…National Council meets…
This duly occurred on 11 December 2007, and was followed the next day by a separate meeting with the conveners of ACM’s various local branches. Given the time of the year both meetings were well attended.
The meetings were called to consider the fact that all governments throughout the Commonwealth are now formally committed to the achievement of some undefined Australian republic.
Various approaches to this were considered, and these will be discussed both at further meetings of the National Council and with the local branch conveners. We also expect lively discussions in the state and territorial divisions and in the local branches. A major focal point for these discussions will be at the Annual National Conference to be held in Fremantle on 19 and 20 September, 2007.
Apart from being our first National Conference to be held in the West, the political context will make it one of our most important in recent years.
…unanimous opposition to dishonest process…
Both the National Council and the branch meetings were unanimous on two points.
First, nothing had emerged to justify the expense and distraction of reopening the landslide decision by the people in 1999 in all states and nationally to reject the preferred model of the republican movement with a question settled by a mainly republican committee.
Secondly, there was a firm confirmation of ACM’s long standing policy in relation to the republican proposal for the use of plebiscites. While plebiscites may be acceptable ways to consult the people on policy issues, such as daylight saving, ACM rejects the use of the plebiscite to circumvent the constitutionally prescribed method of consultation through a referendum.
The intention of first plebiscite is to circumvent the requirement by the founders that any proposal for constitutional change be specific and not vague, and be on the table before the vote is taken. Perhaps the worst aspect of the first plebiscite is that it will be designed to obtain a vote of no confidence in one of the world’s most successful constitutions, without offering anything to put in its place.
The plan is then to remove our present constitution from any further discussion, debate, choice or vote in both a second plebiscite, and in the following referendum. The second plebiscite is to choose the preferred republican model, and in that process the republicans plan to deny the people the right to even express a preference for the existing constitution.
…devious plan to stop people voting to keep the constitution…
Contrast that with the flag. When Parliament decided belatedly to allow the people to vote on any change to the flag, the legislation specifically provided that the existing flag must be among the flags for which the people may vote. The people must be not be denied the right to vote to keep their own constitution.
The intention, openly conceded by the republicans, is to use the plebiscites to lock in the people’s votes in the subsequent referendum.
For all we know the first plebiscite may even be part of some plan to avoid a referendum, using the provisions of the Australia Act.
ACM has confirmed the view it adopted when this plan was first proposed. It regards the use of a plebiscite in such circumstances as a dishonest distraction, one against the spirit and possibly the letter of the constitution.
ACM will strongly resist and fight any plebiscite designed to circumvent our constitution.
…a view from the country…
David Byers, the ACM Country, New South Wales, Convenor posted this comment, under the title “The Republican Big Con” on that superb Canadian site, The Monarchist
“Since the defeat of the Republic Referendum in 1999, republicans in Australia have set themselves the task of circumventing the Australian Constitution and achieving their goal by underhanded means. Knowing that any future referendum stands no chance of being passed, they are pushing for non-binding plebiscites to achieve an in-principle support for a vague, undefined republic.
“The question they would probably ask, given that it is their mantra, would be “Do you want an Australian Head of State?” This is a real motherhood type question designed, no doubt, to make any support for the Crown seem un-Australian. They will not even offer any details of what they want in their new constitution, let alone draw attention to the fact that the phrase “Head of State” was never written in the Australian Constitution.
“If this plebiscite is successful it would, in effect, be a vote of no-confidence in our existing constitution, thus mortally wounding it. Then the politicians would set about writing a new constitution and putting it to a referendum. There would be no funding for the Constitutional Monarchist to put forward their arguments because, they would say,’ the people have already voted no to the old constitution.’
“This, then, is the Republican big con. I urge all loyal subjects in Her Majesty’s other Realms to be on guard for this type of deceitful republic pushing.