Monarchists unashamedly move themselves – and their moderate supporters – to the extreme right. Barry Everingham reports.
It is rather astonishing that a committed Australian Republican, like myself, receives a regular and enthusiastic email intake from passionate monarchists eager to keep the Queen as the Australian head of state. And they are always on the same theme — disgruntled missives about the hijacking of the lobby group Australians for Constitutional Monarchy by its long-time chair, David Flint. Yesterday, I received another of those emails.
But this time, my correspondent took a step deeper into the dark abyss than the others who have expressed their disgust at Flint’s behaviour. This time, Flint’s side kick Jai Martinkovits and the rightwing ideologue Cory Bernardi are lumped together and named as Flint’s co-hijackers — helping him drag the ACM to the extreme right.
The email begins:
‘There is concern at the way in which Professor Flint and his side-kick Jai Martinkovits along with Senator Cory Bernardi are hijacking the monarchist cause for their own right-wing political ends and there are questions that should be put and answered. However, it seems that no one can control Flint.’
I have constantly warned the baby faced Martinkovits about getting into bed with Flint – figuratively, of course – and reminding him of the fate which befell his predecessor, Thomas Flynn — whom Flint tossed onto the ACM scrap heap after he had outlived his usefulness.
The latest outrage perpetrated by young Jai and Flint has gotten right up the nostrils of the more moderate ACM members.
Jai sent emails to all ACM “supporters” – there are no members – describing himself as executive director of the Community Action Network and asking the ACM folk to support the CANdo alliance. This is an alliance of the detritus of the loony Right, the real bottom of the barrel crowd that attracts the likes of Flint, Bernardi and others of that ilk.
My correspondent explains what happened:
‘In December/January Martinkovits, describing himself as ‘Executive Director - Community Action Network’ emailed all ACM people to support the new Conservative Action Network (CANdo) alliance of right wing Liberals, DLP, National Civic Council, anti-euthanasia, anti-abortion, anti-climate change, anti-immigration etc.’
The contact address given for both organisations is the same: 104 Bathurst Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000.
The tone of Jai’s email was to elicit financial support for the Alliance — you can read the email here. Was this a breach of privacy? After all, many monarchists are not traditional conservative voters.
From the email:
‘They do not take into consideration that many monarchists are Labor voters and many Liberals are republicans. Using a monarchist mailing list to solicit donations for other purposes is surely a breach of privacy?’
Jai and Flint went a step further.
They set up an online petition. My correspondent, a long time financial “supporter” of ACM, claims the real purpose of this phoney petition was to gather even more email addresses so they can be used as “supporters”, something they had done before:
‘ACM also set up an online petition < http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/diamondjubilee> which has no legal meaning whatsoever. I suspect that the real purpose is to gather email addresses so that they could use it for their own purposes. One instance of when they did this was when there was a Senate Inquiry into a republic and they extracted the names and addresses of all the people who submitted arguments and then put them down as their supporters. This is a blatantly dishonest … use of petitions, but then the Flint group have never cared about doing the right thing.’
But then my correspondent goes a step further. He lays the blame of the dodgy state of ACM squarely at the feet of Flint’s old mate, the former Prime Minister, John Howard.
‘Howard’ he claims, ‘was instrumental in setting up ACM, making sure it would control the committee for the NO case in the referendum’.
His email explains:
‘When he [Howard] came to power in 1996 he recruited his old college friend, David Flint, and in 1999 made him Convener of ACM. He had earlier given him a plum job with the Australian Broadcasting Authority.
‘In 1999, he orchestrated matters so that ACM would control the NO committee. He 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. He approached Liberal funders to contribute to the NO committee, and ACM has continued to use the donor list for itself ever since. They also 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 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.’
I am hoping more disgusted Monarchists will come forward so we can expose the way Flint operates his personal fiefdom. Membership of ACM is kept for a privileged few and ACM is a really a closed shop — with Flint the gamekeeper.
Monarchists like my correspondent would certainly like to see some democracy shine its light into the dingy inner workings of the ACM.
He ended with the following insight:
‘How can he [Martinkovits] be executive director of this organisation [Cando] when he is also executive director of ACM which used to be called 'Leadership Above Politics'? It's the same oxymoron as calling themselves NO republic and at the same time 'crowned republic'.’
It does make you wonder.
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