I have just visited several ACM branches across the country. I have not seen so much interest and activity, and such an influx of new people, since the referendum. It is of course the spectre of the implementation of the plan for a cascading series of plebiscites and referenda which is the reason. This is the plan of the republican establishment to trick the Australian people into voting for a republic.
There is some solace in this for us. It is an admission by the republican establishment that if another referendum were put now, it would result in an even bigger defeat than the 1999 landslide!
As we know, the first plebiscite will give no details of whatever change is being proposed. This is because the republicans claim there is something terribly wrong in our constitution, surely one of the world’s most successful. Then they pretend that they haven’t the foggiest idea of what should replace it!
That first plebiscite will be designed by the spin doctors to get an affirmative vote and then lock the people into what is the republican establishment’s plan to achieve a republic. The first plebiscite is to be designed to be nothing other than a blank cheque on the minds of Australians. This psychological blank cheque will be followed by a plebiscite to choose a republican model from five models. Voting will be compulsory and preferential, but there will be no opportunity at all to vote for the present system. In other words, if the people want to go back at this stage, they won’t be allowed to by their republican masters.
This is a deceitful and fraudulent proposal. It must be discredited, and ACM will do precisely that if they try it!
What a pity Mr. Latham decided to endorse this as an official policy of a Latham government.
In the meantime the policy ACM developed for the 2004 election campaign has proved correct-support candidates who are committed constitutional monarchists, but take no other position on the outcome. After all, we are non-partisan. We have supporters in all of the major parties, some of the smaller ones and many who belong to no party. (I suspect we do not have any in the Republican Party)
We have been telling any of our supporters who asked the names and of all those committed constitutional monarchist candidates, and how to get in touch with them if they wished to help.
We have also prepared a brochure explaining the proposal to have this cascading series of plebiscites. These brochures are being distributed in a number of seats. ACM has printed and distributed several hundred thousand, and different candidates are printing their own copies. The estimated total of brochures distributed is now approaching one million.
ACM of course has not campaigned and will not campaign for any republican candidates. In particular we did not and would never campaign to put the first leader of the ARM’s campaign for a republic, Malcolm Turnbull, into Parliament.
Although Mr Turnbull has changed his opinion on the flag, he was recently the guest speaker at an ARM fundraiser! And it is the ARM’s proposals on republicanism which have been adopted in the Senate Committee Report, impudently named “The Road To A Republic”. An ARM office bearer actually sat on the Committee, Senator Marise Payne. To have another ARM office bearer or former office bearer in parliament is clearly not in the interests of keeping the Constitution in the form envisaged by our Founding Fathers, an indissoluble federal Commonwealth under the Crown and under the Constitution!
Of course how our supporters vote, and how they allocate their preferences in any electorate is a matter finally for the individual, and ACM does not advise its supporters how to exercise their rights. For most voters the crucial issue will not be about republicanism, but ACM supporters should be pleased with the results of our campaign. We have made people aware of the issue, and if we do have to fight a plebiscite within twelve months, ACM will, as they say, hit the ground running!
ACM has just held a highly successful national conference in Canberra. We have held these every year since the referendum. There was an interesting development this year. In almost every previous year, as soon as we announced our Conference, the ARM announced theirs. There was always one difference-ACM actually held ours! Imagine what the media would make of that if the positions were reversed.
While the republican issue has not received much media attention here, apart from The Age piece I mentioned last time, the international press has taken some notice. I sent the following letter to Reuters to correct their opening paragraph of their story, which said our head of state doesn’t live here but is Commander-in Chief, and can sack our government! This was from Reuters, a highly respected news agency. How could they be so wrong?
This was my letter:
I am surprised that your story should contain such errors. First, The Queen of Australia cannot dimiss governments, a point confirmed in 1975.This power resides only in the Governor-General. It is in the Governor-General, not Her Majesty, that the Constitution vests the Command-in Chief of the Armed Forces.
And when the Governor-General visits other countries or the UN, he is sent as and received as Head of State. Australia has long been an independent country.
Australians overwhelmingly rejected the republicans own preferred model in 1999.All states and 72% of electorates said No.
David Flint etc
In the meantime, The Sunday Times 3 October, 2004 , under the headline REPUBLICAN AHEAD IN AUSTRALIA, reported that Mr. Latham is committed to abandoning Australia’s constitutional ties with Britain, and is expected to put forward plans for a republic if he is elected. In an interview earlier this year he said that he had “nothing personal” against the Queen but felt the monarchy was not appropriate for Australia.
And across the Atlantic, I did like this letter in The Illinois Leader. It confirms a view I have had over the history of Iraq. Now ACM has of course no policy on Iraq, and whether the intervention in Iraq was correct, or wise or lawful.
But the system of government there until 1958 was a version of the Westminster system, and an historical debate about the value of that, and a comparison with its successors cannot be out of place. An extract follows:-
Having served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Desert Storm, I saw first-hand the torture chambers used by Saddam Hussein’s men to rape and kill his own people and those of his neighbours. His methods were unbelievably brutal and vile. He and the Baath Party had systematically snuffed out the Christian and Jewish communities in Iraq – a nation that had been pluralistic under the
British-installed monarchy. (The Illinois Leader 1.10.04)
It is interesting that an American soldier who had actually served in Iraq has come to this conclusion, particularly the fact that under the Hashemite monarchy, the system allowed for different political parties, a relatively free press, and the Westminster concept that a government would attain, and retain power, because it had the confidence of the popularly elected chamber of parliament, and not out of the barrel of a gun.
Until next time,