It is two or three years since Kerry last visited Newcastle and we realised how much has happened when Kerry addressed the Branch on 19 June. It appears that ACM is enjoying a resurgence as the number of supporters continues to grow, new branches open, and some of the branches that went into recession following the referendum are becoming active again. Kerry once again inspired the Branch to continue the hard work in our area and reported that a growing number of younger supporters are signing up, suggesting that republicanism is less ‘trendy’ than it once was.
This branch continues to be active. We meet monthly (with the exception of December) and over the last twelve months we have had the Hon. David Clarke MLC as our guest speaker at an afternoon tea, and enjoyed a visit from Professor David Flint at the AGM. Our usual pre-Christmas get-together was an informal affair, with drinks at the Gallipoli Legion Club followed by a meal at the Sydney Junction Hotel.
Our current activites include the placing of copies of Professor Flint’s excellent book ‘The Cane Toad Republic’ in municipal and school libraries. We have covered an area ranging from Cessnock to Forster/Tuncurry.
Our thanks go to the many people who are assisting by retaining their membership, attending meetings and events, donating financially, providing photo-copying services, donating raffle prizes and afternoon tea, putting books in libraries, recruiting new members and supporters, writing letters, letterboxing, and just talking to people about the benefits of the Constitution.
The visit of David Clarke was particularly interesting as it came a couple of weeks prior to the Federal election. We are proud of the fact that our branch meetings are attended by members of all three of the major political parties and some of the minor ones. One of the main points that David made was that one of the most effective ways in which we can safeguard our Constitution is to join the political party of our choice and play a role in the pre-selection of candidates.
Professor Flint was in particularly good form at the AGM. In fact he enjoyed himself so much that he went home on a train rather later than he had originally intended. Once again he proved himself to be as affable, approachable, and forthright as anybody could wish.
Those of us who receive the ACM Email releases and commentaries will be aware that the Professor is tireless in his efforts to keep us informed (and amused), despite his television appearances, thousands of miles of travelling every year for speaking engagements, and the production of the odd book or two.
The branch structure is the foundation of the organisation and we are pleased to have been able to maintain and increase our numbers pretty steadily in the Newcastle / Hunter and Great Lakes region.