''Let us declare that our head of state should be one of us", opposition leader Bill Shorten said today. ''But Governor-General Quentin Bryce was often sent overseas as the Australian head of state by the very government in which he was a minister, ACM's David Flint reminded the media.
Dame Quentin Bryce
"Let us rally behind an Australian republic – a model that truly speaks for who we are: our modern identity, our place in our region and our world," Mr Shorten added at a time when support for a politicians' republic is lower than at any time since the landslide vote rejecting this in 1999. "This is particularly so amongst the young,'' Professor Flint said.
Here's a splendid defence of our flag by our young executive director Jai Martinkovits in the Australia Day edition of the Dubbo Weekender:
If there is one thing that unites Australians young and old, it’s a love of their Flag and all that it represents.
In fact, in a recent poll, Roy Morgan Research put support among the youngest age group, 14 to 17, as high as 80%, with 7% undecided. And support across all age brackets was found to be 69%, with 5% undecided.
This weekend, Aussies right across the country are celebrating our national birthday – Australia Day. As well as appreciating a good excuse for a holiday, Aussies will take a moment to reflect on our glorious way of life, which so many of our forebears fought and died to protect.
It has been said that the success of any nation – or, shall we say, it’s way of life – is dependent upon the quality of its institutions. And it’s those very institutions and values which have so clearly allowed our nation to prosper, which are encapsulated in our National Flag of “Stars and Crosses”.
It is truly the people’s Flag – proudly adopted in 1901 following the results of a public competition, which attracted more than 32,000 entries.
Responding to an invitation from the Herald Sun to comment on the claims against Prince Andrew, and the impact on support for constitutional change to a (politicians') republic, Professor David Flint also comments on how the American legal system can encourage the making of reckless claims. The Herald Sun had argued in an editorial that the claims would revive republicanism, and invited both ACM and the aRM to comment.
His comments about Alan Dershowitz were made just before it was announced that he was commencing a defamation action.
The text of the opinion piece follows:
A 30 year old woman is claiming that when she was 17 ( and thus below the age of consent in Florida) she had sexual relations with Prince Andrew.
What has this to do with the Australian constitution?
In brief, nothing at all.
This is not only because Prince Andrew is fifth and will soon be sixth in line to the throne. Nor that he is likely to be further removed when Prince Harry establishes a family.
We have to put the claims in context. They are made in a last ditch civil case brought against American authorities about the handling of a criminal case against financier Jeffrey Epstein.
These claims have not been made under oath, nor tested under cross examination. They are made under a legal system which allows a lawyer to take a significant slice, often 33/3% to 45% of the vast sums US courts seem inclined to award. Unlike Australia there's no rule requiring losers to pay the winners costs, so there is no disincentive from making the most frivolous and reckless claims in the hope they will at least be settled.
The strongly denied claims made about various well known men, including Prince Andrew, resulted in the Melbourne Herald Sun issuing a strongly republican editorial on 5 January 2014. The editorial dismisses the referendum result which whatever gloss is put on it was clear. It was a landslide by the rank-and –file against the best model the republican majority was able to produce. That model was strongly supported by the political class including the media.
The newspaper ignores the fact that support for a politicians' has been falling significantly since the referendum and now is weakest among the nation's youth.
The newspaper is entitled to its views, and properly offered ACM and the ARM space to comment, an offer which ACM immediately seized
.Glance at the following graph which shows quite clearly the state of support for change to a politicians' republic before you read the text of the editorial below.
The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Bill Shorten, has called for a constitutional convention to consider the issue of the constitutional recognition of the indigenous people. ACM has also called for a convention.
Speaking along with the prime minister at the inaugural dinner of RECOGNISE on 11 December 2014, he said that the referendum question must involve the complete representative and empowered participation of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.
''And this is where the idea of a constitutional convention offers one important, constructive way to ensure that more voices are heard.
"And perhaps building upon what we’ve heard, I can suggest the establishment of a formal referendum council to help guide the convention’s important deliberations, to make sure that the convention isn’t captured by one interest or another and provide that broader community level leadership.''
Referring to his Neville Bonner Oration to the 15th ACM National Conference, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told supporters of RECOGNISE, the movement for the constitutional recognition of the indigenous people, that for a referendum to succeed there should be no opposition from any group of substance.
Addressing the recent RECOGNISE inaugural dinner, he said he had invited his ''former colleagues at Australians for Constitutional Monarchy... to suspend their scepticism.''
''And I told them that it was impossible to cherish every single clause of a constitution, except the provision to change it."
" Tonight,'' he continued, '' I say to my friends here at RECOGNISE, we have to temper our ambitions, because nothing would set back the cause of our country and the rightful place of Aboriginal people at its heart, than a referendum that failed.''
ACM's National Convenor, Professor David Flint, responded to the Prime Minister by proposing that the people be involved from the beginning. This would be by following the Corowa process which involved a convention and which was the way we federated. He suggested other current burning constitutional issues be referred to the convention. This would include restoring the federation.
Former Prime Minister John Howard is interviewed here by Professor David Flint on his latest book 'The Menzies Era'. This is a major examination of the years that formed modern Australia. Professor Flint's first question relates to the way in which Sir Robert consulted The Queen concerning the appointment of governors-general.
When The Queen Came to Town is an affectionate celebration of the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Royal Tour to Australia by the newly Crowned Queen Elizabeth II. The film uses archival footage from the tour, interviews with Australians with memories of the Queen's visit and narration by Australian legends Bert Newtown and Lorraine Bayly to bring this wonderful story to life.
As many supporters will be aware, the tour was the largest event ever to be staged in Australia. For 60 days, the young Queen traversed the length and breadth of the land, visiting more than 60 country towns and making more than 100 speeches. Five million cucumber sandwiches, 10 million scones and 25 million cups of tea later, an astonishing three quarters of the Australian population had turned out to see their Monarch.
The evening of 6 November, 1999 and the results of the republic referendum are pouring in.
Refused their usual meeting place at the Sydney Town Hall by republicans who actually used ratepayers' funds to line the streets of the city with banners calling for a Yes vote, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy gather at the city's Darling Harbour Convention Centre to await the results.
Earlier in the evening, on the balcony of the Opera House - overlooking the harbour front area where the republicans are already celebrating what they assume will be a great victory, Professor David Flint is asked by the BBC to comment.
The polls have only closed in the Eastern States a little over one hour, but he calls the result correctly:
"It already looks like a landslide... for the No case."
Republican youth spokesman, Jason Yat-sen Li is also being interviewed by the BBC.
He looks at Flint in amazement and "does a double take."
But Flint is correct. He takes a water taxi back to Darling Harbour to join other constitutional monarchists.
...Tony Abbott's succinct assessment...
In this clip Flint is shown with David Elliott, ACM's National Campaign Director.
He embraces Kerry Jones, ACM's National Executive Director and Chairman of the Official Vote No Committee.
Kerry is the heroine of the night.
Tony Abbott MP, first Executive Director of ACM and now Leader of HM Loyal Opposition, comes on and succinclty and correctly assesses the meaning of the referendum.
The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is engaging in a shockingly devious attempt to persuade New Zealanders to change their flag.
There is one honest and straight forward way for the republican prime minister to ask New Zealanders whether they want to change their flag, the one so many served under and died for.
this would be for John Key to put up his preferred new flag or flags against the existing flag.
That is how John Howard amended the Australian Flag Act. This was after the Keating government admitted it would change the Australian flag prior to the centenary of federation without even asking the people.
Accordingly Australia's law was changed to require that any new flag or flags had to be approved by the people. To head off the sort of trick proposed for New Zealand, the Australian flag must ALWAYS be included in any vote.
Australia's republican flag changer politicians were well and truly caught out.
Embarrassed, they sheepishly went along with this.
But John Key hopes to pull the wool over New Zealanders eyes. He wants them to choose a new flag first.
His plan is that the ''winning'' flag will be pushed for months in a no doubt taxpayer funded campaign. It will be supported by the usual suspects.
So that's what New Zealanders are in for. The New Zealand Prime Minister will be undermining the New Zealand Flag for many long months.
Australian's flag changing politicians would love to be able to do that.
Only one year after John Key's campaigning for his new flag will New Zealanders be allowed to say whether they actually want a new flag.
John Key thinks New Zealanders will fall for his trick. We doubt it.
Because it is a blatant attempt to trick the people, they could well boycott the first vote.