Since 1999, the principal activities of the republican movement have been the launching of a series of media stunts and a continuous search for a silver bullet intended to deliver some sort of politician's republic into their laps.
This is to be done without any effort on their part, and certainly not by designing a republican model which is better than the existing Australian constitutional system.
Since the opening of the Mate for a Head of State campaign, the media have become more wary of republican stunts.
David Koch, the presenter of the channel 7 high rating national breakfast programme warned the republican movement that they should not expect Australians to show any interest until they explained what they wanted to put in the place of the present system.
Then came the demand – timed for The Queen’s Birthday, of course – that the Queen give back Tom Roberts painting of the opening of the first parliament. The republicans “conned” the then Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks to support this.
The Australian Financial Review published my letter about this on 26 June 2001. This was with a cartoon showing two royal corgis using their litter tray, the floor of which is covered with shredded paper. On a torn piece of this paper you can just make out the words “Steve Bracks”.
The caption – “Steve Brack’s letter to the Queen”. The letter in full stated:- “Victorian Premier Bracks letter to the Queen to hand over Tom Robert’s Federation painting is as misguided (and as embarrassing) as demanding she return our Crown land.
“The painting is not her personal property. It’s owned by the Australian Crown in trust for the Australian people. “That’s why it is hanging – permanently – in Parliament House for all to see. And if anyone still doesn’t understand that the Australian Crown is separate and independent from the British Crown, remember that a Senator lost her seat because she didn’t appreciate this.” The lesson is – be careful of being dragged into the inevitable Queen’s Birthday stunts.”
….Australia Day Councils….
Every so often some stunt still gets into the media.
The government Australia Day Councils appear too often to have a republican agenda. Only the independent Victorian Australia day Council has managed never to use Australia Day to divide the nation rather than unite it.Australia Day 2011 was tainted by republican campaigns to change the constitution and the flag.
The Australia Day Councils must ensure that this is not repeated. Otherwise the Councils will lose the confidence of the Australian people.