Senate inquiry in Perth: Mrs Holmes a Court emotional, chokes back tears about referendum loss
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 22 May 2004

Notwithstanding the media's interest in all things republican, the Senate Inquiry's caravan across the nation seemed to have disappeared into the ether until we received this from one of our many supporters.It appeared under this heading:

"TIME TO DISCUSS REPUBLIC AGAIN,SAYS JANET HOLMES A COURT." 


  

In this ,Holly Nott reported from Perth on 18 May for AAP that Mrs Janet Holmes a Court today choked back tears as she told a Senate inquiry of the disappointment surrounding the failed republic referendum in 1999.

Mrs Holmes a Court, one of the nation's richest and most influential businesswomen, told the Senate inquiry into an Australian republic that years had passed since Australians last seriously considered becoming a republic and it was time to revisit the issue.

Mrs Holmes a Court said she had revelled in her experiences as an elected member of the Constitutional Convention held prior to the referendum, and remained passionately in favour of Australia becoming a republic.

But she told the inquiry's Perth hearing that the bitter disappointment of the "divisive, difficult, dishonest and incredibly disappointing" referendum itself had led her to "put the idea of a republic out of mind".

 Mrs Holmes a Court struggled with her emotions as she recalled stories of people bringing their children to Canberra to be a part of an historic transition, and of people being too emotional to return to work after hearing the referendum had failed.

 "It's real lump in your throat stuff," she said. Mrs Holmes a Court stressed she was not "anti-Queen", adding she had met many members of the Royal family when her family owned theatres in London's West End!

The Senate Inquiry is to report in August.

It seems probable it will support Mr Latham's cascading plebiscites proposals. None of this brings republicans any closer to showing us a republican constitution that in any way measures up to our current Australian constitutional arrangements and the important role of the Crown in them.