One of the consequences of defending our Constitution and our Flag is that some-I stress some of our opponents decide that a personal attack will advance their cause. I have, for example, been accused on several occasions of lying, merely for pointing out the facts. Bob Hawke so accused me on the John Laws programme in 1999, and Malcolm Turnbull does so in his referendum diary, Fighting For the Republic. The latest is by Mike O'Shaughnessy, who is the ARM Canberra web editor and a member of their Council, which is chaired by Professor Warhurst. You probably know Mr O'Shaughnessy-his letters frequently appear in the press. He appears to be irritated by my reference to Paul Keating's determination not only to turn us into a republic and to change our flag, but also, at least for a time , to change the name of our Commonwealth into the Federal Republic of Australia. Mr O'Shaughnessy's latest letter appeared on the website www. crikey.com on 9 March 2004.The relevant part reads: `Another point you might like to look into.., the 'Australians For Constitutional Monarchy' website – www.norepublic.com.au – has two items in its 'Hot News' section which state that Paul Keating would have titled an Australian republic the "Federal Republic of Australia". This is simply untrue. Paul Keating said in his speech to the House of Representatives on 7 June 1995, "'Commonwealth ' is a word of ancient lineage which reflects both our popular tradition and our Federal system, and we propose that the Australian republic retain the name 'Commonwealth of Australia'. The author of the two items is the National Convenor of the ACM, Prof David Flint. Since he's also Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, should not Prof. Flint ensure that his words published on the medium of the Internet reflect the truth? Mike O'Shaughnessy' Canberra I replied to the Editor:
Having been accused wrongly by both Bob Hawke and Malcolm Turnbull of lying when I have merely pointed out the facts concerning attempts to change, fundamentally, our Constitution, I should not have been surprised by Mr M. O'Shaughnessy's attack on me on your site on 9 March 2004. Mr O'Shaughnessy, an office bearer in the ARM, was upset because I had referred to Paul Keating's proposal in 1993 that the name of our Commonwealth be changed to the Federal Republic of Australia.
This caused some mirth at the time, because many of his listeners thought he had said the Feral Republic of Australia. I would have thought that such a frequent letter writer and passionate republican, as Mr O'Shaughnessy would have remembered this. But no, he says I lied and should be taken to task for this. I had no doubt whatsoever that Paul Keating had in fact proposed this. So I checked this in Don Watson's book, reflections of a Bleeding Heart. The index didn't help, but I soon tracked down Paul Keating's own choice of a heading for a speech in the 1993 election. The heading? You guessed it.' The Federal Republic of Australia! As he said as he wrote it with his Mount Blanc " If we're going to do it, let's call it by its right f****** name.
Then I searched the Fairfax archive. Eventually I found a reference-at a cost of $1.65. The piece is headed: A Name Change? Its by Richard Macey and it appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 February, 1993. It confirms, completely, my recollection. Mr O'Shaughnessy should apologise and be more careful in the future. Otherwise I may ask Malcolm Turnbull for the name of the lawyer who acted for him against Mark Latham, and whose process server lay in wait so often and so long, without success, at the Canberra bar and restaurant, The Holy Grail Eventually, Mr Latham did apologise and pay Mr Turnbull's costs, but this had probably more to do with the gravitas appropriate to becoming Her Majesty's Leader of The Opposition than for anyregret for what he had so cruelly alleged about Malcolm Tunbull.