September 25

Republican Fairytales


Belconnen Inn Conference Centre
Canberra, Australia
Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education

MR COPEMAN: Upon being asked to address tonight’s dinner, I was told by Kerry that the spot at the dinner is usually filled by a politician. Immediately I knew what kind of speech I had to prepare: meaningless, waffly and full of… “Ease the squeeze”. I wanted to start tonight with an absolute show stopper, a spectacle that would mark this ACM conference as one of the best ever…sadly Malcolm Turnbull declined my offer to appear at tonight’s dinner. When I inquired as to why, he said the condition that he swears an oath of allegiance to the Queen, whilst draped in the Australian flag and holding a vote 1 Peter King card was not a good message for him to be sending before the election. Further, on second thought I realised that we still need Phillip Gibson’s hard work at the office and the sight of Malcolm Turnbull dressed up as before mentioned would no doubt give him a heart attack. Malcolm Turnbull a constitutional monarchist…now that’s a fairytale we’d like to hear.

As children we are brought up on fairytales told to us by our parents and grandparents. Fairytales are used to comfort and entertain children and grandchildren. Fairytales are mythical and imagined stories. Unfortunately, we all grow up and fairytales loose their everyday significance in our lives…did I say ‘we all grow up?’ I should say everyone except republicans. Sure they were young once too, they most probably listened to the same fairytales we did. But, remember as the Senate Inquiry reported, republicans still have “mixed feelings” and they probably need their republican fairytales to sort theses feelings out!
Republican fairytale number one: a republic will finally allow Australia to fulfil its potential, boost our trade and presence as a nation on the diplomatic scene. A republic will solve all our problems and make us all equal. Reality: and I quote from the Enlarged Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, “a republic is a form of government in which equal justice is administered to all who can afford to pay for it. A republic is a nation in which…there is only a permitted authority to enforce optional obedience. In a republic the foundation of public order is the ever lessening habit of submission. There are as many kinds of republics as there are gradations between the despotism whence they came and the anarchy whither they lead.”

Republican fairytale number two: the senate inquiry into a republic wasn’t a waste of time and actually delivered something meaningful. Reality: those of you who have read Alice in Wonderland will no doubt see the striking resemblance of the inquiry to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The creatures of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party were some of the most argumentative in all of wonderland, failing to reach a single conclusion, much like the inquiry. It also seems that Senator Bolkus has a lot in common with the Mad Hatter, his watch has also stopped at six o’clock, six o’clock on the 6th of November 1999 when republicans still had some hope that their republican fairytale was about to come true.

Republican fairytale number three: the ARM will have a network of volunteers that rivals ACM’s, dedicated to the republican cause, happy to give their time free of charge whenever they are needed. Reality: the ARM can keep dreaming! True volunteers like Vona Paton, Elizabeth Lewenic and Phillip Gibson don’t believe in republican fairytales. The only ones they believe in are the ones they teach their children and grandchildren.

Republican fairytale number four: the ARM will actually hold one of their proposed national conferences. Reality: well we all know the answer to this one. Again it sounds like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, who’s late, late for a very important date, and like the ARM National conference, a date that doesn’t even exist!

Republican fairytale number five: the Queen will finally be removed from the state oaths of allegiance. “I Stephen Copeman do hereby pledge my loyalty to Bob Carr and promise to shop everyday at Westfield shopping centres and never complain about the punctuality or efficiency of the state train services.” Reality: the Australian people will not let the republicans place their republican mittins on our symbols of state history and heritage.

Republican fairytale number six: republicans will one day no longer need to tell fairytales. Reality: fat chance! With people like Kerry Jones and David Flint against them, republican fairytales are going to last for ever and ever.

Republican fairytale number seven: our constitutional monarchy will be, in the words of Paul Keating, a relic in the cultural museum. Reality: the only cultural relic in the museum will be Paul Keating. In a few years the current exhibition at the Australian museum ‘uncovered: treasures of the Australian museum’ will be renamed ‘uncovered: history’s forgotten ones, Australian republicans.’

Finally, if there is one thing I recommend you do this time or next time you are in Canberra, it is attend the war memorial at 5pm for the closing ceremony. I was told by a young lady at a 21st that she will forever be a constitutional monarchist. Why? Because her grandfather did not fight in vain to defend the Queen, the constitution and his country and she is not going to let it be removed as part of the latest fad. When you hear the last post played at the war memorial and understand what those Australians fought and died for, my word I can tell you the only last post the republicans will hear will be their own.


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