On a report of a “strictly confidential” document advising voters in Wentowrth, Malcolm Turnbull’s* electorate, to do anything to defeat him, even voting informal, I sent the following letter to the Wentworth Courier to confirm what I had said to them in an interview. The Courier had correctly said that the “country’s leading monarchist group, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, distanced itself from this campaign.” This is the text of our letter:
“Your report, “Monarchists plot revenge on Turnbull,” (22/8) reproduces a “confidential “document which appears to have been carefully drawn to suggest it is from Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.
ACM has nothing to do with this, as you report. Being non-political, ACM does not advise people how to vote. We do however believe that they are entitled to know the attitudes of political candidates to the nation’s heritage: our constitutional system, the role of the Australian Crown in it, and our Flag. Now that the republican movement says it has absolutely no idea of what sort of republic it wants, the people are also entitled to know what sort of republic a candidate has in mind. As the election approaches we shall be posting candidates’ views on ELECTION WATCH, which is on the ACM site, http://norepublic.com.au Yours…”
The newspaper is also running an on-line poll, accessible on www.villagevoice.com.au/wcpollThe question is : “ Should Australia remain a constitutional monarchy?”
In the paper, but not on the site, the choice is explained as :“Yes, our nation is born of Engalnd and we should remain by her side.”“No, we have outgrown our colonial roots and must stand as an independent nation.” I wonder whether the author of this also thinks Canada is not independent? This reminds us of that famous moment during the 1999 referendum campaign when Senator Stott-Despoja asked an incredulous crowd at Sydney’s Government House “Why hasn’t Australia become a republic? After all, Canada has!”
*[Mr Turnbull was the republican leader in the 1999 referendum, and is now the Liberal member for Wentworth and a Minister of the Crown in the government led by monarchist PM, John Howard. Wentworth is named after a distinguished Australian explorer, journalist and statesman, William Charles Wentworth, whose picture appears above]