"ACM is seen as the most influential organised opponent to constitutional change and its decision not to outright oppose the idea is a key to the success of a referendum for indigenous recognition expected in 2017", writes Dennis Shanahan in a front page report in The Australian on 16 February 2015.
ACM was responding to the Prime Minister who in the 2014 Neville Bonner Oration in late November last year had issued this ardent appeal "I invite the friends of the Constitution to suspend scepticism."
ACM's submission is essentially about process and takes no position on any of the proposed changes which have been raised by various parties.
In what Mr Shanahan describes as a "constructive proposal," ACM does not declare "any outright opposition to indigenous recognition in the Constitution, strongly supports an elected convention to ensure the public is involved from the beginning and says the proposal of a Declaration of Recognition, put to the committee by conservative lawyers and writers Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser could be a longer-term step “towards constitutional recognition”.
The convention could also discuss other relevant constitutional issues including the state of the federation.
Professor David Flint and Jai Martinkovits appeared before the Joint Select Committee on Friday 20 February to speak to the submission.
Each year ACM actively supports the Commonwealth Day Council (CDC) - a group with which we share many objectives - through encouraging our members to attend their Luncheon.
As in the past, this year ACM is arranging a series of tables for its members and their guests.
Althought the RSVP date has now passed, The Commonwealth Day Council is still accepting registrations from ACM supporters.
This year, the CDC has invited 2015 NSW Young Australian of the Year and Director of Taste Creative, Genevieve Clay-Smith, to speak. This promises to be an great afternoon celebrating the role of the Commonwealth of Nations, which ACM supporters so often enjoy.
To register for the CDC Luncheon and ensure that you are seated with ACM members, please download a PDF copy of the flyer and booking form (below) and ensure that under "Please seat me with" you write "ACM".
Date: Monday, 9 March 2015 Time: 12pm for 12.30pm Venue: Stranger's Dining Room, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney Cost: $90 per person RSVP: (directly to CDC, not ACM): Friday, 26 February 2015
''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.