I mentioned recently that since 1999, the principal activities of the republican movement have consisted of the launching of a series of media stunts and a continuous search for a silver bullet intended to deliver some sort of politician's republic into their laps.
This is to be done without any effort on their part, and certainly not by designing a republican model which is better than the existing Australian constitutional system.
Until recently the current silver bullet has been the end of the reign. But anyone with any sense would realise the end of the reign will involve a massive media retrospective on what will probably be known as the second Elizabethan period.
This will be followed by excitement about the Coronation, as well as the next Prince of Wales and by then one would expect, the children of the Prince of Wales.
ACM has never depended on the magic of monarchy to fight our constitutional case, but it is a factor which cannot be ignored.
…republic reduced to an overhaul..
Now another silver bullet is being placed on the agenda. In his piece on the 20th anniversary of the formation of the republican movement, " Few came – and fewer noticed”, Mark Day wrote in The Australian (30 July, 2011):
“The republican debate of the 90s was wrapped around issues of national identity as we approached the centenary of Federation. As we thought of the aims and aspirations of our founding fathers and considered the way in which they had resolved their differences and come together after a decade and a half of vigorous debate, we asked if our Federation needed an overhaul in its second century.”
Mark Day was a prominent campaigner for a republic in the pages of The Australian, but was forced off the republican movement executive when, some time after the referendum failure, he called for Malcolm Turnbull to stand down as leader.
.. .next silver bullet…
He then indicated what he proposes is the next silver bullet. This will be using the centenaries of the great battles of the First World War as a basis for changing our constitutional system. He says:
"From 2014 we enter another period of inevitable self-examination. The Anzac centenaries will begin on November 1, 2014, and continue through the great disasters of Gallipoli (2015), Fromelles and Pozieres (2016), Bullecourt and Passchendaele (2017) and on to the victories of Villers-Bretonneux, Le Hamel, Mont St Quentin and the armistice in November 2018. If Federation was all about the making of a nation, the Anzac period was all about its coming of age."
Some journalists believe themselves to be better military strategists and tacticians than those who hold this position. They do this with the benefit of hindsight.
The generals of the First World War are of course the subject of legitimate enquiry and criticism. But to believe that every battle should have been won is to say the least, unrealistic.
Even the greatest generals suffered defeats. And any supposed link between the terrible sacrifices of the First World War and handing over even more power to the political and media class is tenuous and will carry little weight with the Australian public.
I have a suggestion to our republican friends. Why not just go somewhere and quietly without any media fanfare, work out just what you wnat to do with the constitution, and what new flag you would like to propose.