“Despite the monarchists' devilish efforts at deception and self-promotion, the Republican cause is strengthening and gaining momentum,” writes Andrew Douglas.
We are well into the 21st Century; the technological revolution is a fast-paced evolution, the modern era is here and now. New democracies are born and people’s revolutions are in full swing globally. Yet here, in our big patch of planet in the southern hemisphere, we are slow to catch up. Painfully slow.
We are a supposedly ‘independent’, modern, progressive nation that is bound by a Constitution without a preamble; we have no defining statement of who we are, nor any emotive and powerful introduction in the primary document of our nationhood. This document is also without a statement of universal rights — or anything that would enshrine our right to freedoms of speech, equality, liberty, religious belief or the press. This patchwork quilt of a document also installs an unelected foreign monarch as our Head of State, who is represented here by an equally unelected vice-regal official.
Now, if this was not bad enough, the very people this patchwork document is designed to represent are afforded little, if any, power. We should be grateful however, for the unequal balance of voting in every three years of Federal elections. And, naturally, we should consider ourselves lucky to be considered worthy enough for an unequal balance of voting in a rare Constitutional referendum, which, throughout the history of the Constitution, were usually to amend some minor administrative matter — save of course for the one ending certain discrimination against the Aboriginal people. Rarer still are we even be considered for consultation on Legislative matters. We are seemingly expected to just go along with whatever those people in that big house on the hill see fit to impose upon us.
To an outsider looking in, or even to an Australian citizen who was unaware that we are talking about their own country, one could be forgiven for thinking I’m talking about a country in the Middle East, or North Africa, where people struggle for democracy. But, as unbelievable as it may seem, sadly, I am talking about this country.
Of course, our nation is not governed by despots, nor do we get shot for protesting for our rights — but that does not mean that our democracy is anywhere close to perfect. To achieve that sort of utopia would, of course, be nigh on impossible — but we can do much better than what we have now, and opportunities to improve our system are fast approaching as the debate intensifies.
I’m talking about the Republican debate. It is an issue that will not lay down quietly, much to the chagrin of certain sections of our society; in fact, if anything the Republican agenda is gaining momentum.
This, dear reader, is our golden opportunity; our once in a hundred years plus chance to reform our Constitution in more ways that merely having an Australian Head of State.
But, incredibly, not all Australians share this vision. Preferring instead to keep to the ‘status quo’ and vigorously fighting against any changes whatsoever.
Professor David Flint (an apt name, referring as it does to a pre-historic tool) and his group Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy vigorously campaign against a Republic and, it seems, against any change to the Constitution at all. Even more alarming, they call for a return of the old Imperial honours and awards and display sneering contempt and condescension towards any Australian institutions established since the 1960’s and 70’s.
I’m sure if this prehistoric tool and his cronies had their way we would see a complete reversal of Australian independence. See them campaigning for doing away anything with national pride; and in with conformity to the old country from an era long since dead. Out with ‘Advance Australia Fair’ as our National Anthem and back in with ‘God Save the Queen’. Ditch Australia Day honours and restore elitist Imperial awards. It’s a wonder they are not calling for a return of imperial measurement and currency (oops … let’s not give them any ideas!).
Astoundingly, they are petitioning for the commissioning of a Queen’s silver jubilee medal — no doubt salivating at the thought of wearing it on their evening dinner jackets.
If the agendas of pro-monarchy groups aren’t astonishing enough — their methods are even more perplexing still.
For instance, the group just mentioned has a page on an online social media network, upon which it gleefully announced recently:
“In news which will upset the Attorney General, our ACM Facebook now has over 27,000 fans or "likes" and many are young. We have more fans than either the Labor Party or the Liberal Party. We even have more than those powerful internet campaigners, GetUp!
And certainly more than the republicans.”
I found this claim to be quite astonishing, and wondered why they would even make reference to the Attorney General. I discovered, with a little more reading, that the monarchists had their nose out of joint by comments once made by the new Federal Attorney General Nicola Rixon to the effect of “no new monarchists are being born”.
I guess, sometimes, the truth hurts.
However, it still didn’t detract from their astounding growth in ‘popularity’. I recalled about a year ago the Monarchist page had about 750 followers, far fewer than the Australian Republican Movement page, which then had about 2,500 (and now close to 4,000).
Intrigued by this rapid growth of ‘popularity’, I carried out some enquiries and found with discussions with others that an IT professional’s study on this had found that “their growth over the last six months has been quite unnaturally linear”.
It’s now widely believed – in fact, accepted – that this Monarchist group has been purchasing ‘likes’ or ‘fans’ to boost their numbers, thus claiming unprecedented popularity. What a nasty piece of deception, schoolyard in nature.
(Read Lewis Holden’s investigation into the ACM buying likes here and here.)
Indeed, ACM’s campaign of misinformation, fear and outright fawning to the monarchy beggars belief, yet they are a very serious threat to our long awaited independence, which has only ever been granted to us gradually, bit by painful bit, through our legislators. They stand in the way of a great opportunity to assert our complete self-determination, which includes preserving and enhancing our democracy.
However, undeterred and despite the Monarchists' devilish efforts of deception and self-promotion, the Republican cause is strengthening and gaining momentum — as it always will.
May I suggest to our Monarchist countrypersons that they adopt a theme song for their misguided cause. The song that immediately comes to mind is the Beatles ‘Can’t buy me love’.