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ACM Home arrow Flag: Keep The Flag arrow Republican flag frenzy

Republican flag frenzy Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 19 February 2012

The recent report here that the republican movement is showing signs of returning to their previous very open support for flag change has certainly touched a raw nerve.

Image
[ Selected ARM supported flags ]

As soon as our report appeared, the member of the ARM's National Committee whose site was the source of our story, Mr. David Donovan - until recently  National Deputy President and National Media Director , became a non-person in ARM circles.

Image
[ A controversial ARM supported flag, censored]

His name was immediately removed from ARM’s official website as a named member of the National Committee.  In addition, a front page promotion on the ARM site of his piece on the ABC website, the Drum - there until our report appeared - was also deleted.

Image
[ ARM declares support for flag changing exhibition]



...call for Australian Flag to go...



Mr. Donovan’s site is calling for the shredding of our Australian Flag - something about  which the ARM now claims is has no policy. 

Just as the ARM claims it has no policy about the form of politicians' republic it is proposing.

 To understand this, we need to appreciate where the republican lobby is today in comparison with, say, the nineties. 

The republican lobby in Australia is now small in number and consists of a number of different elements.  Most republican celebrities and politicians these days do not seem to  see the need to belong to  the Australian Republican  Movement. 

This is probably the case of leading republican flag changers such as Peter FitzSimons and Ray Martin.  This would also seem to apply  to most republican politicians and  public intellectuals, including the editors of  republican media outlets and prominent republican journalists.  Because becoming a politicians' republic commands little public support, most politicans have put republicanism on the back burner. They hide behind the high standing of the monarch. But this was something they ignored in the nineties when they believed the republican claim that a politicians' republic was inevitable. 

Now most republicans would  agree with The Age’s public statement that if a politicians’ republic is ever achieved, the Australian Flag will go too. 

The Age - and Peter FitzSimons and Ray Martin - go one step further. They  argue that since this republic is still inevitable, Australia might well get rid of the flag now.


 
 
 
...ARM policy since 1999...

 



Since the landslide against the politicians’ republic in 1999, the Australian Republican Movement has experienced a serious decline in its membership and in its income. 

It has decided on a curious policy, which is to have no policy on the form of the republic they want. This is no doubt defensive - a hope that something can be salvaged from the defeat. It was also adopted to counter the declared policy of the ARM prior to the referendum that whatever the result, the organisation would be wound up after the vote. 

But the policy of having no policy is difficult to sustain, as David Koch pointed out on the channel 7 Breakfast Show at the time when they announced their disastrous Mate for a Head of State campaign.  

As we have said here, it is if they were marching down the street saying "We want a republic….but we haven't the foggiest idea what sort of republic we want”

As for the flag, the policy is to say nothing about it. 





...ARM flag policy


 To coincide with the constitutional convention, one of the leading ARM delegates, Mrs Janet Holmes à Court made a significant announcement during one particular session.  This was to invite delegates to an exhibition of flags for the new Australian republic.

This was greeted with strong disapproval by the constitutional monarchists; needless to say they did not go to the ARM supported exhibition. 

Readers to this column will no doubt recall the famous brochure of new flags which were included in an exhibition which went from Sydney to other centres before the referendum.

The exhibition was sponsored by the investment bankers, Turnbull and partners.  The chairman of the Australian Republican Movement at the time, Malcolm Turnbull, was a leading partner in that firm which included the former Premier of New South Wales and prominent republican, Neville Wran and and one of the sons of the former prime minister Mr.Gough Whitlam. 

The brochure clearly indicates that the Australian Republican Movement shared in supporting the exhibition.

The brochure may be seen here.


...hating our heritage...

The decision of the Australian Republican movement to have no position on the flag is similar to its decision to have no position on whatever sort of Republic is to be proposed to replace the existing constitution . 

These decisions have three features.  First they indicate how the Australian Republican Movement detests our heritage and wishes to remove it.  Second they indicate how much the Republicans are not terribly worried about what replaces our heritage, as long as our heritage is shredded. 

Third, these decisions are tactical.  In relation to the not referring to a republican model, the tactic is not to divide the republicans who are attached to different models.  In relation to not referring to make policy on the flag this is because the penny has dropped in republican circles.  The Australian flag has the overwhelming support of the Australian people. 

It is little wonder then that the republicans  became so nervous when  we reported that the movement seem to be now returning to its previous position of openly  supporting flag change.

Readers will no doubt be amused how quickly the republicans changed their website to remove any trace of David Donovan who until then they held out to be a member of the National Council.  Readers will no doubt be equally amused as to how quickly the ARM stopped promoting his article on the ABC website and the link to his site where he promotes a vague politicians’ republic, the policy of the Australian Republican Movement, and the shredding the Australian flag.

  

....racism...

 

Apart from Mr. Donovan's emotional denial of the participation of the Irish Republican Army leader Gerry Adams in the Yes campaign during the referendum, he personalised the republican debate in a way not seen since the referendum. At that time ARM leaders had launched personal attacks on leading constitutional monarchists, as illustrated in Malcolm Turnbull's book, Fighting for the Republic. Mr. Donovan - as ARM National Deputy Chairman and National Media Director - and his senior writer - slammed the ACM National Convenor on his republican site as a "perm-tanned...an Indonesian born blow-in" 


The policy of ACM has long been never to engage in such personal attacks. 

 

 
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