It is now clear that the republican movement is not only divided over what form of politicians’ republic they are proposing the Australian people adopt.
They are also fundamentally divided over tactics and strategy. There is clearly a serious split between the second most senior officer, Professor John Warhurst and the movement’s vice chair and media director, Mr. David Donovan.
(We hesitate to choose the only other apparent alternative: gross incompetence and an organization in disarray.)
…a campaign to coincide with the Royal Wedding…
This emerged when I recently observed on the ACM site (“Republican movement peeved by Royal Visit” 20/3)“The republican movement had proposed a campaign for a plebiscite at the time of the Royal Wedding; it would seem this strategy may have been reconsidered.”
I then received this email from the movement’s vice chair and media director:
“We never proposed anything of the sort – as we have asked you before, would you please stop telling lies about the ARM. Perhaps you can’t stop?”
…ARM announcement about the campaign to coincide with the wedding….
Far from telling lies, I was relying on the clear and unequivocal announcement by the republican movement.This conversation took place on ABC television on 17 November 2010 on the announcement of the Royal Wedding, Professor Warhurst speaking for the ARM.
He referred to a bill for a plebiscite to be reintroduced by Greens leader, Dr. Bob Brown and added:
ARM: “We look forward to linking the coming wedding of Kate and William with the argument for a republic.”
ABC: “Would that be an uncomfortable coincidence as far as you are concerned”
ARM:” No, we say: Bring it on. We look forward to it. “
ABC: “ You can’t go against a Royal Wedding”
ARM: ” No, my word we can because the benefit of a Royal Wedding is, it brings attention to the debate about Australia's national identity and the fact that 20 or 30 years time William will become King of Australia unless Australia becomes a republic.
ARM:” It will be in fact an ideal time and attention is on a matrimonial event to have a political and constitutional debate in Australia. And that's how it should be.”
I assume there is a dispute in the ARM leadership as to what to do. There is as I have said another possibility – gross incompetence and an organisation in disarray.
That is that Mr. Donovan did not know what Professor Warhurst had said, no records were kept and when Mr. Donovan read my comment, he did not bother to check.
Surely no serious organisation would allow itself to fall into this situation.
And this is the organisation which is calling on Australians to remove one of the pillars of our Westminster system, to make the biggest changes ever known to our constitutional system and which has previoulsy approved the shredding of our Australian Flag.
In case Mr Donovan still doesn’t know what his leader announced to a somewhat incredulous nation, here is the video:
..earlier claims of lying…
[Continues below ]
Mr. Donovan is correct when he says he has previously asked me not to publish lies about the ARM. I would have thought he would prefer to forget them.Last year he became indignant when I recalled the fact that Gerry Adams came to Australia during the referendum and became the only well known foreigner to campaign for a Yes vote.
My comment was in relation to a Channel 7 investigation of the still unpunished murder in the Netherlands of two young Australians by the Irish Republican Army.
The fact that the current republican leaders denied that Adams came to Australia to campaign for the Yes case in 1999 caused some amusement at The Australian: “Winning new ARM approach,” 14 September, 2010.
The Australian quoted the media director of the republican movement’s extraordinary email to me:
"When did Gerry Adams come to Australia in 1999 and when did he ask Australians to vote yes to the referendum? No one seems to be able to find any record of either event.
Are you quite mad, a habitual liar or just an idiot? "
The Australian commented:
“It took us two seconds to discover Adams visited Australia for eight days in February 1999; we used the internet.
As for the other matter, here's a snippet from The Sun-Herald at the time:
"Mr Adams also urged Australians to vote yes in December's republic referendum. 'I believe in the republic as the democratic form of society,' he said. 'I don't have time for monarchies of any kind.'
"We hope that helps”.