Crowned republic: republican concern
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.  

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...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.”

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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.