In the history of Australian republicanism, our second republican movement was inspired by and led by the Communist Party of Australia. This movement continued for more than the first half of the twentieth century.
The Communists or Bolsheviks planned to establish a People’ Republic on the Soviet model found in Russia and Eastern Europe. There, the monarchy was seen as a check and balance on the government’s power, and was terminated wherever one existed.
The move to establish a communist people’s republic in Australia succeeded the first significant republican movement on this land.
This was the movement in the second half of the nineteenth century to establish a white supremacist republic outside of the British Empire.
Its proponents were dissatisfied with the tolerant racial policy of the colonial authorities both as regards immigration but alos in relation to the indigenous people.
Those in favour of a White Australia realised this could be achieved by the new federal entity, which the founders ensured had power to deal with immigration.A white republic outside of the Empire was not necessary. British opposition to a race based immigration policy could be disregarded at the federal level.
In the hope of placating London, the policy was disguised by the administration of a dictation test. This transparent piece of hypocrisy was borrowed from South Africa. The strongest support for the policy came from the Labor Party and the unions, who feared that their newly won standards would be reduced by Asian immigration.
The Australian has published a republican threat that if the Australian people do not agree to some politicians’ republic - soon - “someone else“ will do it for us.
This can only mean a foreign power or a coup d'état. Given the loyalty of the Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force and their long standing tradition of respect for the constitution, this republican must be referring to an intervention by some foreign power.
[ Stalin addresses the Supreme Soviet to the unanimous approval and acclaim of the delegates ]
Australia's second republican movement was in fact dedicated to such a result. They pretended that the Australian people would themselves adopt a People's or Soviet republic which would then introduce a socialist utopia.
The sad reality is that on the East European experience, this could only be achieved through a military conquest. No country has ever freely chosen such a fate.
The suggestion of this being achieved in these days in Australia is surely ridiculous – at least, I hope that it is.
But it shows you the attitude of some republicans. If you don't agree with them, their republic will be imposed. In the nineties there was a serious attempt to close off the debate by the use of ridicule and the denial of equal access to the media.
There have even been suggestions in the past that the British Parliament should impose a politicians’ republic on us, forgetting that the British had long given up any vestigial legislative power over Australia.
There is a warning in all of this. It is that the politicians’ republic which they wish to impose on us will in no way improve our democracy and may well lead to its diminution.
So beware of republicans when they threaten you, ridicule you and attempt to close off the debate.
The republican Senator Lee Rhiannon, who recently affirmed her allegiance to the Crown, has been in the news recently because of her position on the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.
Senator Rhiannon whose position on the issue today is consistent with that of today’s republican movement, remains a living link with our second republican movement. This was to turn Australia into a republic on the model of that which prevailed in Eastern Europe, named variously a People's Republic, a Democratic Republic or a Soviet Republic.
There is a section on the second movement on the ACM site which can be seen here
Incidentally, the first movement was to create a racist republic on the lines of the southern states of the United States in the nineteenth century or the Boer republics in South Africa.
We have a section on this movement on the ACM site which can be seen here.
As one leading Republican historian has observed, there is no pantheon of Republican heroes in Australia. Pity the republican movement today – they are so ashamed of their predecessor movements they do not mention them
.... Sen Rhiannon provokes controversy....
In a letter in The Australian Douglas Kirsner, of Caulfield North in Victoria writes:
“What are Greens senator Lee Rhiannon's credentials for her claim that she regularly speaks out against human rights abuses (Letters, 2/9)?
“Did she boycott any communist countries when they were committing some of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century?
"When the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring, did Rhiannon boycott the Soviets? No, she joined the Socialist Party of Australia, a pro-Soviet grouping that split from the Communist Party of Australia after the CPA abhorred the Soviet actions.
“Did she boycott the Soviet Union when it was administering psychiatric abuse such as electro-shocks to its dissidents? No, she led a delegation to Moscow. She even made an appearance in Soviet Woman.“Not even in the dying days of the Soviet dictatorship did she protest about human rights abuses.
“Rhiannon leads a movement that singles out Israel for boycott. Yet Rhiannon never boycotted or distanced herself from the communist regime she supported for decades”.
Senator Rhiannon is one of the more committed republicans in Parliament, providing a living link with Australia's second republican movement.
That movement was dedicated to changing our constitutional system to one similar to that of the communist countries so that we would have become the Australian Soviet or People’s Republic along those very grim East European lines.
On 4 July 2011 in the Senate Chamber, and in the presence of Her Excellency the Governor-General, Senator Rhiannon solemnly affirmed:
“I, Lee Rhiannon , do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Her heirs and successors according to law.”
She did not swear on the Holy Bible, which is her right. She does not think much of such Oaths and Affirmations. She wrote on her site recently that she was “concerned at “swearing allegiance to the Head of England”, as she describes the Queen of Australia.
...less than frank...
In the meantime, Christian Kerr ( The Australian 9/7) claims that Senator Lee Rhiannon has been less than frank in her response to revelations about her pro-Soviet activities that continued after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when, as she says herself, she was a Greens member.
He said that her behaviour comes as her party stands accused of falling far short in the levels of transparency it demands from others."Did you write for and edit a newspaper in the 1980s called Survey that was funded in whole, or in part, by the Soviet Union?" Senator Rhiannon was asked on the Ten Network's Meet the Press on Sunday 5 July.
"Yes, I assisted with it to some extent," she replied.
It was a blatant misrepresentation. At best it was an extreme case of what British Conservative minister Alan Clark, whose honesty rocked the government he served, once described as being economical "with the actualite".
The true nature of Rhiannon's involvement in Survey appears in its pages in black and white.
Under her married name of Lee O'Gorman, she was listed as editor from December 1988. The article announcing the closure of the magazine was signed "Lee O'Gorman, Editor".
It will be fascinating to see some the senators elected last year swear or affirm their allegiance.
Among them is a very prominent republican who provides a living link with Australia's second republican movement. That was to change our constitutional system to one similar to that of the communist countries.
Under their agenda we would become the Australian Soviet or People’s Republic along those very grim East European lines. (The first republican movement was to create a racist white republic.)
She is Senator Lee Rhiannon, who was formerly a Legislative Councillor in New South Wales. She has indicated that a significant part of her agenda is to close down the coal industry within a decade.
( I was invited to debate her and Professor Stuart Rees from Sydney University’s famous Peace Foundation at the NSW Parliament House in 1988. Did the organisers think one constitutional monarchist is worth two Republicans?)
...allegiance to Soviet Russia...
Curiously Senator Rhiannon's official Senate biography does not mention her very active and long involvement in a breakaway communist party.
This was after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 which proved too much even for the official Communist Party which had hitherto offered its allegaiance to Moscow. Until then it was generously funded by them.
The party which Senator Rhiannon joined was the Socialist Party of Australia, which gave its allegiance to the USSR.
Former Communist Mark Aarons says that when Lee Brown, as the Senator then was, aggressively praised another comrade’s endorsement of Moscow's invasion of Czechoslovakia, he knew his friendship with her was finished. (The Family File, 2010, page 276)
Their friendship was very much based on the fact that both of their families played prominent roles in the Communist Party of Australia.
(Republicans, who are the first to denounce the heredity principle, frequently apply it in handing on not just wealth but real political power. Just look at the Arab republics as well as the People's Republic of China.)
....Soviet news through rose - or was it red coloured glasses...
Christian Kerr discusses Senator Rhiannon's past in The Australian (2/7) (“Brown, red, Green - and a Tokyo Rose”). Usually available to the media she declined to cooperate with him in the preparation of his story.
He says that he in March 1975, a magazine called Survey was launched by the Socialist Party of Australia, "a monthly digest of trends in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries".
A long time Senator and Minister of the Crown in the Hawke Government, Arthur Gietzelt AO was an agent of the Communist Party of Australia, according to recently released ASIO archives and interviews with former ASIO officers and ALP figures, according to Troy Bramston.