Republicans should take notice of their leader, Malcolm Turnbull, who has just relaunched the republican movement. Among other things, he has called on them to agree on a model.
The fact is republicans are further away from such agreement than they were at the 1998 Constitutional Convention, where one side was only dissuaded from walking out by the constitutional monarchist leader, Lloyd Waddy. They were upset because of the tactics of the ARM.
When he was elected to Parliament, Mr. Turnbull told the Wentworth Courier (12 October 2001) that the “republic issue” was not really on his mind.
“As I said in 1990, no meant no for a very long time... There is no point having a referendum on a republic unless it can be won,” he said.
...four essential conditions...
“To have a successful referendum you need to have at least four things:
·overwhelming community support,
·bipartisan political support,
·a sense that the time is right, and also that
·the republicans have agreed on a mode.”
“I think it is unlikely that all those things will come into alignment during the reign of the present Queen,” he concluded.
Not one of the four conditions is present in 2013 - nor are any likely in the foreseeable future.
In this piece in WA Today on 16 May 2013, ACM's executive director, Jai Martinkovits, speaks on behalf of young Australians who don't want to trash our constitution. He was responding to Geoff Gallop's piece in the same newspaper.
Australians – a people well endowed with common sense, good judgement and decency – innately and sensibly test all constitution change against the fundamental criteria, as our founding fathers put it; is the change "desirable, irresistible and inevitable"?
Although Australians are criticised for not readily agreeing to referendum proposals, this is not because we aren't prepared to consider constitutional change.
It is because, unlike what would have been the case in one of the early drafts of our constitution, Australians themselves cannot initiate proposals for change.Instead, change is always left to the politicians who have attempted either to centralise more power in Canberra or to monkey around with the constitution.Australians are just too smart to fall for that.
With the re-launch of the republican movement by opposition front bencher Malcolm Turnbull, it is clear that the republicans could not care less what sort of politician's republic they would foist on the nation.
Either they haven't thought about this or worse, they're keeping it secret.
The absolutely essential point is they refuse to reveal to the Australian people just what they want to do to our Constitution.
What they openly admit is that they plan to remove one of the crucial checks and balances on the politicians - without telling us how they are going to replace this.
Once again the republicans are giving laughable reasons to justify this change. You see, the republicans think Australians are stupid. They are wrong. Average Australians are too well well endowed with common sense, good judgment and decency to fall for this propaganda.
To justify this disgraceful sleight of hand they are talking about our identity.
As in 1999, they go on about the head of state, an an obscure diplomatic term governed by international law. Having an Australian as head of state was the only serious argument int he 1999 Yes/No booklet all voters received.
Talk about shooting themselves in the foot. When he re-launched the republican campaign on 10 May, 2013, Malcolm Turnbull said republicans had "fundamentally undermined" their own cause by reducing the visibility of the monarchy in Australians' daily life.
"As the Queen and the Crown become less visible, the anomaly of it being there is less obvious," he said.
"I mean the best thing that can happen to republican cause is for the Queen's portrait to be hung in every classroom, for children to line up every morning and swear allegiance to the Queen, for all of us to get letters from the government demanding money for unpaid parking fines marked 'On Her Majesty's Service'."
We warned the republicans it wouldn't work, they had no mandate to do it and it would not help them.
The late Professor George Winterton - a very prominent republican - warned them too. But some republicans thought creeping republicanism was a smart way of circumventing the peoples' vote.
ACM supporters everywhere, in local government, in Parliaments, in scouting troupes and Girl Guides - tell the republicans that the republican commander, Malcolm Turnbull has had second thoughts. Creeping republicanism is now off the agenda.
Restore the portraits and all the signs of the Crown, the Oaths, the Coats of Arms. and fly the Australian Flag.
Don't tell the republicans that it won't make Australians long for some politicians' republic, but let them dream that that will happen if they want to. It will be just another elusive silver bullet.