January 27

Republican conundrum: change Australia Day, Flag before or after?

“Michael Keating, the boss of the now almost invisible Australian Republican Movement, has called on Kevin Rudd to hold a plebiscite on whether Australia should become a republic or remain a monarchy,” reports  D. D. McNicoll in The Australian’s ‘must read’ column, Strewth.

In a paragraph headed ‘Republic Relations’ he continued:

“As the ARM celebrated Australia Day with dozens of ‘postcode parties’ for members across the country, Keating – a retired Australian army major general who is no relation to former prime minister and republic supporter Paul Keating – claims there is still ‘overwhelming support’ in the community for a republic but that Kev09 is dragging the chain."

“‘It is ALP policy, both the PM and the leader of the Opposition are republicans, the Greens want a plebiscite concurrent with the next federal election, the 2020 summit suggested it, and the Government's own committee heads are calling for it,’ Keating says.

" ‘The people want it, so we are calling on the Government to commit to a process and a timeline.’ Keating also unveiled a new logo for the ARM – a stylised map of Australia, overlooked by the Southern Cross, in green and gold."

“David Flint, the national convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, reckons the ARM now wants a plebiscite (a non-binding opinion poll) because it fears it will lose another referendum on the republic issue.”


Stunts, regularly changing their leaders, and a new logo.

Hasn’t it occurred to the republican movement that they might tell Australians what they have in mind?

Meanwhile the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma, revealed discussion about the appropriateness of 26 January as Australia Day was a forerunner to a bigger issue.

 "I think what Mick is actually foreshadowing is a broader debate about the republic,” Mr Calma, a close friend of Professor Dodson, told  The Sydney Morning Herald on  27 January. He also said children returning to school this week should discuss the issue in class.

One of the accompanying “vox populi” interviews in the Herald was pertinent not only for what the interviewee said, but more importantly, for the fact that it was selected.   

“If Australia is going to be a republic, it [Australia Day] should be changed.  [If not] it should perhaps embrace Aboriginal culture more.” (Pip Kelly, 34, at Hyde Park.)

Well, we know the Flag is on the republican agenda.



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