A former chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, and its National Campaign Director during the referendum, has come out and confirmed what everyone knows.
The republican agenda is both to bring on some sort of politicians’ republic and to change the Flag.
Greg Barns still speaks for the ARM as the links to videos at the foot of this report demonstrate. He writes writes on the ABC website The Drum that to be fully integrated into Asia, Australia and New Zealand must fundamentally change their constitutions and shred their flags.
Why should we do this? Because Mr. Barns has decided, unilaterally, that they say to Asia say to Asia that “we hanker after the colonial past.” Presumably our attachment to the rule of law, the Westminster system and to our language, do not create a similar impression.
I have travelled in Asia. My mother was born there. I have never been told by any Asian, ministers, judges, editors , journalists or anybody else that we hanker after our colonial past, that we must change our constitution or shred our flag.Mr. Barns and the ARM are “verballing” all Asia to slip through their agenda to ram a politicians’ republic down our throats and to shred our Australian Flag.
Mr. Barns says that when it comes to Asia, do not “walk the walk” -whatever that means.
And does “full integration” mean something like the European Union as Kevin Rudd proposes?
Let us hope that before we are rushed into that the people are first asked in a referendum whether they want to enter such a union.
…republicans and Flag change…
Until the 1999 referendum, the ARM openly endorsed changing the Flag. Since then, their official position is that Flag change and the Constitution are two separate issues. (They also claim not to have the foggiest idea what sort of republic they want.)
Meanwhile the republican standard bearer, The Age, let the cat out of the bag well after the referendum. That once great journal of record declares that everybody knows that if we become a republic – they say with the omniscience available only to the denizens of the Spencer Street Soviet “when” we become a republic – the flag will obviously be changed. So, they say, why not change it now?
With The Age, it’s a question of “Do what we say and not what we do”. You see, The Age is still published under a banner which is unmistakably a version of the Royal Coat of Arms.
The question around Melbourne is whether they have decided to grasp the republican nettle and abandon the Royal Coat of Arms when they go tabloid. The ARM is now an isolated lobby group.
The most prominent republicans – Paul Keating, Peter FitzSimons, and Ray Martin, and as we have seen the ABC’s flagship current affairs program, Q&A – have no hesitation in openly campaigning for flag change.
( Incidentally, Peter FitzSimons argued in his column on Sunday 10 February that one way that Julia Gillard can win the next election is to” ramp up the republic”. He did not mention the Flag – probably because he knows it is implied.)
As with the Constitution, the agenda for flag change is not a positive campaign.
The agenda is to get rid of our heritage. They ignore the counsel of the doyen of constitutional authorities, Professor PH Lane, that they must design a new constitution from scratch. So they try to graft some sort of republic onto an essentially monarchical Constitution. They just cannot work out how to replace the Australian Crown with something which would be as effective in providing an appropriate check and balance to the concentration of power which occurs under the Westminster system.
The same with the flag. They couldn’t care less what the new flag would be – the important thing is to get rid of the connection with our past which so symbolises the pillars on which the country was founded and on which it developed.The Australian Republican Movement was quite blatant in its support for flag change in the nineties. At the time of the 1998 constitutional convention, leading delegate to Mrs Holmes à Court invited all delegates to visit a new exhibition of flags which was held simultaneously with the convention. The general view among the constitutional monarchist delegates was that we would not be seen dead at Mrs Holmes à Court’s exhibition. The the ARM stamped its logo over a travelling exhibition of new flags all of which would make fine beach towels, except for one which combined homophobia with pommy bashing.
[ The links which show Mr. Barns still speaks for the ARM may be seen in this video in 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTq3Zsg6qZE and this in 2012 http://www.themonthly.com.au/where-republic-4603 ]