In typical Australian style, the organisers stood strong on the issue of the anthem and played only Advance Australia Fair" while also following through on their plan to play some bars of God Save the Queen while singing the Queen ‘Happy Birthday’. It was a clever and uniquely Australian celebration about which all Australians can be proud.
The Victorian RSL’s decision to no longer play the ‘royal anthem’ at this year’s Anzac Day Dawn Service was long overdue and the RSL is to be congratulated. On 15 April 2010, the monarchist leader Professor David Flint made the following comment on the issue on the ABC website The Drum Unleashed . It was very misleading for David Flint to claim that the National Anthem was changed in 1984 "without any vote by the people". The vote had been in 1977, when the Fraser government asked the people to vote on which song should be played on "other than Regal or Vice-Regal occasions". The results were:
Advance Australia Fair 43.3%
Waltzing Matilda 28.3%
God Save the Queen 18.8%
Song of Australia 9.6%
Flint is fond of telling Australians that we had our chance to vote for a Republic in 1999, but we lost (in a highly manipulated referendum) and we should get over it. The vote in 1977 was far more emphatic than the vote against the "politicians' republic" in 1999. Flint should take his own advice. Barry Everingham's reply to Flint was also published on the Drum.
One of the reasons Australians want a republic is because we feel embarrassed to hear that in official functions our foreign diplomats stand to their feet and toast the Queen as our legitimate leader. Also we feel disappointed for our kids when we have to tell them they can't aspire to be the Australian head of state. We cringe when we hear the Barmy Army mockingly sing 'God Save Your Queen' at the Ashes. In essence, we are patriots. We want Australia to be completely sovereign and independent. That's why Australia Day is a special day for republicans. It's a day we like to celebrate and honour with fervour and passion.
On Australia Day 2009, dozens of Postcode Parties were held around Australia in parks and at beaches where a glass was raised to the coming republic. It is this involvement of the Australian community at a grassroots level that bodes well for future change. All around Australia small groups of republicans met and raised a glass to a future republic.
Australia Day is one of those days when Aussies honour the great and good. Some members attended Australia Day award ceremonies on Australia Day. Nick Pippos, Queensland Australian Republican Movement (ARM) State Council member (left in picture below) was there at the 2009 Australia Day Awards Ceremony on the Brisbane Southside, and says that he questioned many of the attendees about their position and most replied they were republicans, including Queensland Government
Minister Phil Reeves, Leader of The House Judy Spence, MP Graham Perret, Police Officers and many others.
Maureen and Graham Curtis held a gathering of 16 people at their place in Auchenflower. Maureen says they “were honoured to have the ARM Chairman Michael Keating and Mrs Keating attend. Also attending were Monica and Terry Heinemann, Annie Kimpton and Steve Fowler, Rick and Helen Jones, Tom Curtis, Anthony Curtis, Katherine Hanline, Gavin and Myra Keating”. “The group included some new members and it was great for them to be able to speak first hand to Michael Keating about the plans of the movement.
The ARM Gold Coast forum held their celebration at the iconic Pink Poodle. About 18 members attended, beers flowed and a pleasant meal enjoyed. Enjoyed, that is, until they decided to launch perhaps the most fiendishly difficult trivia contest ever seen on the Gold Coast with the theme being the developing history of Australian sovereignty. You had to know your Statute of Westminster, Australia Act, first Australian born Governor General, last foreign born Governor General to expect points.
Perhaps the final word on Advance Australia Fair can be left to comedian Adam Hills. I think he says it all …