Australian republic clubs have attracted a great deal of interest during university "O-Week", refuting claims of disinterest among young Australians.
University of Melbourne Republic Club, Western Sydney University Australian Republic Club, Macquarie University Australian Republic Society, Adelaide University Republican Club, Australian National University Republic Club and the University of Queensland Republic Club. As well, on 3 March 2017, University of Sydney Australian Republic Society has scheduled a Republic versus Monarchy debate.
The University of Queensland (UQ) campus has been involved in
republican movement activity since the early 1990s. On 12 December 1993,
the Australian Republican Movement
(ARM) was launched in Brisbane. A public meeting was held on 21 April
1994 at the Abel Smith Lecture Theatre at UQ and the inaugural dinner of
the Queensland branch of the ARM was held on 3 December 1994 at
Cromwell College, University of Queensland.
UQ Republican Association (UQRA) invited then Federal Attorney-General Michael Lavarch
to address the issue. More than 50 people gathered inside and outside
to hear Michael Lavarch speak. This had been organised by the inaugural
UQRA President, Johanna Sing who, in 1994, was an 18-year-old arts/law
student who had long been interested in politics. At 17, she had been
the youth representative of the ARM in Queensland. She was present at
the launch in December 1993 and spoke at the first public meeting of the
Queensland Branch at UQ in April 1994. In September 1994, she attended
the Young Leaders Conference in Melbourne, at which representatives of
all political parties and various interest groups debated many issues,
including the republic. By O-Week 1996, the UQ Republican Association
was established on the UQ campus.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the ARM was a presence on UQ
campus, particularly during O-Week. This all changed with the student
union elections in 2008. From this time on, the "Fresh Party" actively
stopped the registration of the UQ Republican Club. However, in late
2012, this changed when the Liberal National Party-aligned "Fresh Party" was investigated.
On 29 December 2012, it was announced that, with the help of the new vice presidents for campus culture, the UQ Student Union had
approved the application for UQRA to become an affiliated member of
Clubs & Societies. This was the final hurdle in a long battle to
have the UQRA reaffiliated at UQ.
Jacqueline Rodgers: 2013-15 President, UQ Republic Club (image by Oscar Green supplied by Australian Republic Movement).
On 25 January 2013, the University of Queensland Republic Club held an Australia Day party
in the Great Court as its inaugural annual general meeting. Ably led by
Jacqueline Rodgers, an undergraduate student in International
Relations/Chinese, the meeting included the official adoption of the
club constitution and voting for executive positions. Despite it pouring
rain and still being university holidays, they managed a fantastic
turnout and easily made quorum for affiliation.
On 20 February 2013, the UQRC held a market day stall during O-Week
which attracted 300 visitors, students, staff and MPs, with overwhelming
support for an Australian republic.
It’s time for a new conversation about Australia, our identity and
our responsibility, and to take the future into our hands as a fully
independent nation. It is heartening to see young Australians of all
political colours (see the T-shirts) and persuasions all around
Australia wrestling with these ideas.