inquiries into how to turn Australia into a politicians’ republic. All have been paid for by the taxpayer, 11 wholly so:
  • Republic Advisory Committee, 1993
  • Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill, 1997
  • Convention Election, 1997
  • Constitutional Convention, 1998.
  • Referendum, 1999
  • Corowa Conference, 2001
  • Republic (Consultation of the People) Bill, 2001
  • Senate Inquiry: Road to a Republic Report 2004
  • Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill, 2008
  • 2020 Summit, 2009
  • Senate Finance and Public Administration Report, 2009
  • Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill, 2010

Republicans believe Australians have to keep on voting until they get it right. In the meantime, they are determined to spend vast and never ending amounts of the taxpayers hard earned funds.

  • 2011: At a rally called by ACM in March, a promise is made on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition to restore Government House as the Governors’ residence. An announcement is made late in 2011 that the Governor Professor Bashir will return to Government House.
  • 2012: In May 2012,  ACM HQ discovers to its surprise that the national broadcaster, the  Australian Broadcasting Corporation, had decided not to broadcast from London any of the central events concerning the Diamond Jubilee. At the very time  the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant was to be  broadcast, the ABC had programmed on its most accessible channel, ABC1, a 1975 American comedy, “Shampoo”.  ACM points out that in two independent merit reviews concerning a tender process, the ABC had lost its role as international broadcaster to SKY TV, a decision reversed by government. Now the ABC was vacating its role again to SKY and its APAC channel. While the latter was internet accessible and the former accessible only by subscription, millions would still be denied access by the national broadcaster. ACM organises an online petition which attracts widespread support, as well as a national  media campaign to persuade the ABC to change its mind and to do its duty as the national broadcaster.  Within a few days the ABC concedes and agrees to broadcast most of the central events. They rate very well. 
  • 2014: While delivering the Neville Bonner Oration at the 15th. Annual National Conference of ACM, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, calls on ACM to support the movement for the recognition of the indigenous people in the Constitution. In moving the vote of thanks National Convenor Professor David Flint proposes the people be brought into the issue from the beginning through the calling of an elected constitutional convention to discuss and recommend referendums  on this and other significant issues, but not of course change to a politicians” republic which was well and truly examined over a decade and overwhelmingly rejected by the people

Today, ACM remains a grass roots organisation. We  continue to advocate the retention of constitutional monarchy as the preferred model of governance for our Commonwealth. Our activities are wide and diverse. They include disseminating information, managing a major educational project, producing educational materials, providing speakers for public forums, and organising gatherings so  fellow Australians can have an opportunity to learn more about the unique system of government that has helped to safeguard our cherished democratic traditions and freedom.

ACM depends on volunteers and on the generosity of its supporters. ACM financial records have always been audited, and ACM files income tax and GTS returns. All funding is spent carefully and effectively.

We are always ready to welcome those of you who support our system of governance into the ACM family. If you would like more information about how to do so, please write, send us an email or call us toll free on 1800 622 229 during business hours.


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