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ACM Home arrow Crowned Republic

Crowned Republic

 

Crowned Republic


“Some of us believe that Australia is already a form of republic under the Crown: a "crowned republic". Australia now enjoys all the desirable features of a republican government and a constitutional monarchy without any disadvantages of either system. Agitation for change is unnecessary, irrelevant, divisive and distracting.”


The ACM Charter, drafted by former High Court judge, Michael Kirby. 

In this way many prominent  constitutional monarchists and some prominent republicans, including judges , professors, senior lawyers and politicians use this terminology or consider it acceptable.  They include John Howard, Michael Kirby, Tony Abbott, and Justice Ken Handley.

Read more

See also: Constitutional Monarchies and Republics compared

 

[The Crowned Republic is the name of the ACM's education site which can be accessed here.]



East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq: crowned republics? Print E-mail
Crowned Republic
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 01 October 2009

 

The Hon. Nicola Roxon, now Federal Minister for Health, once claimed, from opposition, that constitutional monarchy was never suggested as an option for governance in recent years in Timor, Afghanistan or Iraq. Readers of this column will know that a return to a crowned republic - constitutional monarchy - was in fact proposed for both Iraq and Afghanistan. The reason was that constitutional monarchy in both was by comparison with what followed, a golden period indeed.

In Afghanistan the only reason the constitutional monarchy was not restored was an American veto. We can see the results.


Image
[ John Howard: Nobel Peace Prize nominee]






...East Timor....



As for East Timor, there were suggestions that the Westminster model under some form of crowned republic would be a better solution than what was eventually adopted.  After all if anyone can be said to be the father of East Timorese independence, it was the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard. 

Australia has one of the world's most successful constiutional systems. And as Tim Fischer has observed, two letters were written in the last century which led to nations being created. One was the 1917 letter from Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Baron Rothschild which ultimately led to the foundation of Israel. The other was the 1998 letter from John Howard to President Habibie of Indonesia, which led to the independence of East Timor.

For this John Howard was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, (“John Howard and the Nobel Peace Prize”, 29 September 2009, Quadrant)  



...."blowtorch to constitutional monarchy"...



Back in 2006, Ms. Roxon was calling for republicans to apply the blowtorch to constitutional monarchy.”   Ms. Roxon  rejoiced in the fact that ”… being a republican is a core condition of membership to the (Labor) caucus”. (But so have been socialism and the White Australia Policy. And all of the greatest leaders of the Labor Party -all of them - were constitutional monarchists.)

Ms Roxon claimed then to have discovered an immutable law of history, that constitutional monarchy is a stage between absolute monarchy and a republic, presumably any old republic , even the disastrous Timorese one, which if adopted here would indeed be a cane toad republic.  

She said those who developed the constitutional monarchy “would turn in their graves, I suspect, were they to see the likes of David Flint or Tony Abbott suggesting that their compromise was the final destination for democratic progress.” 



....low opinion of our constitutional system?...



The "compromise" she referred to was our crowned republic.  She then asked her audience to “… imagine if instead of Xanana Gusmao the East Timorese had to rely on Sir John Kerr, as the representative of a distant foreign monarch, to restore order. One shudders at the thought.”

Ms. Roxon is now, as the Constitution grandly declares, one of “The Queen’s Ministers of State for the Commonwealth.”  

Does she still believe that the East Timorese constitution is superior to ours, one of the world’s most successful?  

 
Tony Abbott: 2020 still a "crowned republic" Print E-mail
Crowned Republic
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 03 September 2009

Tony Abbott was a senior minister in the Howard government. A man of strong principle, a considerable communicator, written and oral, with a striking presence, it was evident years ago that Tony Abbott was destined to play a leading role in the nation’s affairs.

         Image

In his latest book, Battlelines, he confirms his long declared support for our constitutional monarchy.

And how does he see the future?

“Come 2020,” he says “I am confident that Australia will still have one of the world’s strongest economies because the current yearning for magic-pudding economics will turn out to be short-lived. The United States will remain the world’s strongest economy by far, and our partnership with America will still be the foundation of our security.

“We will still be a “crowned republic” because we have concluded (perhaps reluctantly) that it’s actually the least imperfect system of government.” 

         Image
 
Crowned Republic: Canadian praise, NZ republican outrage Print E-mail
Crowned Republic
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 09 August 2009
That vibrant Canadian site, The Monarchist, recently published a Canadian view of our Crowned Republic, causing outrage among New Zealand republicans. Written by Beaverbrook, the following comment appeared on 29 July 2009 under the heading:

David Flint at Rorke's Drift

Image
[ The Battle of Rorke's Drift, January 22/23, 1879 ]


“Whenever I think of Australia's David Flint and his valiant band of monarchists, I am reminded of Lieutenant Chard at Rorke's Drift, of intrepid action and intelligent leadership with a tactical instinct for self-preservation, the kind that is able to stare futility in the face and laugh.

“The Battle of Rorke's Drift is one of those irresistible stories that will amaze for generations to come. In what became known as one of history's finest defences, 139 British redcoats miraculously defended a small garrison in January 1879 against an intense and sustained assault by more than 4,000 Zulu warriors. Eleven of those 139 soldiers went on to win the Victoria Cross, the most ever for a single action, including Lt. Chard for his role in commanding the defence of the mission outpost, and for his courageous leadership, intelligence and tenacity against overwhelming odds.

Image
[ Rorke's Drift, 1879 by Lady Elizabeth Butler ]

 “Rorke's Drift is analagous here because but for the unheralded work of A.C.M. and others, Australia's intelligentsia is almost uniformly republican, from its political class to its media, academic and social elite, and its other self-appointed guardians of the national interest. It's as if the brave monarchists Down Under, who are the true custodians of Australia's history, culture and institutions, are alone in their redoubt, ably protecting the nation's precious constitutional order against the chattering onslaught of republican inevitability. 

“The innovative political genius of Professor Flint - that Australia has a choice between a "crowned republic" (i.e., the status quo) or a "politician's republic" (a dangerous leap of faith) - calls to mind the survival instincts of Lt. Chard, who implicitly recognized the need to shorten his defensive perimeter against the approaching hordes, and facilitated a tactical retreat behind a bisected position.

"In similar fashion, Dr. Flint is shortening the parameters of public debate by arguing that we are effectively already a republic, thereby avoiding the abstract (monarchy versus republic) and pseudo-nationalist (Queen versus Mate for Head of State) distractions that prevent us from focussing on the substantive issue (Crown versus politician) that confronts us, such as the vital role the Crown plays in providing a level of leadership above politics, and in safeguarding us from our own hubris on the virtues of popular democracy.


...when obstinacy no longer serves the public interest...

  

“Retreating behind the walls of a "crowned republic" may be grating to the royalist, but there are circumstances when strategic retreats and partial evacuations are necessary, and when obstinancy no longer serves the public interest. The staunch royalist may shout from the rooftops that Australia is not a crowned republic, that it is an independent kingdom, a commonwealth realm and a constitutional monarchy, as evidenced by it having a Queen, but what good are semantic plumes when the country was long ago sapped of its royalist spirit? 

“Loyalty to our country, our Queen and our cherished system of government requires that we fight to defend these things in the political arena where the battle will be won or lost. It is vital that we preseve the constitutional arrangement whereby power rests with the people and authority rests with the Crown, so that ultimately the rights and liberties of the individual can be protected if those two things - power and authority - remain properly segregated.

"Unfortunately the encroaching politician has done much to consolidate them, and the fate of the individual is becoming as vulnerable as the hapless patients in the garrison hospital at Rorke's Drift.”


Image
[“Stand Firm the 24th (Rorkes Drift)” by Chris Collingwood : From Cranston Fine Arts*]




...NZ republicans outraged; why won't we surrender?...



This comment was followed by a quite vigorous exchange of views, and New Zealand’s republican movement was outraged.

How dare  The Monarchist site lavish “praise on Professor Flint of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy”,  complained their leader Lewis Holden.

How dare they compare his work with the heroic defence of Rorke's drift, he said.

The NZ republicans say ACM's stand is like that of Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese solider who refused to surrender following Japan's defeat in World War II - until 1974.

 “As much as it is admirable to continue to fight for what you believe in, irrespective of the circumstances, there comes a point where it becomes simply comical.” 

This is a common republican view; if you monarchists won't give in we'll continue to ridicule you. So there.  

As an anonymous commentator replied:


 “One surrenders when one has lost, not when one is victorious. Perhaps you missed it in all the fuss, but the No vote won the '99 referendum.

“ Funnily enough ARM promised to abide by the people's decision and disband whatever the result, yet they have not.

"So who is refusing to surrender? “     

 

*[Cranston Fine Arts is a military print company with an online shop]

 

 
Crowned republic: republican concern Print E-mail
Crowned Republic
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 16 June 2009

There are two things people tell me about ACM. First we are consistent. Second we have a formidable publications programme, exceeding the output of all other protagonists in the debate, for or against. We have probably the most active constitutional website in the world.

In any campaign, slogans are used which summarise a position. All of those used by ACM were and are supported by sound, principled and detailed argument.  

Image



...referendum camppaign....


In the referendum campaign we particularly relied on four,

·          our crucial and long adopted one, “ We already have an Australian Head of State – the Governor-General”,
·          our adoption of  the American saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,”
.          the churchillian one "The Crown is important not for the power it wields, but for the power it denies others", 
·          the Vote No Committee’s,  “Vote No to the politicians’ republic”,
·          and ACM’s,  “This is the only republic  where it will be easier for the prime minister to sack the president than his cook.”

In 1999, ACM established a formidable machine to fight for the No case, assisted by the advertising campaign ran by the official No case Committee chaired by Kerry Jones.

Over 55,000 supporters worked with the ACM coordinators in every  electorate, and those  coordinators reported to  state and territory directors.Our campaign, based on our declared principles prevailed.  There were of course supporting campaigns, the most powerful of which being run by the independent republican, the late Clem Jones in Queensland.

These arguments remain  relevant  today.



....Crowned Republic....



 

ACM is now bringing  forward one of our other arguments, which was in our Charter and which has long been argued strongly by constitutional monarchists from as diverse backgrounds as former High Court Justice Michael Kirby and former Prime Minister John Howard.

This is “We are already a republic. A crowned republic.”

Image


This is the name of the latest version of our education project.

Well, it seems republicans are already worried by the crowned republic. According to one Jeremy Sear on a Crikey blog, our usage of the term “politicians’ republic “is intellectually dishonest"

But,  he says “ you’ve got to give them credit, devastatingly catchy.”

He says polls at the time of the referendum reveal that a clear majority of Australians agree with both of the following propositions:

·          We prefer our political system, with its checks and balances and the current balance of power, to that of any other country you could name; but
·          We’d rather have an Australian as Head of State rather than a hereditary English monarch.

He says that the only way to achieve both of those is with a minimalist republican model like the one proposed in 1999.

The status quo he says  offends the second – “even if Flint ...(makes).. the shamelessness to disingenuously claim that ‘we already have [an Australian as Head of State]

”Well of course ACM has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the Governor-General is, diplomatically and constitutionally, the Australian Head of State and The Queen is the Sovereign.  No lawyer of standing has been able to demonstrate that this is wrong.

But Mr.Sear is worried that with the launch of the Crowned Republic “monarchists haven’t finished with their campaign of relentless dishonesty”.

“ Having successfully tied the word “politician” to the other side, they’re now trying to lay claim to the word “republic” itself! 

"  It’s a breathtaking bit of spin, and as they launch their new www.crownedrepublic.com.au  website one can only admire their chutzpah, whilst gasping at their total lack of shame.”

He then says my piece “Republican losers would scrap our oldest holiday” ( 9/6)– tries  to convince online readers that republicans are after your public holidays. 

Mr. Sear says that former Daily Telegraph editor David Penberthy is right (“Clapped-out baby-boomers killed republic, says republican editor” 9/6).  The republicans didn’t run a negative enough campaign in 1999.

Mr. Sear must not have been around in 1999. The republicans ran a negative campaign.  I remember especially the ones directed against Prince Charles. Then there was the concerted campaign to depict us unpatriotic, and of course the way the media used the news to campaign against us. 

 
"We are already a republic; a crowned republic," say Michael Kirby...and John Howard Print E-mail
Crowned Republic
Written by ACM   
Wednesday, 03 June 2009
Despite the landslide vote against their preferred republic in 1999, the republican politicians insist the people must keep on voting - until they get it right.

Since 1994 there have been six major inquiries and votes on this. Millions and millions of dollars of taxpayers’ funds have been diverted from such important matters as schools, hospitals, water and transport into this folly. There is even one going on now, effectively subsidising the republican campaign.


Constitutional monarchists say we already have a republic. As Justice Michael Kirby and John Howard put it, and Paul Keating’s Republic Advisory Committee chaired by Malcolm Turnbull conceded, we already are a republic. - a crowned republic. 

 

  Image

So why won’t the republicans reveal what sort of politicians' republic and what new flag they are planning?

While republicans go on about the need for education, once again Australia’s constitutional monarchists are doing something about it.   

And we are not asking the taxpayer for one cent to do it. Not one cent.  

According to a recent government survey, only 1 in 3 of Year 10 students chose the correct answer out of four to that most elementary question "What is the Australian Constitution?"  

We Australians live under one of the world's most successful systems of government. To discuss any proposal to make substantial changes to this, and especially to vote on this they need to be properly informed.

Now a team of young Australians, Jai Martinkovits, Ed Copeman and others have been working with Professor David Flint on a project to answer this need. 

The first stages of this exciting project involve a comprehensive new website and an outreach programme into the schools. 

The new website will complement ACM's existing site, which is undoubtedly the world's most active constitutional monarchist site.

The noted broadcaster Alan Jones will launch The Crowned Republic on Wednesday, 3 June at Parliament House. The function is completely booked out. 

"Polls show the majority of Australians, and particularly the young, do not want a politicians' republic. If they did we would be having a referendum next weekend. Australians are entitled to information, not just tired republican propaganda, “said Professor David Flint, National Convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.

 
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