Hug a Monarchist (HaM) competition

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Outside of waking up in a cold sweat, hugging David Flint has probably never occurred to most republicans. Nevertheless, doing so before the Queen's Birthday Public Holiday next year will probably be enough to win a determined Australian Republican a great prize!

THE Australian Republican Movement (ARM) is running a Hug a Monarchist (HaM) competition up until the June 2011 Queen's birthday holiday. The winners will be announced by the ARM on that Queen's birthday.

The ARM will be looking for sponsors for additional prizes but – at the minimum – will be offering two gold class cinema tickets plus $50 spending money to the person who hugs the highest profile monarchist and captures this event on film with the ARM logo also somewhere in the frame.

ARM media spokesman David Donovan said that the underlying message of HaM is to emphasise the things monarchists and republican have in common – a love for Australia – because an Australian Republic will be for all Australians, monarchists as well as republicans.

He said monarchists have been particularly confrontational and aggressive this year.

"It is true that this year has seen monarchists say lot's of other silly and often offensive things, such as that we were in league with IRA, are racists, and even that we are trying to create a Marxist nirvana, which I'm sure would be news to our former chair Malcolm Turnbull," said Mr Donovan.

"We could froth and rage at the unfairness and dishonesty of this behaviour, but that all becomes a bit negative for our supporters, and really that's not what we're about," he said.

"Let's face it, monarchists are only cranky because they're scared and worried about the future."

"So, we plan on giving them a hug and telling them it'll be alright, because when someone is scared, that's the only decent thing to do."

Mr Donovan says that the ARM will be posting a list of high profile monarchists in the near future.

"We will determine the list of high profile monarchist in discussion with members and supporters and release a hit – or rather – a  'hug list' soon," said Mr Donovan.

"Off the top of my head, I imagine people like Tony Abbott, David Flint, David Smith, Cory Bernardi, Bronwyn Bishop, Nick Minchin, John Howard and Michael Kirby could all do with a nice warm hug, but I'm sure there are others I have missed," he said.

However, Mr Donovan warned republicans to exercise caution and not to be too overzealous in their approaches to monarchists.

"Republicans, please – and this is most important – be aware that hugging people who don't want to be hugged is assault, so please don't be over-zealous," said Mr Donovan.

"The ARM does not endorse assault or threatening behaviour and will not accept any responsibility for this sort of conduct," he said.

"If someone doesn't want a hug, shake their hand or give them a high five or a thumbs up. Of course, this won't win you a prize, but it shows goodwill, which is very important."

"We are all Australians and we all love this great country and want what's best for it — though we may disagree on some things, we all deserve respect and courtesy."

He said more details of this competition will be posted by the ARM in the near future.  
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