Monday, July 29, 2013

Project Republic

It’s time for some straight talk about Australia’s future. We need a head of state who shares a genuine affinity with our country. True independence does not require us to relinquish affection for the Queen or downplay excitement about a royal birth or wedding. Rather it is a chance for national renewal, and to lend an Australian dignity to the highest office in the land. In short: to decide what kind of country we want to live in.

The Australian Republican Movement (ARM) has recently begun a new campaign aimed at restarting a conversation with Australians about who we are and what we can be.  The campaign, designed to get the republic back on the agenda, was successfully trialled in Tasmania, where it received the endorsement of the leaders of the three major parties, and was recently launched in New South Wales to a 350-strong crowd at a fundraiser with Malcolm Turnbull, Tom Keneally and Jane Caro.
Republic Clubs are forming on university campuses throughout Australia, with fundraisers, forums and stalls being held or scheduled in all states. With support from Tim Fischer to Malcolm Turnbull, Wayne Swan and Christine Milne, the ARM has been delighted with the public endorsements of the campaign across the political divide.

Benjamin Thomas Jones
Mark McKenna
On 3 June 2013 the ARM hosted the book launch of Project Republic, edited by Benjamin Thomas Jones and Mark McKenna, published by Black Inc Books. The book was officially launched at Parliament House, Canberra by then Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan and Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Featuring forewords by Malcolm Turnbull and Wayne Swan, Project Republic unites a range of passionate Australian voices to show why Australia must become a republic – and how we can get there from here. Contributors include Henry Reynolds, Thomas Keneally, Larissa Behrendt, John Hirst, Julian Morrow, Helen Irving, Mark Tredinnick, John Warhurst, David Morris, George Williams, Joy McCann, Erika Smith, Anthony Dillon, Paul Pickering, James Curran, David Donovan and George Winterton.  

At the book launch National Director of the Australian Republican Movement, David Morris, signalled a new, grass roots push to get the nation’s unfinished business and great bipartisan project – an Australian republic – on the agenda.

Some say ‘just come up with a model, it’s all about how you select the Head of State, fix that and the rest will follow’. It’s the old top down approach that worked so well, never”, said Mr Morris.

The Australian Republican Movement has learned from the past. We have learned from repeated examples of political leaders who thought they had clever policy initiatives all stitched up but then couldn’t implement them because they hadn’t adequately consulted. So we are listening to what Australians say.

A fully independent Australia, a republic, has to be a grass roots celebration of being Australian. It must not be imposed from above, as the British monarchy is currently imposed upon us with no broad public consent. Something as fundamental as who we are and how we want to be seen in the world, has to start with a good old fashioned Aussie barbecue conversation.”

We need to turn the republic debate upside down, putting people first.

Here's a special offer to Australian Republican Movement members, a discount price  on the book everyone is talking about, Project Republic.