The republicans’ leading strategist, Peter FitzSimons, has returned to his column in the Sun Herald. “Given the outrageous bashings of Indian students in this country, particularly in Melbourne,” he writes (7/2) “our rough plan before departure was to present ourselves as a holidaying Kiwi (New Zealand) family.”
We find this curious. The usual complaint by republicans is that the Australian and New Zealand flags are so similar foreigners cannot distinguish them. If you don’t want your flag mistaken for New Zealand’s, why would you disguise yourself as a New Zealander to escape being recognized as an Australian?
Does this mean this leading republican strategist is only a fair weather Australian?
Incidentally, does Mr. FitzSimons think we should substitute for our beautiful flag the one notably unveiled in that notorious exhibition supported by the republican movement? This republican flag is white and carries the peremptory instructions, “F*** off back to Fagland”. It appeared in the exhibition programme printed under the republican movement logo.
And if we must change our flag because of the New Zealand’s beautiful flag, there is more reason, Mr. FitzSimons, for a very large number of foreign countries to change theirs. They all fly some sort of tricolour, and it very difficult for a foreigner to distinguish one from the other.
But I doubt if the citizens of any of these would have to put up with the campaigning against their traditions and institutions which occurs here. An egregious example was when one of our major newspapers, The Sydney Morning Herald, celebrated Australia Day with a front page full of proposed new flags.
But let us return to Mr FitzSimons’ role as the leading republican strategist. He revealed this in a major republican campaign in 2006. In his column in the Sun Herald, the Fitz Files, he had been hinting that a strategy which would secure a republic was to be revealed in a stunt timed for Australia Day, 2006. He wrote that a band of republicans had been furiously working on this for months at a secret location in Sydney's legal precinct, Phillip Street.
The result of their efforts was to declare the Sunday before Australia Day, Sunday 22 January 2006, to be….. “A Mate for Head of State Day!” Republicans were to wear yellow ribbons, which seemed a strange choice. It recalled the old song, “Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.”
The overwhelming reaction, even among republicans, was: “They aren’t serious, are they?” The campaign turned out to be an embarrassing failure.
Those who promoted it so vigorously would no doubt prefer it be forgotten.
…Indian bashings and the Attorney General …
Mr. FitzSimons eventually abandoned his New Zealand disguise and, unsurprisingly, had an excellent time in India. But the outrageous and unacceptable assaults on Indians which encouraged him to hide behind New Zealander nationality cannot be dismissed by the (republican) authorities with say, the usual insensitive comment about the victim being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nor can they be dismissed by their equally appalling response that there is no evidence that the assault or even murder was racist orientated.
The foreign editor of The Australian, Greg Sheridan, says that because of the assaults, Australia is enduring a catastrophe in its foreign policy and its standing in the world generally. He says that it is predominantly the fault of the Victorian Premier, John Brumby.
“Through the widely publicised assaults, murders and arson attacks on Indians and Indian houses of worship, Melbourne has become the racist-violence capital of Australia,” he writes (6/2).
He says the “indolent denial,” and the incompetent lack of response from his government and police force, have contributed hugely to a vast anti-Australian backlash in India, throughout Asia and more broadly internationally. He points out the BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera – are covering the attacks in a way that would constitute hundreds of billions of dollars worth of negative publicity for Australia. (This will counter the superb publicity our sportsmen and women bring us, as did Prince William’s visit.)
…call the Attorney to account…
We believe the Premier should call his Attorney –General to account. Law and order is his ministerial responsibility. It is also a core duty of government. When the ministers of the Crown, Labor or Coalition, were not obsessed republicans, the people of this country were assured that they would be reasonably protected from criminals. It is not just coincidental that with the abandoning of the respect for the Crown, the system of law and order has broken down.
The Victorian Crown, and respect for the Crown, are central to the maintenance of law and order. Is it any surprise that the Victorian Attorney-General, the Hon. Rob Hulls, is presiding over the most disastrous decline in law and order just as he proclaims removing the Crown from criminal prosecutions is some sort of reform?
He is so lacking in an understanding of the role of the Crown he even declares criminal prosecution were hitherto instituted in the name of The Queen of England. There has been no such office since 1707, and prosecutions in Victoria have never been made in that name.
…a crime used to be a wrong against the nation, not just bad luck…
In dismissing prosecutions in the name of The Queen as a mere "colonial relic," Mr Hull ignores what he should have learned as a law student. This was that the birth of our modern criminal law came with the acceptance that a crime not just a matter between the criminal and his victims.
As the great legal historian FW Maitland says, a crime became “a wrong against the nation,” with “the King as the nation’s representative”. And a crime today remains a breach of The Queen’s peace, whether or not Mr. Hulls chooses to hide this.
It is his duty and the duty of the government of Victoria that those who live there be protected from criminals, Australians or foreign.
Call him to account, Mr. Brumby. Now , before it's too late.