The position of the National Party in the 1999 republican referendum was one of the reasons why he left to become an independent, Mr. Rob Oakeshott MP told The Sunday Telegraph (3/10):
The Nats were saying they were the party of ‘no’. I wasn’t a raving republican , but I just don’t like being told.
(The other reasons he offered were being “massively heavied” not to support the heroin injecting room at King’s Cross, and that his wife had once heard a senior national saying the Party was being taken over by “blacks and p***ters”. To overseas readers the latter is a pejorative term for homosexuals.)
Mr. Oakeshott's objection to the Party's position in the referendum is curious. The Party's position on the Constitution could not have been clearer.
Mr. Oakeshott began working for the Mark Vaile, then National Party MP for Lyne MP, as long ago as 1993.
He says that until then he had not been a National voter.
When Mark Vaile left for Canberra, Mr. Oakeshott stood as the National Party candidate for the state seat of Port Macquarie in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.
He even invited the leading broadcaster, Alan Jones, to launch his campaign. Mr. Jones agreed, believing he would be helping a new conservative voice.
Mr Oakeshott was duly elected in 1996. He remained in the party until 2002.
In 1997, he told the NSW Parliament:
I am a passionate member of the National Party.
(That should have warned the Nationals. "Passionate" is a favourite word among republicans, one rarely used by constitutional monarchists.)
…The National position…
It is common knowledge that the National Party is a staunch supporter of our constitutional system.
Its Constitution provides that:
The objects of the Party are to…promote within Australia…a society based on Christian ethics and loyalty to the Crown…
Nothing could be clearer than this very first object.
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So why was Mr. Oakeshott angry about being told to honour the first object of the Party about which he was so "passionate"?
Why did he join party which is so clearly opposed to a republic?
Was he a secret republican when he joined?
He certainly does not represent his electorate on this. They voted No in the 1999 landslide. The No vote was 61.59%.
…curious reason for moving to Canberra..
Mr. Oakeshott continued to hold the seat until 2008, when he resigned to run as an independent candidate in a by-election for the Federal Parliament seat of Lyne following the resignation of former National Party leader Mark Vaile.
Mr. Oakeshott is now openly republican, and challenges the proposition that the Governor-General is Head of State .
The once "passionate member of the National Party” told The Australian’s Imre Salusinszky (6/8/08) that the reason for his decision to leave the NSW Parliament and contest Lyne as an independent was because of " his repeated sightings in Sydney recently of a man he has never met – academic, monarchist and former Australian Broadcasting Authority head David Flint."
"He's high up in the Liberal Party and it was like a ghost telling me to stand as an independent," Mr Oakeshott said.