In a piece on Malcolm Turnbull, "Turnbull lives on", in Spectator Australia on 7 June 2014 Mungo MacCallum claims PM John Howard carefully selected the delegates to the 1998 Constitutional Convention.
This was he claims to ensure the Republican movement was bitterly divided between those who wanted direct and indirect election of the president.
This is completely untrue, as a perusal of the voting records of the Convention in Hansard will demonstrate.
The leading proponents of direct election were all elected by the people, demonstrating that this division existed before the convention elections. Howard had 36 delegates in his gift. He exercise this mainly to provide for the presence at the convention of representatives of the indigenous people and from youth. He also pointed eminent Australians, particularly women.
Although republicans frequently claim Howard rigged the Convention by appointing monarchists, his appointments were overwhelmingly republican, 26:10.
Only one of the 26 was strongly in favour of direct election. So much for Howard rigging the convention to divide the republicans.
Most of those strongly in favour of direct election saw the Turnbull Keating republic as no more than a device to concentrate even more power in the hands of the politicians.
Mr. MacCallum apart, the republican strategy is threefold.
The first is their only serious argument. A politicians republic is the only way we can have an Australian head of state. ( ACM says on top legal advice we've already got one.)
The second is not to mention the flag until they've got their republic. Then they'll ditch the flag.
The third is to invent any myth to advance their case. ( We do not say Mr. MacCallum invented this particular myth. It is just that he did not check the facts.)