Republican Stunts
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 20 June 2001
The Queen’s Birthday brought out a series of republican stunts. One was the ownership of the Tom Robert’s painting, Federation. So we sent this letter to the Herald Sun, which has not yet been published, was a reaction to Premier Brack’s letter to The Queen requesting its return.
The Editor
The Herald-Sun

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It is now customary for Australia to be entertained by a series of stunts on the Queen’s Birthday. Most of those are courtesy of the Australian Republican Movement, which, incidentally, promised to be no more the day after the referendum, come what may.

This year the stunts included the letter out of the blue to The Queen demanding the “return” of Tom Robert’s Federation painting. The painting of course hangs permanently on public display in Parliament House. Proof positive that the Queen does not regard it as personal but Australian Crown property, and thus held in trust for the people of Australia. In the event that Australia became a republic, the painting would belong to whoever, or whatever, replaced the Australian Crown.

And as the High Court clearly indicated when it removed a Senator, the Australian Crown is an entirely separate institution from the British, or indeed Canadian Crown.

What next – a letter from the Premier to the Queen demanding she return Crown land?

David Flint
National Convenor
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy

Then there has been the bizarre suggestion that the award of a Lambeth Doctor of Letters is an honorary degree. This letter published in The Age gives the true story. A similar letter was published in the Sydney Morning Herald (18 June 2001).

Letter to Editor
The Age

Mr Gerard Henderson says (12/6) that Archbishop Hollingworth was recently awarded an honorary degree. This is not so. Three forms of doctorates are typically awarded for academic reasons. One is the Ph.D, another the doctorate which includes some coursework, first introduced in Australia in law as the SJD at the University of Technology Sydney. The third is the higher doctorate. This award is based on published and other work at the highest level, often over a lifetime and which constitutes an original and significant contribution. Archbishop Hollingworth was awarded a Lambeth Doctor of Letters degree, which is a higher doctorate. Accordingly he is unambiguously entitled to be addressed as “Doctor”, unlike those who affect this title on receiving an honorary degree.

Emeritus Professor David Flint

Mobile: 0419 402 919

Then The Australian returned to the republic. Our letter put the ACM case. It was not published, but some others were.

Letter to the Editor
The Australian

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“Republicans are now starting to think critically about how a republic should be established”, says Malcolm Turnbull (15/6). Starting? What were they doing over the last decade when they imposed their obsession on a reluctant nation, diverting millions of dollars of taxpayers funds from hospitals and schools, and producing two highly flawed models? The second was rejected by a landslide – 72% of electorates rising to 93% in Queensland and Western Australia. According to reports, the leading model now suggested is the US style electoral college. This was designed to produce national leaders above politics and beyond the capture of the political parties. (As our system does at minimal cost.) The Electoral College proved to be the greatest failure of America’s Founding Fathers. On the last occasion it cost over AUS$6billion, it caused acrimonious law suits, while the retiring president or his followers not only removed or vandalised White House property, he actually signed pardons for a range of people, including Marc Rich, all of whom happened to have either contributed to his or his wife’s political campaigns, or not to have given evidence against them over the Whitewater land scandal!

The ruminations of the ARM - which promised to be no more on 7 November 1999 come what may – must be newsworthy or they would not be so well reported. But at least there is one virtue now – the taxpayers are not paying for them. Let’s keep it that way.

Professor David Flint
185 Macquarie Street
Sydney
NSW 2000

Ph. 0419 402919

Although there is absolutely no interest in the general population, clearly the republicans will not let the issue go. The Australian people have never approved a proposal to change their Constitution in a second, or third, or fourth, or even fifth try. That doesn’t mean that we who love our Constitution and our flag should sit back and relax.