Australian republicans used to campaign openly for a flag change. Except for The Age, they now pretend a flag change will not necessarily follow a republic, or even that they now love the Australian flag.
This is thanks to those who fought so hard to keep the flag especially in the Australian National Flag Association.
Thanks too, to Prime Minister John Howard, who entrenched the requirement for a plebiscite before the flag can be changed, as well as Minister Brendan Nelson who sent out the ANFA information pack to all the schools, it is said, against bureaucratic advice.
Now the New Zealanders too have shown the flag changers the door.
The flag changers received nowhere near the number of signatures needed to trigger a plebiscite. They claimed to have 100,000 petitions against the minimum required, 270,000.
When their shareholders and their customers angrily flooded their offices with protests, NZ Post and NZ Telecom quickly withdrew their outrageous offer to boost the flag changing exerise.
Until the NZ public pulled them up, these companies were actually going to post the petitions free of charge to all households and to cover the cost of returning the signed petitions.
The flag changers lamented that their “biggest failing has been not motivating enough people to a level where they would help us collect signatures – in short, we have never developed a proper distribution/collection system simply because we have never marshalled the manpower”. The fully full story is available from Bay of Plenty Times.
Of course having such a force of volunteers means the rank and file are with you.
In 1999, with directors in all states and territories, and aco-ordinator in every electorate, ACM built up a force of over 50,000 to fight the referendum.
Thanks to them, the No vote was a landslide.
Until next time,