The indignation of a leading ARM office bearer over my reference to Paul Keating's proposal to rename our country has been most effectively answered by Dave Horkan on the Crikey website on 12 March 2004. He wrote: “If Mike O'Shaughnessy (Yoursay, March 9) really does not know the status held by the Governor-general whilst in London, or who fills the role in his absence, he is hardly competent to even comment on Constitutional matters, let alone hold office in the Australian Republican Movement.”
His denial of the fact that Paul Keating suggested that a very hypothetical Australian republic could be called 'The Federal Republic of Australia' is wrong. I refer him to an article entitled 'A Name Change?' by Richard Macey published in the Sydney Morning Herald of 27th February 1993. Instead of branding David Flint a liar Mr O'Shaughnessy would do better. to explain why the ARM continue to claim that the Queen 's website states that she is the Head of State of Australia. It doesn't. I wondered if the ARM might become a little more professional after dumping Greg Barns, but the answer is obvious. Constitutional Monarchists can sleep
easily for as long as the ARM use people of the calibre of Mr. O'Shaughnessy to represent them. In the meantime Mr. O'Shaughnessy wrote to Crikey conceding now that Paul Keating did use the words, but hiding behind Mr. Keating's minders who claimed that he had only used the words as a descriptive term. That is not what Don Watson says, and as his speechwriter, he was there.
Obviously, the minders realized that changing the name would make it more difficult to get a republic -so they tried to put the right spin on it. And why would he use the words, Federal Republic of Australia-with capitals? Paul Keating made some extraordinary statements, for example, that the constitution was drafted in and imposed by the Foreign Office, that the British abandoned us in the Second World War and later, that our Flag gets up his nose. He obviously did not think much of the name of our country, either. The evidence surely shows he toyed with the idea of changing it, and conveyed that idea to his horrified advisors, and to the public.