January 14

Noel Pearson calls for an affirmational republic; Neville Bonner would never have agreed

Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has spoken on his concept of an affirmational republic tied to reconciliation, a concept he first put to the former Prime Minister John Howard. This was revealed in Paul Kelly’s book March of Patriots, a revelation  the subject of a comment here, “Renounce the Crown: Pearson to Howard” 8 September,2009. Mr Pearson was addressing an audience at The Sydney Institute.  An extract of his speech on 13 January was published in The Australian as “Reconciliation must come with the Republic” (14/1)


He says Australia can have reconciliation without a republic, but we can’t have a republic without reconciliation. “Reconciliation is either a condition precedent, or a complement, to an Australian republic. An Australian republic not grounded in reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians would be both mean and meaningless.”

…condemns 1999 model….

He condemns the 1999 republican model as a repudiational republic, and says he was not dismayed it was defeated.  He says monarchists must face the reality that  the republican cause will regroup” until a narrow majority carries a referendum…. It is not a long-term solution that the monarchists narrowly defeat the republicans in referenda. And yet it appears that the monarchists have no strategy other than to repel the barbarians the next time they assault the citadel.”

Mr Pearson believes a republic is inevitable. By this he means a politicians‘ republic if we accept the argument made by the nation’s leading monarchists, John Howard, Michael Kirby, Justice Ken Handley and Tony Abbott, that we already are a crowned republic.  This proposition of inevitability is often put by all sorts of people. it is not persuasive – it is not long ago that people would often say socialism, even communism were inevitable.

It is not clear what an affirmational republic is. I suspect it is no more than the rejected 1999 Keating Turnbull model lavishly wrapped in patriotic and respectful spin. The voters would have seen through that.  The results of a referendum on this would probably be worse for the republican movement than in 1999.

…another Aboriginal leader's view…


There is among the Aboriginal people a strong attachment  to the Crown as demonstrated by the speech of the late Senator Neville Bonner to the Constitutional Convention in 1998. Senator Bonner was a delegate from Australians for Constitutional Monarchy; his address was the only one at the Convention which attracted a standing ovation.



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