Defending the Flag...Tonight
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 19 April 2010
As we approached Australia Day this year, the well known TV presenter Ray Martin shocked the nation with a call to shred our National Flag.

That campaign is  continuing.   Ray Martin is to  be the Master of Ceremonies of a public meeting on Monday night which is to be featured on Channel 9’s leading current affairs programme, 60 Minutes.

This seems likely to be broadcast next Sunday, 25 April 2010, ANZAC Day.

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Although ACM played a leading role in this debate since it began, we had reservations about our participation in such a debate which would feature on ANZAC Day.

On balance we decided we should be involved. (Mr. Martin's agenda, incidentally, extends to change to some unidentified sort of politicians’ republic.)

The discussion will take place in the Leichhardt Town Hall in Sydney on Monday 19th April from 7:30pm until 9:30pm. The Town Hall  is at 107 Norton Street, Leichhardt on the corner of  Marion Street. This is deep in in the heart of Sydney's  Italian restaurant quarter.




…the debate…  





 The subject for the discussion is provocative: “Is it an iconic Australian contemporary image or a colonial relic which should be replaced with something that better reflects Australian society in 2010?”

The speakers will include Peter Fitzsimons, Ralph Kelly, John Vaughan, Bert Lane, Ron Barassi, Pauline Hanson, John Brown, Warren Mundine, Normie Rowe, Harold Scruby  and from ACM, myself  and Young ACM spokesman, Jai Martinkovits




...the campaign begins…
 




As we reported here on 25 January, the TV presenter Ray Martin announced then that he objected “to having the British flag in the corner of our flag.  The flag, like the link to Britain through the constitution, will disappear. “

But as we reminded  Mr. Martin,  all constitutional links to Britain had ended in 1986.  Those  links only lasted until then not because the British wanted them but because state governments from all sides trusted the British more than they did Federal politicians.

According to Alan Howe in The Herald Sun, (“Time to change 'colonial' Australian flag - Ray Martin” 25 January) Mr. Martin’s campaign came just as Labour Party sources confirmed the Rudd Government, if re-elected later this year, will hold a referendum on a republic.

 The republic debate, he says, was rekindled last week with the rapturous response to Prince William's visit to Australia.




 

... also in danger ...






 

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In an interview with Channel 7 on 25 January, ACM pointed out that if the flag had to go because of its connection with Britain, the place of the rule of law, the common law, and the jury system in our nation  could also be challenged.  So could the Westminster system and even the use of English?






...not inevitable...




Three days later we challenged Mr. Martin’s  view that shredding both  the flag and our constitution are inevitable.

Then  in the Australian section of The Spectator (30/1), a prominent Australian editor Ian Moore wrote that  Ray Martin  should grow up. He extended this to Malcolm Turnbull, who on losing the Liberal leadership curiously redeclared his republicanism in London and Sydney. Was this to annoy the new leader, Tony Abbott?

Accusing both Mr. Martin and Mr. Turnbull of being snobs,  Mr. Moore said they have a complete inability to understand the Australian people.

Mr. Moore’s “memo to the television celebrity and failed Liberal leader” was to the point.

 “We’re not a colonial relic,” he insisted.



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....a referendum?...





Then  as Prince William was about to visit Australia , the Financial Review announced  the Federal attorney General Robert McClelland was considering calling four referendums, including one on soem sort of republic. This was almost immediately downplayed by the Deputy Prime Minister.




  

..Mr. FitzSimons writes...




    On 7 March, I “received” a memorandum  from the prominent journalist and author, Mr. Peter FitzSimons. As it was in the Sydney based Sunday newspaper, The Sun Herald, 7 March 2010, so did well over a million people according to the excellent Roy Morgan readership survey . Mr. FitzSimons had conceived the notorious  Mate for a Head of State campaign, which was noticed in at least the Uk, Canada and New Zealand. ACM ran a vigouous response. Although the campaign failed,  it demonstrated yet  again how the Australian  head of state issue was, is and will always be central to the republican case.Image



 

...the memorandum....


 

 

Memo Professor David Flint,

 

I’ve gone deep undercover on this one but I think I’ve pulled it off.

 

On Tuesday I had a meeting with Ray Martin (see this column  “Ray Martin and Malcolm Turnbull: Grow Up!” 2 February 2010) in a Neutral Bay cafe on the subject of what he sees as the urgent need to change the Australian flag and I think I have made him believe I am on his side!

 

This is amazing when truly, as you know, I can think of no greater pleasure in life than wrapping myself in the Australian flag, with the massive Union Jack uppermost, while I grovel before English royalty as they tickle my tummy....and sorry, I digress.

Anyway, things are moving. Can’t say too much right now but you can count on me to report back.

 

Yours in grovelling to all things English, 

 

           Peter FitzSimons.






... welcome...






We shall no doubt join issue on Monday evening. All are  welcome.