Saturday, December 25, 2010

The tradition of republican journalism

On Christmas Day, 1890, the republican editor F.C.B. Vosper penned a letter from the Charters Towers goldfields office of the Australian Republican to his father in England describing his efforts over the past year to bring about an Australian republic. 120 years later the Independent Australia eJournal continues the tradition of republican journalism.

The republican flowering in the 1880s was aided by the founding of republican newspapers and journals all over the country. By the 1880s, Australians had become a more mobile people. In addition a majority were native-born and most were literate. These two factors helped in providing an audience for the many nationalist writers who were active in the last three decades of the century. By the 1880s and 1890s, radical journals such as the Bulletin, Louisa Lawson’s The Dawn and the short-lived Republican in Sydney, the Clipper in Hobart, the Tocsin in Melbourne, the Worker and Boomerang in Brisbane and the Charters Towers Australian Republican reflected the radical, intellectual and political energies emerging in Australian life. During the depression years of the 1890s, John Norton’s Truth also kept up its republican flag. For these journals, Australian nationalism was closely interwoven with republicanism. These editors possessed a brash self-confident nationalism, were fiercely patriotic about Australia and just as fiercely opposed to any Australian government that included the Crown. It was a reaction against imperialist attitudes combined with the radical hope of being able to create a new society in Australia. It is within the columns of journals such as these that the oppositional politics of anti-monarchical republicanism can be seen.

The radical bookshop was the heartland of nineteenth-century radicalism. In the back rooms of radical bookstores and newspaper printeries sprinkled throughout the colonies, republicanism was a topic of heated discussion. The main source for radical readings was newspapers. The purpose of these newspapers was to provide a commentary on public issues. Indeed, radical literature provided an oppositional culture. In 1880, there appeared in Sydney an eight-page, shabby little weekly paper called the Bulletin. The journalists John Haynes and J.F. Archibald published the first edition with a print run of 3,000. The edition quickly sold on the streets of Sydney and within 18 months the circulation had reached 15,000. However, a libel case put them both in jail. It was William Henry Traill then who rescued the paper and who developed the Bulletin’s anti-British, nationalist and republican themes. Traill was then editor of the Bulletin from 1881 to 1887. Haynes soon left and Archibald went overseas where he helped to recruit the American cartoonist Livingstone ‘Hop’ Hopkins and the British cartoonist Phil May. The satirical republican commentary by the Bulletin on Australian life was highly popular. It was Archibald who excelled as a destructive critic for the Bulletin. His republican voice was to guide editorial policy from 1887 until 1901. Indeed, ridicule of the reverence for all things British was a favourite topic for Archibald. He had a ready audience in the Australian native-born colonists, who had a vague sense of resentment towards British attitudes.

The columns of the Bulletin gave a great deal of attention to republicanism and the Imperial connection, expressing hostility towards the monarchy and aristocracy. This was reflected in the Bulletin’s attitude towards Imperial titles that it considered “inconsistent with the spirit of our democratic institutions.”(Bulletin, 26 January 1883) The Bulletin also reported republican activity in Britain. Its position was that both monarchy and aristocracy were “absurd in principle and pernicious in practice.”(Bulletin, 21 November 1885) For the republican Bulletin the ability to govern was not hereditary. However, it was not until 1884 that the Bulletin espoused a consistent anti-British, republican attitude.(See Bulletin, 22 November 1884) This became evident within the Bulletin’s commentary on the Soudan campaign when Imperialist sentiment at home and abroad was considered the enemy of republicanism.(See Bulletin, 21 February and 28 March 1885) The base of the paper’s attitude to foreign affairs lay within the contradiction between Empire and national defence. Its position was that without the British connection Australia would have no foreign enemies. Although the Bulletin’s republicanism had been founded initially on colonial defence, by 1887 it had shifted to focus on issues of constitutional and social reform. In 1887, the Bulletin argued that to be Australian was synonymous with being a republican:

By the term Australian we mean not those who have been merely born in Australia. All white men who come to these shores - with a clean record - and who can leave behind them the memory of the class-distinction and the religious differences of the old world; all men who place the happiness, the prosperity, the advancement of their adopted country before the interests of Imperialism, are Australian. In this regard all men who leave the tyrant-ridden lands of Europe for freedom of speech and right of personal liberty are Australians before they set foot on the ship which brings them hither. Those ... who leave their fatherland because they cannot swallow the worm-eaten lie of the divine right of kings to murder peasants, are Australian by instinct - Australian and Republican are synonymous. (Bulletin, 2 July 1887)

This was one of the strongest assertions of both Australian nationalism and republicanism the Bulletin ever printed. Linked to the Bulletin’s nationalism was the xenophobia of White Australia. (See Bulletin, 23 April and 30 June 1887) But the Bulletin’s major target was nativism, in particular the Australian Natives’ Association. It considered,

An Australian Association which would sink the ‘Native’ phase of the present organisation, and which would deny membership to those who would not solemnly promise to help in stamping out all sectarian-cum-politico movements – Orangeism or Hibernianism – while advocating the Australian Republican sentiment, would be an extraordinary power in the land. All Australians could then take part in the shaping of a National development, and the accident of birth would not count to a man’s disadvantage. (Bulletin, 7 April 1888)

The Bulletin equated republicanism with nationalist sentiment, reasoning that a true Australian nationalist could not be loyal to the British monarch.

In the 1880s and 1890s, the consistent opponents of Britain were men like George Black and E.W. O’Sullivan, both journalists and politicians, who rejected the British monarchy and aristocracy on principle. Reacting against the views of those who supported the Imperial Federation League, they were strongly in favour of immediate separation and a republican form of government, so that Australia could create a new and better society, for which there was already considerable potential. The Bulletin and other less permanent radical papers, such as the Sydney Republican and the Charters Towers Australian Republican, provided space for such views. As a result, republican newspapers and journals were used as mouthpieces for individual politicians. Arthur Rae was elected to the New South Wales parliament in 1891 and founded the radical republican Hummer in Wagga; the Cairns Advocate was founded by Irish-born Thomas Givens; Ted Findley, publisher of Tocsin, was expelled from the Victorian parliament for seditious libel when he published an article reporting the extra-marital adventures of the Prince of Wales; the Hobart Clipper provided a medium for republican sentiments; and in John Norton’s Truth, although he never directly espoused a republic, his quasi-republican views led him to describe Queen Victoria as “flabby, fat and flatulent”, and her son, the future Edward VII, as a “turf swindling, card sharping, wife debauching rascal”. As a result he was charged with sedition. The jury failed to agree and Norton became a republican hero overnight.

The world of republican journalists and writers was not so much the bush as the sleazy urban frontier of inner-city boarding houses. These young journalists and self-educated intellectuals of the 1880s were described by George Black as “a debating-society, hard-reading crowd.” (Black, 1926: p.22.) In Sydney, in the mid-1880s, there was a lively counter-culture of socialists, republicans, freethinkers and land nationalisers. Prior to 1887, active Australian republicanism was concentrated in a variety of persons, journals and small groups of a radical character which gave expression to republican views. The groups included the Australian Republican Union, Australian Socialist League, Anti-Chinese League, Bellamy Clubs, Henry George and Single Tax Leagues, and the Land Nationalisation Leagues. (Republican, 15 October 1887, p.4, 8 February 1888, p.5, and 4 April 1888, p.4.) There were lectures delivered on almost every radical cause of the late nineteenth-century at Sydney School of Arts Debating Club, in Sydney’s public halls and in the theatres on Sundays when there were no stage shows. These discussions were fuelled by comment in the Bulletin.

Queensland has a long tradition of republican journalism from the Australian Republican on the Charters Towers goldfields in the early 1890s under the editorship of F.C.B. Vosper, though to the long-running Armlet (1994-2005), quarterly newsletter of the Queensland branch of the Australian Republican Movement under the editorship of Rod Kendall. In 2007 Armlet was resurrected by David Donovan who went on to edit the national Republican Roundup. In 2010 Armlet became an eNewsletter. Today the Independent Australia eJournal is the only national publication that continues the republican heritage laid down by the republican journalists of the late nineteenth century.

The Bulletin
The Republican
G. Black, A History of the N.S.W. Political Labour Party (Sydney, 1926), p.22.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Second National Republican Short Story Competition winners announced

Helen Bersten and Sean Oliver Ness were each awarded today a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Second National Republican Short Story Competition for their short stories Double Lives and Inauguration Day.

The 2010 theme was ‘Life and Death in an Australian Republic’. Australia’s speculative fiction writers were challenged to speculate on the possible futures of the Australian republic.

The Judging Panel comprising Professor Brian Matthews, Professor John Warhurst and Professor George Williams decided not to award a 2010 First Prize. Instead they have awarded two ‘Highly Commended’ prizes and recommended the prize be jackpotted for 2011. This is not an unusual outcome for literary competitions. Winners will receive $50 each.

Winner of a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Second National Republican Short Story Competition is Helen Bersten. Mrs Bersten is a librarian, who has been working for the last 32 years as Honorary Archivist for the Australian Jewish Historical Society in Sydney. In 2005 she received an OAM for her voluntary service to the historical society. She has also been a voluntary reader on Radio 2RPH (Radio for the Print Handicapped) for the last 6 and a half years. She is an avid writer of letters to newspapers and an amateur poet, who proof-reads others' works and dreams of writing her own magnum opus. She is a wife, mother of 3 and grandmother of 5.

In Double Lives, Mrs Bersten tells dual stories: one set during a Presidential meet’n greet where his new team of advisers, Team PC (People’s Choice), are getting to know each other. At the same time a fictional crime story is being told about the night the Dunbar sank at South Head in Sydney Harbour.

The Judges commented that Double Lives is both imaginative and innovative. The attempt at a dual narrative – one commenting on the other, the past intruding into the present – is ambitious and difficult. They felt the complicated structure, though at times flawed, makes a genuinely ambitious and credible effort to produce a fiction. It is a story that has the required republican provenance but which tries to do other things and go to other places, both physically and psychologically.

Winner of a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Second National Republican Short Story Competition is Sean Oliver Ness. Mr Ness was born in North Queensland but his family moved to Hong Kong when he was young. He lived there until he was 12 returning to Brisbane and later study in Psychology and Information Technology at university. He works in the public service in Canberra. His interests include travelling, participating in Volunteer Emergency Services, following politics and, of course, reading and writing a lot.

In Inauguration Day, Mr Ness tells the story of James Hapeta, an Australian Federal Police Lieutenant assigned to Presidential protection detail with the Inauguration Day Presidential parade. As the Presidential motorcade travels through the streets of Canberra, Hapeta and his security colleagues attention to security is at fever pitch due to a discovered credible threat.

Ness’ sense of humour is evident in his reference to ‘Billies’. As the Presidential motorcade passes through Ainslie "an elderly couple: grey hair, plain clothes, a stiffness that stood out from the happy families [are holding] a poster-size portrait of the Queen [and] a sign that said "THE SECOND RUM REBELLION IS HERE – GOD SAVE US ALL!" Ness explains that in the early days, monarchists took the Rum Rebellion analogy and ran with it; in response, they were uniformly nicknamed Billy Blighs, or just Billies.

The Judges noted as nicely managed the following paragraph in Inauguration Day where Hapeta observes the scene around him:

The big houses faded as they turned a sharp corner onto Antill. On the left, they passed schools and public swimming pools and clusters of shops; on the right, rows of small homes and low-rise apartment blocks. State Policemen were on either side of the street, controlling the crowds. As the motorcade swept down the street, the low murmurs turned into a loud cheer that echoed off the apartment blocks. Streamers were tossed into the air, and confetti rained down like pink snowflakes.

When Hapeta breaks protocol and leaves his post to assist a ‘Statie’ the theme of ‘Life and Death in the Australian Republic’ emerges. The final scene is captured by a bystander with the photo becoming the defining memory of the day.

The two ‘Highly Commended’ entries were published on the Australian Republican Movement website on 6 November 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Hug a Monarchist (HaM) competition

A Hug a Monarchist (HaM) competition will run from now until the Friday of the week before the June 2011 Queen's birthday holiday. The winners will be announced on that Queen's birthday.
We will be looking at sponsors for prizes, but at the minimum, the ARM 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 photographically with the ARM logo being also included somewhere in the frame.
We will determine the list of high profile monarchist. More details will follow.
Please note, and this is the MOST important point, we want people to be aware that hugging people who don't want to be hugged is assault, so please don't be over-zealous. The ARM does not endorse assault or threatening behaviour and will NOT accept any responsibility for this sort of behaviour.
The underlying message of HaM is one of fun and togetherness as Australians, because the Australian Republic is for ALL Australians, monarchists as well. Let's face it, monarchists are cranky only because they are scared and worried. Give them a hug and tell them it will be alright. It's the only decent thing to do! If they don't want a hug, a handshake or a high-five or a good friendly double thumbs up is better than nothing (though it won't get you any prizes in this competition).
Happy hugging.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Commonwealth of Nations, Games, and the republic

 The recent Commonwealth Games has been a great spectacle and many of us have enjoyed watching Australia win so many events and dominate the medal tally, as we seem to do at every Commonwealth Games these days.

It reminds us that during the lead up to the 1999 referendum on the Australian Republic, monarchists established a particular myth firmly in many Australians minds. It’s the one that pretends that as a republic we won’t be able to continue to participate in the Commonwealth Games.
David Donovan and Mike Keating wrote on 12 October 2010 about this in ‘The Myth of the disappearing Commonwealth” at
The irony is that the term ‘Commonwealth’ has a strong republican ancestry. Essentially, the name ‘Commonwealth of Australia’ would suit an Australian republic.
The period from the late 1880s to 1891 was a strong republican moment with fifteen republican organisations and twenty radical republican newspapers or journals widely spread through the Australian colonies. At a national level, republican dimensions emerged when Henry Parkes, the Premier of New South Wales advocated the name ‘Commonwealth of Australia’ at the 1891 National Australasian Convention. The ‘Commonwealth of Australia’ was the title chosen for the new nation by the delegates to the 1891 National Australasian Convention and, despite some controversy in the intervening years, it was the title agreed to, with little fuss, at the People’s Convention in 1897 and 1898. Australians today are used to the term ‘Commonwealth’ which runs parallel to republican traditions without bearing the explicit connotations or implying the essential institution of republicanism. Continue reading

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Independent Australia. The online journal of Australian identity and democracy

On 24 June 2010, David Donovan, Queensland ARM State Convenor and National Media Director began publishing the new e-journal of Australian identity and democracy Independent Australia at 
Independent Australia is updated daily with new and exciting writing on Australian politics, history, democracy and satire.
Independent Australia is quickly becoming the national voice for republican and nationalist activists. Regular contributors also include the national republican leaders of New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as well-known Australian commentators such as Mungo McCallum and Barry Everingham.
Independent Australia is a modern day version of The Bulletin in its heyday of the 1880s and 1890s.
It can get quite feisty.
Like in this article from David Donovan, where he says:
Much to my chagrin, I have given that pompous permatanned prevaricator, David Flint, the attention that he and his grubby articles do not deserve.”
It gives a different perspective.
Like this article from historian Brad Webb, which says that:
“…the early push for an Australian republic stalled because Federation was the easier and more palatable option for most Australians”.
It wants the best for Australia.
And all Australians. Like in this article by Rodger Hills, where he says:
“Indigenous people are not a minority in the community they are a vital part of our society, the original occupants of this land, and they need to be recognized in the Australian Constitution.”
Check it out. If you’re not, you’re missing out.
Queensland has a long tradition of republican journalism from the Australian Republican on the Charters Towers goldfields in the early 1890s under the editorship of F.C.B. Vosper, though to the long-running ARMLET of the 1990s and early 2000s under the editorship of Rod Kendall. In 2007 ARMLET was resurrected by David Donovan who went on to edit the national Republican Roundup. In 2010 ARMLET was reformatted into an eNewsletter and represents the culmination of a long republican lineage.
Anyone wishing to question, contribute or support Independent Australia e-journal, please feel free to contact the editor.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Brisbane’s Republican Bridge Opens

The Ted Smout Memorial Bridge has been claimed as Brisbane’s new republican bridge.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the opening celebrations on Sunday, 11 July at the Sandgate and Redcliffe ends of the 2.7km bridge. Queenslanders are being encouraged to walk the distance across the bridge, with tickets for the opening ceremony in the centre of the bridge sold out weeks in advance. But it is the selection of Ted Smout as the name to honour the new bridge that has created a symbol for Brisbane’s republican movement.

The former Sandgate man was Queensland’s last surviving World War I veteran, who died in 2004 at the age of 106. Edward David Smout was older than the Australian nation, having been born at Brisbane in the colony of Queensland on January 5 1898, three years before the Australian colonies federated. For the first century of his life he witnessed Australia's journey from being a colony to a Federation and a nation. He had fought for king and country in World War I but became a staunch republican. The change in view was underpinned by a direct understanding of the appalling cost of life that Australia, as a colonial attachment to the United Kingdom, suffered in World War I.

At first he was angered by the disregard he believed the British forces held for the Australian diggers in World War I and later by the brusqueness of a British Customs officer. In 1998 he was treated with great appreciation when he was invited to France to be endowed with France's highest decoration, the French Legion of Honour. Upon returning home through Heathrow Airport with three other World War I veterans – in the aliens queue - all four were treated appallingly by an officious British airport guard. His medals had activated the alarm on the metal detectors and, in his words, "some bearded idiot insisted on frisking us despite the protest of our carers". There were 300 passengers on the plane and they were the only four searched. Ted was disgusted because they had been treated with honour in France but like criminals in Britain. "When the French honour our heroes more highly than the British, the formal severing of our lingering links to the Empire cannot be far away", he said at the time.

Ted Smout was an active campaigner for an Australian republic. In 1999, at 101 years of age, he was the first person to sign the Australian Republican Movement’s Founders Book. "I think it is an absurdity to have the Queen as head of state. The Crown has served its purpose but it has outlived its usefulness and that`s not being disrespectful", he said. In 2002, he was honoured as an ARM Life Member.

Ted’s younger brother Arthur, and his wife Betty both continue to be active republican supporters. At 102 years of age Arthur displays the longevity of the Smout clan. “Ted was so active in the local community. He would see it as a ‘People’s Bridge’, as everyone’s bridge, as a ‘republican bridge’ ”, said Mrs Smout.

The 2.7km bridge will be the longest bridge in Australia. The republic has also been a long time coming. Perhaps as drivers are glancing at the expanse of Bramble Bay, or considering whether the pelicans sitting above will hit their targets, they can reflect upon the memory of Ted Smout and his staunch desire for an Australian republic.

Three cheers for the coming republic!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Republic Upstairs with Nick Earls

The Republic Upstairs welcomes as its next guest speaker, Nick Earls.

The Republic Upstairs has a proud history and over the past decade has hosted some of the leading figures in sports, finance, journalism, the arts and politics. This tradition continues with Nick Earls, speaking at the 12 Lounge at the Melbourne Hotel in West End next month.

Date: Sunday 20th June 2010
Time: 2:00pm
Location: 12 Lounge, The Melbourne Hotel
Address: 10 Browning Street, West End, 4101
Admisson Charges: $30
RSVP: by 15th June email

Nick Earls is an award winning and highly successful Queensland writer, as well as a long-standing member of the Queensland branch of the Australian Republican movement. Nick was born in Northern Ireland and emigrated to Australia when he was eight. His family settled in Brisbane and he went to school at ‘Churchie’ before completing a medical degree at the University of Queensland. Nick’s father was a GP and he worked for a time in the same profession before turning to writing full-time in his mid-20s. This decision proved to be an almost immediate success when his first adult novel, Zigzag Street, won the Betty Trask award in 1998. Then in 2000, his young-adult novel 48 Shades of Brown won the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for older readers.

Most of Nick’s writing is humorous and fun and almost all of it is set in Brisbane. Many of his novels have been adapted for stage, film and television. His first work written specifically for the stage, The True Story of Butterfish, was shown at the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the Brisbane Festival in October 2009.

The admission charges will cover a modest bar tab as well as a selection of finger food. The Melbourne hotel offers $5 parking and is close to many public transport options.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Republican challenge to Australian writers

The 2010 Second National Republican Short Story Competition opens today, 1 May 2010 and will close on 31 August 2010. The winner will be announced on 6 November 2010.

The Second National Republican Short Story Competition continues the momentum built from the successful 2009 First National Republican Short Story Competition. 2009 was a milestone as it was 10 years on 6 November 2009 since the republican referendum was lost. To commemorate this event and to remind Australians what they still didn’t have the Australian Republican Movement ran the First National Republican Short Story Competition.

The theme for the Second National Republican Short Story Competition is 'Life and Death in an Australian Republic'. Short stories will speculate on Australian republican futures.

It seems strange there is no tradition of republican speculative fiction in Australia. In colonial times there were republican poets such as Charles Harpur writing in the 1840s and 1850s, and republican writers such as John Dunmore Lang and Daniel Deniehy in the 1850s and William Lane, Henry Lawson and John Norton in the 1880s and 1890s. But where have been the republican stories for the past century? There have certainly been many republican writers during this time but almost no examples where republican settings or arguments have been explored in Australian fiction. Republican arguments and explorations of the past and imaginations of the future are always written within the framework of constitutional debates.

Where do the people of Australia fit into this? Where are their myths and stories to tell and retell and remember about Australia’s emerging republican identity?

This Second National Republican Short Story Competition challenges Australia’s fiction writers to speculate on the possible futures of the Australian republic.

Speculative fiction writers deal with possibilities.

They speculate.

They make the future seem real.

However, we can’t achieve anything unless we imagine it first. Before every great invention and before every great journey is the idea. Without ideas and imagination, we are all trapped in the past.

So, the ARM (Q) would like to point the way forward through Australian stories with a republican backdrop. They don’t have to be political thrillers or constitutional whodunits as long as they are an exploration of our future, our republican future.

More information at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

God Save the Queen?
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 - 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 is published on the Drum -

Three cheers for the coming republic!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Preamble to the Queensland Constitution

On 23 February 2010, the Queensland Parliament adopted a Preamble to the Queensland Constitution. The Preamble starts:

The people of Queensland, free and equal citizens of Australia, subject to no law or authority but that sanctioned by this Constitution and the Constitution of Australia;

and the second point states.

adopt the principle of the sovereignty of the people, under the rule of law, and the system of representative and responsible government, prescribed by this Constitution

It seems the republican cause has had another win with reference to the people of Queensland and the principle of the sovereignty of the people in the proposed preamble to the Queensland Constitution.

Three cheers for the coming republic!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Australia Day 2010 'Postcode Parties'

All around Australia small groups of republicans met and raised a glass to a future republic.

A big thank you to those Queensland members who co-ordinated a postcode party in their area.

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 State Council member (left in picture below) was there at the 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. Each guest was given some merchandise to take home and some special items were given to the winners of a quiz on Australian history at the end of the night. “Drinks and savouries were served and it was a jolly event.”

The ARM’s Gold Coast forum held their celebration at the iconic Pink Poodle. About 18 members attended and a good time was had by all, beers flowing 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. In the end the prize was won by forum treasurer and stalwart Joe Cotta with a respectable 5 out of 10.

Three cheers for the coming republic!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Shadow King

The second in line to the title 'King of Australia', Prince William, is in Australia for only the second time, the other being when he was 10 months old.

After a week in New Zealand representing his grandmother, William will be three days in Australia to "get to know Australia", although he will visit only Sydney and Melbourne.

Last year, William launched England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup football tournament, and since that time has been lobbying extensively for the English bid. Australia also has an excellent bid for the 2018 hosting rights but, to date, William has not issued a word of support or even acknowledged Australia's bid. To have a future head of state who lobbies against Australian interests in favour of his own country is unacceptable for any sovereign nation. It offends the independence and aspirations of the Australian people.

The most recent polling shows that 59% of Australians are republicans and want an Aussie as head of state. The monarchy has little relevance to Australia because it no longer represents the nation's values or sense of itself.

If William wants to develop a belated meaningful relationship with us, he could start with acknowledging the aspirations of the majority of Australians.

Three cheers for the coming republic!

More links at:
David Donovan, 19 January 2010 at
Rory Gibson, 'What does the Queen have against Queensland?", 19 January 2010 at,,26603940-3102,00.html