December 18

Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree

 There is increasing excitement among the somewhat depleted ranks of republicans about two stunts they have scheduled for next year.

The one planned for March is to mix politics with sport at the Commonwealth Games. That will endear them to the average Aussie- I don’t think!

Journalist Peter FitzSimons has been hinting at the other stunt for some time. He and a band of republicans have been furiously working on this for months at a secret location in Sydney’s legal precinct, Phillip Street.

Now I know from his column in the Fairfax Sun Herald that Mr FitzSimons does not like me reminding republicans who get stuck into Prince Charles that he raised a quarter of a billion dollars for the underprivileged last year, but its true.

That aside , the republican campaign that Mr FitzSimons and the republican lawyers have been beavering away to achieve is now out.

The Sunday before Australia Day, Sunday 22 January 2006, is to be….. “A Mate for Head of State Day!”


That’s it. “A Mate for Head of State Day.”

What a winner! That will persuade vast numbers of Australians to throw out their Constitution and to change the Australian flag.

But wait. That’s not all. There’s something more.

The pièce de résistance has required a lot of careful thought. Top republican lawyers have been working on this. Before I tell you, you should sit down, just in case you swoon when you read about it… This will leave you really breathlesss.

Believe it or not, at these events for a Mate for Head of State, republicans will wear…. gold ribbons!

Don’t get too excited. Yes! They will all wear gold ribbons.

Just imagine, dozens of republicans wearing gold ribbons. Will there be as many as the first in a series of demonstrations against The Queen the ARM’s Professor Warhurst called for her first visit since the referendum? There were more reporters there than demonstrators. They had to call the other demonstrations off.

Then there was the heavily adverised spectacular to be addressed by a cast of republican celebrities on a Friday lunchtime in the geographic heart of Sydney just before the referendum. The only people who turned up were the celebrities and the reporters-and of course that embarassment was not reported or shown on the news.

Perhaps the republicans could revive the song popular in the fifties or sixties:” Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree!”

While republicans are free to cover themselves in as many ribbons of as many colours as they wish , they shouldn’t expect the taxpayer to foot the bill, as they have repeatedly for the last ten years. The then Lord Mayor Sartor even had the ratepayers of the City of Sydney pay for advertising around the city for the referendum Yes case!

Whether the media will take any notice –apart from Mr FitzSimon’s column in the Fairfax press, – we do not know. Only the ABC and one capital city newspaper reported the taxpayer funded meeting in the parliamentary alcove.

Media or no media, you can be sure of one thing – a handful of republican bedecked in yellow ribbons will be no “barbecue stopper.”

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and until next time,

David Flint

[email protected]


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