Professor David Flint vigorously exercises Independent Australia's offer of a right of reply to senior correspondent Barry Everingham's recent piece 'CANTdo freedom of speech'.
Dear Mr. Donovan,
Further to your email of 10 March, I am setting out below our response. There is absolutely no truth in the claim made in your publication that material not related to ACM was sent out to ACM supporters.
All of the principal assertions in the email are untrue, which can be demonstrated on the public record or by inquiry to the relevant persons.
It is also untrue to assert that ACM will not offer a right of reply when we make assertions defamatory of a particular person.
David Flint replies to 'CANTdo freedom of speech'
You admit that the only evidence to support your allegations against David Flint and Jai Martinkovits (“CANTdo freedom of speech”) is an alleged email from an unnamed person whom you say is a supporter of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM) .
But in both versions of Barry Everingham’s piece, the link to the email does not work. Is this deliberate? Does the email exist?
Whatever its status, the publication of this defames both David Flint and Jai Martinkovits.
The following are some of the statements in the piece which are demonstrably wrong. In fact every l statement listed below is wrong and demonstrably so, often from public documents and reports readily available.
And as with Mr. Everingham’s frequent racist attacks on ACM’s National Convenor, we shall ignore his personal insults.
1. ACM details have been shared with this other group.
This is a fanciful statement not based on any investigation. CANdo e-mails were only sent to those people who had indicated they wished to receive them. No ACM lists were used at all for this purpose.
2.Our correspondent insists that he has never joined CANdo, nor expressed any interest in receiving any correspondence from them. Yet he received an email (which can be seen here) from Jai, that he claims was sent to ACM supporters asking for funds to support CANdo’s activities.
The email cannot be seen by clicking on ‘here’ in this or in Mr. Everingham’s first withdrawn piece.
Jai Martinkovits’ email went to a list of people each of whom had specifically indicated they wanted to be informed about CANdo. It only went to that list. It was not sent to any ACM list.
3.In 1991, John Howard was instrumental in setting up Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.
John Howard was not involved in setting up ACM.
The most elementary investigation would demonstrate this. The persons most involved were substantial and independent and from across the political spectrum. They were Senator Neville Bonner AO, former Chief Justice Sir Harry Gibbs PC GCMG KBE, Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG , Dame Leonie Kramer DBE, former Labor Sydney Lord Mayor Doug Sutherland AM, Margaret Valadian AO and Lloyd Waddy QC , as well as Peter King. With the exception of Peter King, all subscribed to the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy registered in 1993.
4.When he came to power in 1996 he recruited his old college friend, David Flint..
John Howard did not recruit David Flint to join ACM. He was already involved. Immediately on the formation of the Australian Republican Movement, David Flint contacted Peter King to discuss the formation of ACM which took place in 1992. He did not discuss ACM with John Howard in these years – in fact he had little contact with John Howard. They were not college friends, but acquaintances.
5. and in 1999 (John Howard ) made him Convener of ACM.
The decision to appoint David Flint was made by the board of ACM, chaired by Lloyd Waddy and also consisting of Senator Neville Bonner, Dame Leonie Kramer, and Doug Sutherland. (Justice Michael Kirby stood down on being appointed to the High Court). John Howard was not and never has been a member of the Board and had no role whatsoever in appointing David Flint.
6.He ( John Howard) had earlier given him a plum job with the Australian Broadcasting Authority.
David Flint was appointed to head the ABA because he had been a successful and long-term chairman of the Australian Press Council. He was not appointed because of any connection with John Howard or the Liberal Party. At the time of his appointment the only party to which he had belonged was the ALP, where he had been a branch president.
7.Howard “…orchestrated matters so that ACM would control the NO committee.”
This is untrue and is a fanciful suggestion. The facts are that on a proposal of Senator Minchin as the responsible Minister, it was decided that the fairest solution would be that Yes and No Committees should be constituted from delegates to the Constitutional Convention allocated according to the number of delegates belong to each group at the Conventionhad which reflected the votes cast in the election.
Consequently two places were reserved on the No Committee for independent republicans who opposed the ARM model and eight places for delegates who were constitutional monarchists. As ACM was by far the largest monarchist group, all 8 seats went to ACM under the formula.
There were five not two constitutional monarchist groups at the convention. In order of size they were ACM, Safeguard The People, Australian Monarchist League, Queenslanders for Constitutional Monarchy and the Christian Democrats.)
8. Howard excluded from the NO Committee anyone associated with the other main monarchist group, the Australian Monarchist League.
This is not true. The application of the representational formula described above determined the membership of the Yes and No Committees.
In any event the Chairman of the Australian Monarchist League, who did not stand for the Convention, has subsequently stated that the AML would not take part on the No committee because of the presence of republicans on the Committee.
The application of the formula also led to no members being appointed from the next largest group, Safeguard The People, nor from the Australian Monarchist League, Queenslanders for Constitutional Monarchy or the Christian Democrats.
9. Howard …did not appoint any leading monarchists who were with the Monarchist League (such as Brigadier Alf Garland, Dr. David Mitchell and Ken Gifford QC) to the committee. He kept things in-house.”
The membership of the Yes and No Committees was determined according to the formula described in the answer to point 7 above. This meant that none of the leading monarchists in any of the other groups, Safeguard The People, Australian Monarchist League, Queenslanders for Constitutional Monarchy and Christian Democrats were appointed.
And in any event, the Chairman of the AML says they would not have served.
10 Howard …approached Liberal funders to contribute to the NO committee, and the ACM has continued to use the donor list for itself ever since.’
John Howard did nothing of the sort. A check of the financial records would demonstrate this. There was in fact no provision for any independent funding for the No committee. All the funds of the No committee, as with the Yes committee came from the Commonwealth. Private funding was not allowed nor sought by either committee.
11...and the ACM has continued to use the donor list for itself ever since.’
There was no such list for the reasons stated above. ACM’s own donor list was developed by ACM by its own efforts.
12 ACM…appropriated all of the names of volunteers for polling booth manning provided by the RSL, the National Party, the Christian Democrats, One Nation etc., and claimed them as their own supporters.
This is completely untrue. All persons had specifically indicated their support. ACM established an intricate network, with every supporter in every electorate reporting to an ACM representative.
13 This, he claims,“…is why ACM has more funds than any other organisation involved in the debate and why they have been claiming more members than anyone else and how Flint is able to exercise absolute control.”
The contradiction in this proposition and the previous one is self-evident. If a list of supporters consists of people do not support ACM, how is it that David Flint is able to exercise absolute control over them?
ACM is a company limited by guarantee, with its accounts being audited every year and which are publicly accessible.
14. These troubling allegations come from a bona fide ACM supporter we believe is acting in good faith.
It is doubtful that these allegations are from a genuine ACM supporter. There is no reason why he should not reveal his name.
15. In the public interest, these allegations deserve a categorical response from the ACM. Flint has been offered a chance to respond to these allegations for this piece. So far he has declined to do so. Independent Australia still offers Flint the right of reply to this piece. We are merely interested in the truth, unvarnished and unsuppressed.
The true facts are set out in this reply which is forwarded to you on the condition that it be published in full and the text not be edited. We expect that the defamatory material not be republished.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License