Toowoomba Branch has only two public meetings a year, apart from regular Committee meetings. We hold our annual meeting in February and a general public meeting in July. Last February Sir David Smith was our distinguished guest at our annual meeting, which attracted 95 people to hear Sir David.
Sir David’s address, “The Governor General is Our Head Of State”, attracted excellent media comment right across the Darling Downs and beyond, with letters to the Editor bringing out the worst from our “street” republicans, allowing us to present the Constitutional Monarchy case in reply. Our thanks to Sir David for coming all that distance to make our meeting such a success and his stay so pleasant.
The branch launched its Annual Essay competition again. This year the Essay entrants are asked to “Explain how Australia’s Constitution prevents any one individual from gaining absolute power over the people of Australia”, or “Compare and contrast the Constitution of Australia and of a republic of your choice. How effectively does each prevent a dictatorship?” For the Junior division (Ages 11-15), the challenge is, “The new Governor General of Australia is Major general Michael Jeffrey. Describe some of his public and ceremonial duties.” The City mayor will present the prize winners with their cheques, at a ceremony at the City hall on November the 11th. This ceremony attracts a lot of media attention, helping to spread the message and consolidate our institution.
For the branch meeting in July this year we were pleased to have Mr. Stephen Copeman, the Convenor of Young ACM as our guest speaker, who also attracted good media attention. Stephen’s address to the branch was excellent, and such a tonic to the older generation who often wonder if the flame will be carried further by the young. Branch members present were left in no doubt about the ability and commitment of Stephen to carry the torch into the future.
There is nothing more rewarding or reassuring to the older custodians of this magnificent heritage, than to hear an oration with such depth of understanding as Stephen prepared for us. The older members, who have provided the support and finance for our Essay project, leave meetings such as this, with that comfortable feeling, together with the reassurance that their efforts have not been in vain.
It was such a pleasure for us to have Stephen for the weekend and stay with us. We were able to take him to his Grandfather’s old school, where he noted the prominent name of Copeman on the school’s Honour board. One day when we have a National Honour board of those precious few who prevented our Constitution being taken from us, I know Stephen’s name will be there amongst that prestigious company.
After Stephen, we are back to taking on the republicans wherever they surface, which is mainly in the newspaper here, which allows everybody to participate and learn. The branch chairman has again been invited to give a three series lecture to senior students at one of the schools about our Constitutional Monarchy. This is a very valuable exercise as there is feedback from students thinking, allowing us to correct so much of the misinformation they take in from the media and sadly some of their curricular. We send them to the playing field to witness in their own school, constitutionalism in practise in its birthplace, for the obvious benefit to all. They all take a second look at the referee, noting the impossibility of a satisfactory game without him and who appoints him.
Our next function will be our prize presentation in November, and then back to the design board for next years Essay Topic, in the hope the Queen’s visit adds interest and impetus to our cause.