Each year mock Constitutional Conventions are held for school students – aiming to engage them in issues related to the Australian Constitution.
These conventions are held at the Regional, State and Federal levels, with host schools being allocated public funds.
Most recently, Young ACM Spokesman, Jai Martinkovits, was asked to speak for the ‘NO’ case in a Victorian Western Region Convention. Representing the ‘YES’ case was recently elected – long time republican – Victorian MP, Natalie Hutchins.
During the course of her address, Ms. Hutchins proceeded to inform the students that Victoria was the only state to vote in favour of a republic in the 1999 referendum. Of course we know that the 1999 republic referendum was voted down in ALL States and in 73% of electorates.
When Mr. Martinkovits reminded Ms. Hutchins of her state's history, the students chuckled to themselves.
(We accept that Ms. Hutchins did not intend to mislead the students, but if a republican leader is so careless with facts which are so easily verifiable, what trust can young people place in the republican campaign for some unknown changes to our constitutional system?)
Mr. Martinkovits then proceeded to explain our current constitutional arrangements – our Crowned Republic – highlighting that any alternative form of republic would be a form of politician’s republic.
He also elaborated on the crucial roles of the Crown in our system of government, including its role in legislature, federation, public service, and more.
Encouraging students to consider Edmund Burke’s comment that “life is partnership between those who have gone before us, those alive today, and those yet to be born”, Mr. Martinkovits urged them to seriously question the benefits of any constitutional change before accepting it.