|Speech by Philip Gibson at the ACM National Conference 2005|
|Written by Philip Gibson|
|Tuesday, 01 November 2005|
I am indeed honoured to speak AT a Conference addressed by The Hon. Tony Abbott,
The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, Mr. Anthony Roberts the Member for Lane Cove as well as the engine room of ACM – David Flint, Kerry Jones, Phuong Van, Stephen Copeman our new young ACM Administrator and Sir David Smith and many other people here without whom we may well have been the Democratic Republic of Australia. So I am indeed fighting above my weight. I call our Head Office workers the 711 team. They work from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and perhaps you didn’t know – the 711 Convenience Stores around Australia are all named after them!
Apart from the Head of State I shall talk also on an extremely important matter.
But first to the Head of State
If we can nullify the Republicans’ sole strategy of We want an Australian head of State then we will have nullified them also. We are close, but not quite there and sadly one of our problems is the Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
There is a man of great integrity, described accurately as the final authority on this matter. He has given a lifetime of service to Australia and has delivered numerous accurate, unassailable papers on it during the last 10 years. He served for 17 years as Official Secretary to no less than 5 Governors-General. And since 2000 a Visiting Scholar in the Faculty of Law at ANU. I refer to Sir David Smith KCVO AO.
His papers are the benchmark papers on the subject and have never been rebutted by ANYONE. He is the oracle. I am but an active irritant. I personally have written to well over 1,000 people inviting a rebuttal of his papers and/or to present an official document substantiating that The Queen is Head of State of Australia. NONE HAVE DONE SO. The Queen as per her own web site, is the Sovereign not Head of State. So his papers stand as the unarguable truth.
Sir David’s booklet “The Governor-General is Australia’s Head of State” can be acquired today for only $10 with an insert advising how to read his recent papers on the web.
So thank you David for all your wonderful work. I have a suggestion for a foreword to your next publication – written in B.C. by that old bloke Horace:
Lustem et tenacem propositi virium
Non civium ardour Pravda iubentium
Non vultus instantis tyranni.
Which you will readily understand, means
The man who is tenacious of purpose
in a rightful cause is not shaken from
His firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow
citizens clamouring for what is wrong
Now a story about ARM’s duplicity: A little group called AIDC has summed it up well in its paper in your Conference Pack, In 2003 ARM’s National Director, Allison Henry was asked by letter on what basis the ARM claim the Queen of Australia is our Head of State. A prompt reply said the Queen also sees herself as Australia’s Head of State and quoted from the Monarch’s website The page entitled ‘Commonwealth Realms states“A Commonwealth realm is a country where the Queen is the Head of State.”
An examination of the Queen’s web site to which she referred says NO SUCH THING. Ms. Henry’s statement was and is TOTALLY UNTRUE. In fact the Queen’s website says “A commonwealth realm is a country where the Queen is Sovereign”. Meanwhile Buckingham Palace advised quote: “Ms Henry misquotes her own enclosure. The wording on our website is as follows: “A Commonwealth realm is a country where the Queen is sovereign”. The only website is under our jurisdiction is one at www.royal.gov.uk from which the above quotation is taken. We are not responsible for the wording on any other sites.”
When this was conveyed to the ARM it only partly corrected its web site to read: “The Queen is now described as Australia’s Sovereign”. The word “now” suggests the change was a recent one. In fact the Queen’s website had said this for many years. Therefore the word “now” should be removed in the interests of accuracy and honesty. The ARM website however still implies, describes or refers to the Queen erroneously as Head of State of Australia on over 8 other occasions.
Very confusing, even to republicans.
And now the ABC. Russell Balding, MD of our ABC confirmed to the ARM that the Governor-General is NOT the Head of State and instructed News and Current Affairs staff to be aware of this when referring to the Governor-General. Mr. Balding is therefore in conflict with the Queen, Sir David Smith and even the ARM. Perhaps we should include in our website a heading “For Constitutional Matters Ignore the Queen – Go to the ABC”. Even a letter of complaint from our Constitutional Expert and Supporter, The Hon. Jack Lee, and I composed and sent to the ABC Complaints Panel three months ago has had no response.
But now the most serious of all. In this Official Booklet “Australia’s Constitution” it states “Australia’s Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II.” Being included in a Government booklet clothes it with an erroneous authority. Here I salute John Stone for discovering that, not only is the description of the Queen wrong but also the preceding sentence. The insert in the copies for sale today for $5 detail why – so please write to the Prime Minister, The Attorney-General and The Government Solicitor complaining about it. Thank you John Stone.
Sir David and I have contacted many Government Departments but surprisingly the problem is in the Prime Minister’s Department. Sadly and inaccurately the Prime Minister calls the Governor-General the “effective” Head of State – not good enough. He either IS or IS NOT Head of State. Maybe he is worried it might be a slight on the Queen not to call her Head of State. But surely if she and her advisers state she is Sovereign on her own web site (not Head of State) then that’s final. C’mon Prime Minister - help us please! And C’mon Alexander Downer – get “the Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II” out of your Foreign Affairs Protocol Section. It’s unable to be substantiated it is just someone’s opinion. If there is anyone here who has access to the Prime Minister or Mr. Downer will they please ask them to help us, They can buy Sir David’s booklet at the Parliament House Bookshop for $10. to assist them to make the necessary correction.
I could go on for hours on the reams of correspondence I’ve had - but a simple summing up is to ask whoever says the Queen is Head of State of Australia to produce (A) a document which substantiates it and/or (B) to do a written rebuttal of one or more of Sir David’s papers. Remember always that if they ask “What document have YOU got?” tell them The Commonwealth Government Directory where it appeared 21 times that the Governor-General is Head of State until it became an UNAUTHORISED REMOVAL.
Enough on Head of State.
Now to the extremely important matter I referred to earlier. Of the 20 million people in Australia only 3 ½ people are defending our System of Government and flag full time.
As a full time volunteer I am in the office most every day of my life so I can give you some insights as to what goes on there. The most serious fact is that we have a particular problem, which is the problem of all non-profit organizations that depend on donations from their supporters – supporter lethargy brought on by supporter post-referendum overload. The average donation in 2003/4 – apart from 2 or 3 major donors, was $6.
Many of our pre-referendum 50,000 supporters, whose loyalty I am sure remains steadfast but subterranean, suffer from the unfortunately misunderstood belief that it is all over. The truth however is that it is certainly NOT ALL OVER.
Witness the dreadful waste of tax-payers money by republican former Senator Bolkus forcing an expensive mostly partisan 37 Member and 9 staff Senate Inquiry. “The Road to a Republic” travelling around Australia. The cost was obviously very high but totally shielded from the public. 700 odd submissions had to be processed – I have a copy of all 11 kgs of them in my office. Approximately half were from our loyal supporters objecting to it. STILL they could not agree on an alternative system of government with its 300 odd republican suggestions, each of which proposed a different model. .No – it is not all over!
And witness a copy I have here of a recent Republican Movement letter to RWMs advising of its imminent election of office bearers. No it is not all over!
And witness the recent formation of a group of Republican MPs joining together to promote “a Republic” still without any idea of which model. No it is not all over!
So what’s to do?
Our list of registered supporters has reduced from that 50,000 figure pre-referendum. I am sure they support our aims still but they donate nothing. I suppose in a typically Australian way they’re maybe saying “She’s right mate, ACM will look after us and keep acting for us – no worries!”
This lack of active support is worrying enough but the compounding worry to our 3-1/2 full time staff is the tension brought on by lack of tangible support per medium of donations.
From my daily observations in our office I can reinforce what you probably already know, that is Kerry runs an extremely lean organization and every penny is fully accounted for. As you can see from our public and audited 2003-4 Accounts the “Employee expenses” totaled $117,005. This figure is less than that which Kerry ALONE could earn if head-hunted into the Corporate world. We are running not LEAN but MEAN. Here I salute and thank particularly our core financial supporters who donate regularly and generously and especially we can all thank Kerry Jones, who apart from working for less than she could as a Corporate Executive is one of our top 3 donors. I’ll repeat that – one of our top 3 donors!
ACM needs to reach out to the large list of dormant non-financial supporters to help ACM do its work. We cannot leave it to those core donors to carry the load. But if you think it is difficult to find a solution to this need – don’t – because I believe we now have a solution. –that is if we want ACM to not only continue with the fight but to increase its viability and allow Kerry for example to travel Interstate, where our supporter base is modest, to encourage new supporters.
David Flint, our full-time volunteer and Convenor, never ceases to address meetings on our behalf. He travels fro Maroubra to Meekatharra W.A. at no cost to ACM – he pays all his own expenses. So a special thank you to you David.
But we cannot expect Kerry to fund her own travel as well as working for far less than her skills would attract – as well as being one of our top donors – then to pay her own air fares to Perth to encourage supporters. There is a limit.
From the latest audited accounts lodged with ASIC and published in our May Newsletter, I list a few examples of ACM’s expense items:-
1. It is simple to do
2. It is painless
3. It is modest in its target.
How is that possible you ask? The question is: Can you do without $5 / $10 / $20 or for some little more per month? Will a donation of $5 a month – maybe more – affect your lifestyle? The $5 a month level means having to forego 2 Cappuccinos / 1-1/2 bottles of Coca Cola ./ 1/3rd bottle of wine or say 10 cigarettes a month. Not very much to forego is it to support ACM’s 3 -1/2 full time people working day and night for us to prevent a Republic of Australia
To make it simple all you need to do is sign the new form handed to you as your came in and make a modest direct debit from you current Credit Card – free of any fees – until you wish to stop it, or hopefully increase it if you find after a trial period that your lifestyle has not been affected. My guess is that you won’t even notice it.
If you don’t have a Credit card then as an excellent alternative perhaps you could instead send ACM $5 worth or more of stamps per month. Remembering that ACM spends $25,000 per year on stamps.
Of course ACM understands you have other charities to which you like to donate, but in case one of them for example is the wonderful Royal Children’s Hospital – imagine having to make your donation to the Australian Republican Children’s Hospital or other Royal charities!
We all pay an Insurance Premium against our house or car being destroyed – ask yourself is $5. a month too much to pay as an Insurance premium against our system of government being destroyed?
Once funds start coming in via this method we can start writing to our dormant, non-financial supporters to advise them of this painless system and thus increase our financial supporter base. To do this will cost around $17,000 but hopefully will be very successful.
Two more quick points.
(1) In your Conference Pack are a couple of suggestions about methods of approaching possible new supporters. I believe we should be more PRO-ACTIVE and carry an ACM brochure at all times. Don’t be shy or backward. You’d be surprised how many have never heard of ACM and are in fact waiting to be approached and want to join. I gave 2 to 2 dental assistants last week and I reckon they’ll sign up. And if you know of any supporters who have dropped off – please tell them about the modest Direct Debit system. We need them all back as financial supporters.
Some you may approach will say “Oh I already belong to too many things and I don’t want to get involved and asked to do things”. For them the simple answer is “You don’t have to do a THING – just become a passive supporter and let your donations enable ACM to be active on your behalf”.
(2) Someone told me last week that we must all die, so please examine our Bequest form in your pack. Today in Australia there is hardly a house worth less than $500,000 so if we left only 1% of our Estate to ACM i.e. $5,000. the other beneficiaries would not really be greatly affected. In any event that bequest is in fact for their benefit by keeping our system of government intact for them. So please think seriously about a bequest. This could produce a capital sum, the income from which would enable ACM to carry on in perpetuity.
And now a change of scene
Soon I propose to buy a new car. My feeling about cars is that They are all pretty good due to improved engineering and. 3 or 5 years unlimited Kilometres warranties are common. So regardless of what you buy it will get you there. The difference then becomes:- Do I change to a $30, 000 category Corolla or to an $80 000 Lexus or similar?
The Corolla one will do the job perfectly well. But my children and grandchildren say “oh, go on Dad/Pa, you only live once, get a decent car!!! When you trade in that 6 year old Laser - get one that can enhance your image and will accelerate to 200 k in 5 seconds and will tell you the time and temperature in Moscow and has a GPS video thing which will allow you to find the Dubbo Zoo without even referring to maps.” Also people will think you have been successful in life.
But then I thought “Do I really need an $80,000 car? - Wouldn’t I prefer to help ACM to defend our own system against a WORSE system, as was the referendum model??
Anyhow my answer to myself was yes and so when I trade my Laser – instead of buying the $80 000 model I’ll buy the Corolla and save $50 000. At the end of this talk I’ll tell you how I plan to spend some of the $50,000 saved on that Corolla. And it is inspired by a combination of my wish to say ‘thank you’ to Kerry and Phuong and David and all the wonderful volunteers, and my wish not to end up with a Democratic republic of Australia (excuse the phrase from a ‘bushie’) an Australia buggered up by republicans who can’t even do us the courtesy of telling us what Republic model they want so that we can debate it.
Maybe later when those RWMs discover they cannot design a better Constitution than ours and give up, then I’ll launch out and celebrate with a ‘Beamer’ or a ‘Merc’ but not yet. I want to win the battle first. Oh – a RWM is “republican without a model”.
Maybe the Corolla story is a bit rich for some, but there are lots of smaller ways to reduce or delay personal expenditure to free up funds for donation. For example instead of buying the new “you beaut” $6,000 plasma crystal TV set thin as donors list, I’ll postpone it. My present TV is quite OK. The same could apply to a new dishwasher or even one less CD per month.
So Kerry to put my money where my big mouth is – here’s a cheque for 50% of the saving based on the Corolla/Lexus philosophy.
It is not a win win situation - It is a win win win situation
· I’ll have a new reliable car
· ACM is a little better funded
· And I’ll still have in the bank 50% of the amount that I didn’t spend
I can see my wife, Ann, looking a little uncomfortable down there as she was planning a trip to Europe soon. But don’t worry Annie – we can now drive overland in the Corolla and give half the air fare to ACM. And instead of a 20kg airline baggage limit we can stick a trailer on the back and you can take all the clothes you need for all four seasons! – A woman’s dream!
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