Leading republican, Professor George Williams, writes that this year is shaping up as an annus horribilis for the republican movement.
Writing in The Sydney Morning Herald on 22 April 2014, under an unusually long headline "To drag Republican movement from the doldrums, political leaders must speak up"
He says republicans have had to contend with three things. First, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s reintroduction of Knights and Dames.
Second, the highly successful visit by what he names as the royal family’s "new glamour couple'' the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and of course baby Prince George, dubbed charmingly by one television presenter as ''His Royal Cuteness''.
…they never had the young in the bag…
But all this, he says, pales into insignificance beside the ''recent'' finding that young people are abandoning the cause. He says this puts paid to the old adage that a republic is inevitable.
Professor Williams must have actually believed the old furphy that republicans had time on their side, and only had to wait until, as former Senator Susan Ryan put it, monarchists ''drop off their stick''. Or as former attorney general Nicola Roxon, put it, "no new monarchists are being born.''
The present Director of the Australian Republican Movement, David Morris, living in his own dream world, recently shouted down our Executive Director on 3AW to claim that every poll in the last 30 years had shown that the young are the most monarchists.
Although I have been writing about this for many years, Professor Williams, Senator Ryan, Nicola Roxon and now David Morris have taken no notice of the facts.
Whenever a poll breaks up respondents into age groups, this usually shows that the middle aged and not the young are more republican
And no matter how much republicans may have fixed up the curriculum, and pushed move into some form of politicians republic in education, it hasn't worked. And it never worked.
..and who is to blame for the republican debacle? …
Professor Williams doesn't blame the young for this. Nor does he blame the "celebrity factor" of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
That is a misjudgement, the young are smarter than to confuse members of the Royal Family with mere celebrities.He says the politicians are most to blame. They have moved the constitutional reform agenda to the recognition of aboriginal Australians.
He is particularly harsh on his own party, Labor.
….Kevin Rudd? …
He writes that the election of the Rudd government was meant to herald another referendum on a republic, and laments the fact that while Kevin Rudd "lifted hopes early, (he) … then decided to put the issue aside until a second term.''
If republicans only read this site they would be far better informed.Kevin Rudd went to the 2007 election having already indicated that a referendum would have to wait until 2010 that he is in the second term.
Just read our column, ''Kevin Rudd retreats on republic,'' published on 24 November 2007. – just two weeks before the election.
He also blames the next Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who had claimed most Australians wanted a republic. But then she put off the issue until the next reign. As ACM sais her private polling and focus groups were no doubt telling her not to touch the issue.
…once bitten, twice shy…
Professor Williams also blames The Queen and now the young Royals for being too popular.
He believes the republican cause cannot advance without strong political backing.That is unlikely.
The republican politicians – two thirds of all politicians – still want a politicians' republic. They can't understand why the people, whom they expect to be obedient, don't.
But having been conned ( to use the vernacular) by the republican movement and their cheer squad in the commentariat in 1999, they are more wary.
Their confidence will be further reduced t if they have noticed that the republican movement leader seems to think his principal role is to manufacture ''facts'' which are demonstrably untrue.
He has recently claimed all polls over the last 30 years have shown the young re the most republican, that the process leading up to the referendum was rushed and that monarchists are plotting to change the national anthem.