|The Bungled Australian Referendum||British loyalist and monarchist Nigel Jackson reports|
On November 6th, the Australian nation will vote in an historic referendum to decide whether or not to become a republic. At the time this article is being written (October 3rd), it looks likely that the referendum will be lost and that Australia will remain a constitutional monarchy sharing the British Sovereign - at least for a few more years.
Despite an enormous push by powerful financial interests, the major mass media and the majority of federal politicians in favour of the proposed Australian Republican Movement model, it is becoming increasingly apparent that huge numbers of ordinary Australians will not buy it. They smell too many rats. There is a growing consensus that this model represents a power-grab by wealthy, selfish and unrepresentative elites who form the contemporary (and anti-traditional) Establishment here.
Ordinary people on both sides of politics do not trust these elites and their much publicised leaders. Thus an alliance of necessity has developed between monarchists and the 'Real Republic' movement, a group which rejects the proposed ARM model and claims that it claims that it represents "the 70 per cent of Australians who only want a republic if the president is directly elected by the people as a whole." (The ARM model provides for a president chosen essentially by the leading politicians of the two major party groupings, the Liberal-National coalition, which currently governs under Prime Minister John Howard, and the Australian Labour Party).
The internationalists have been able largely to suppress vital aspects of the monarchist case by means of censorship (working both through the major political parties and the mass media), but they have not been able significantly to shift a substantial sector of republican opinion from its determination to reject the ARM model. That sector is represented by the 'Real Republic' movement, as previously mentioned, whose Melbourne campaign launch I attended only today at the Punter's Hotel in Fitzroy, a colourful working-class suburb. The combination of No votes from monarchists and 'Real Republicans' is likely to sink the referendum.
The 'real Republicans'
Readers of Spearhead may be interested to learn something of the leaders of the Real Republic movement. One speaker today was the former Governor-General and ALP federal minister, Bill Hayden, who hails from Ipswich, Queensland. Hayden had a childhood in conditions of poverty and sometimes attended school without shoes. That may be one reason why, unlike some ALP heavyweights, he has not lost touch with, or respect for, ordinary citizens.
Hayden's main argument with the ARM model is that it fatally disturbs the balance-of-powers principle which our forefathers wisely built into the Australian Constitution. It gives too much power to the executive government. Hayden, an urbane and sensible man, accepts that the majority of Australians want a republic and no longer wish to be governed by an Australian monarch who is also the British monarch. He stresses, however, that the Crown has historically acted to protect the people from misuse of power by politicians and big business. In his view, a republican model which includes direct election of the president by all Australian citizens will successfully exchange the sovereignty of the Crown for the sovereignty of the People, thus preserving the balance of powers within our Constitution.
The Australian president of the Real Republicans is former federal independent MP Ted Mack, widely regarded as one of the most honest men ever to have sat at Canberra. Mack agrees with the Hayden analysis and is also well aware of the kind of wheeling and dealing that would go on between party leaders to select a president under the ARM model. Mack hails from New South Wales.
The Melbourne convenor for the movement is another former federal MP, Phil Cleary, something of an 'Irish anarchist', as Hayden put it to me today. Cleary cherishes his Irish ancestry and feels no special ties to Britain or the British Throne. A former schoolteacher and footballer of some note, author of a lively and entertaining biography, Cleary Independent (1998), Cleary essentially represents the traditional Labour Party which stood for less privileged sections of the community.
Cleary has considerable populist charisma and also the capacity to speak directly and with a human touch at public occasions.
A gifted and articulate woman barrister, Jocelynne Scutt, was the other speaker at today's launch. Like Cleary, she is hostile to the society of silvertails and has no love for the British monarchy, which she denigrated with a series of pejorative terms, one of them being 'sexist' - which seems unconvincing when a Queen has held the Throne for the last 47 years!
During question time I asked the four speakers to explain how they thought that a republic with a directly elected president would be able to protect the interests of ordinary people, as opposed to an ARM-style republic which they all opposed because of its tyrannical and authoritarian elements. The answers did not reassure me. Cleary once again expressed his touching faith in the capacity of 'the people' to make wise decisions, and pointed to the recent Victorian state election result as an example. This was held on September 18th; the major media largely urged that the Premier, Jeff Kennett, be re-elected; he is a man who has greatly improved the finances of the state but has done so by introducing a casino and increased gambling, to say nothing of many visually monstrous changes to the Melbourne skyline; and Victorians produced a hung election with three independents holding the balance of power.
I would have liked to ask a further question but did not gain the chairman's nod. To me it seems clear that the House of Windsor has often failed to protect the British people from the claws of the internationalists, but that the institution of the Crown remains as a profound bulwark in the latter's way. I cannot see that either kind of republic would be as effective a barrier, since I believe that 'the people' too often are swayed to vote against their real interests by mass media in the pockets of financial élites with globalist policies. However, I was unable to pursue this further with the Real Republican leadership on this occasion.
A noticeable feature of the Real Republic Melbourne launch was the absence of affluent-looking folk amidst the small attendance of about eighty people. By contrast, the ARM is led by millionaires such as Goldsman Sachs partner Malcolm Turnbull and Mrs. Janet Holmes a'Court, reputedly Australia's richest woman. Thus there was a hearty laugh when Bill Hayden remarked that the House of Windsor has probably done much more for ordinary Australians than the House of Murdoch! (Rupert Murdoch, owner of our only national paper, The Australian, as well as of the London Times and many other publications, is now a citizen of the United States, not his native Australia; and his son Lachlan recently made a statement in favour of the ARM republic in which he denigrated the 'unrepresentative' British monarchy! The Real Republicans feel that his remarks strengthened their case that the ARM model is the project of the wealthy elites).
Media exclusion and bias
We monarchists have laboured under several handicaps during the year preceding the referendum. The media have almost totally excluded from the main public forums the Australian Monarchist League (the oldest established pro-monarchy group) and the Australian League of Rights (which has stood staunchly for the monarchy and the British connection for over fifty years). Pro-monarchy articles, far fewer in number than pro-republic articles, are invariably written by journalists, politicians or members and associates of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, a group which has adopted a peculiarly limited set of arguments in its campaigning, but which has had the vital financial support of the federal government. It is the ACM and the Real Republicans who have been given enormous sums of money to prepare the 'No' case. The two Leagues were not even allowed one member on the relevant committee of ten. This was so despite intensive efforts by some of us as early as October last year to ensure that all the pro-monarchy arguments were properly and fully put to the Australian people before the referendum. That has not happened.
What this means, it seems to me, is that this referendum operation has been managed by the powers that be. As distinguished Australian historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey, recently wrote in the Melbourne Age, the vast majority of Australians voting on November 6th will be inadequately informed to do the job properly. Whatever the result may be, he wrote, it will be one springing from great ignorance both of our Constitution and of the detailed changes proposed under the ARM model. Many of these changes appear sinister and insidious to ordinary Australians. Blainey is also the only person I have known who has pointed out how unfair to the British is the proposed replacement preamble to the Constitution promoted by John Howard. Australians will also be voting on November 6th on whether or not to accept this preamble. It pays tribute to the Aborigines and to the migrants who have come to Australia from many lands, but includes no acknowledgement at all to the British, whose creation Australia is! Unfortunately, Australians may vote to accept that preamble!
Unjust handling of debate
In a recent letter sent to The Australian, I protested at the injustice of the major media and politicians' handling of the referendum debate over the past year or so, and argued that the Prime Minister was in fact guilty of dereliction of duty in this matter; but my letter was not published. Attempts I made to get a fair deal for the pro-monarchy position in The Australian earlier this year, when I sent a series of articles and covering letters to the editor-in-chief David Armstrong, were met first by a snide put-down and subsequently by rude silence, a silence which included a mean-spirited refusal to return my MSS to me, even though I enclosed stamped and self-addressed envelopes! But of course The Australian is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and Murdoch has, apparently, publicly stated on television his determination to destroy the British monarchy!
Or so I was told at the annual New Times dinner two days ago by fellow-patriot Arthur Tuck. The dinner is organised yearly by the major patriotic group in Australia, the Australian League of Rights. This year's was held at the Victoria Hotel in Melbourne and the attendance of about 100 was well down on previous years (it also contained few people under fifty). Tuck has produced, out of his own pocket, a colour video in favour of the monarchy which runs for twenty minutes and of which 1,800 copies have been sold. It focuses particularly on the sacred basis of the British and Australian monarchies and on the ceremony and ritual of the Coronation Service, then secondarily on the capacity of the Crown to preserve private and public freedoms.
Another of the blows suffered by the monarchist cause has been the damage sustained by the League of Rights. During the past year its founder, Eric Butler, and his wife Elma, have both suffered a number of strokes, thus removing much of their invaluable counsel and guidance at this critical stage. Even worse, Butler's successor, David Thompson, who had been national director for the last three or four years, suddenly resigned in June and left the League. The reins have now been taken up by Mrs. Betty Luks, of South Australia, but she will find it very hard to prevent the League from dying on its feet.
I was unimpressed by the speeches at the latest New Times dinner. There was too much mutual back-patting, too much sentimentality and a very foolish repetition of the claim that Christianity (and not so much the religion itself as the way it was viewed by Social Credit founder Major Clifford Douglas) is the only true sacred revelation, all the others being false. This claim was made by the main speaker, Jeremy Lee, a sterling Britisher who left Kenya after the Mau Mau atrocities and has become an expert analyst of the New World Order programme of the internationalists. It is a pity that Lee combines such subtlety of economic analysis with so much simplistic 'old-time' religion. Beyond doubt, if the League cannot rapidly make contact with Australian youth, it is doomed.
Factors in decline of pro-British feeling
Readers of Spearhead need to grasp the unpalatable truth that pro-British sentiment in Australia has greatly declined in the last forty years or so. In my view this is more the result of deliberate management than of any natural weakening of ties. For decades, money and powerful influence have promoted in all areas of national life an anti-British line, while patriots have found almost no such patronage and publicity. Also, the failure of the House of Windsor to take any part in the pro-monarchy campaign has been a further disadvantage for monarchists. It is hard to campaign for a Throne that seems to make no effort to lead and rally. One is reminded of the Biblical saying: "Who will gird himself for battle if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound?" Of course, it is argued by some that any intervention by the Royal Family would have been fatal for the monarchist cause here. Either way, perhaps, we would have been damned.
The Real Republicans were today jubilant. They felt that they represented the majority of Australians. They were confident that the referendum would be lost and that a genuine 'People's Republic' would be in place within five to ten years. They are hoping that, after the referendum is lost, the next ALP government will organise a plebiscite on the simple basis: "Do you want a republic with a president or the present monarchy?" They feel that republicans will win hands down. Common sense suggests to me that they may be partly right, but that they underestimate the power, craftiness and duplicity of the internationalists. We may end up with a republic that looks what they want, but isn't.
The East Timor situation has thrown a new card on the table, however. After over thirty years of security, Australia has suddenly become a dangerous place in which to live. I cannot claim to be deeply read on the background to this crisis, but I have a strong conviction that our government should never have got itself into the position of committing troops to East Timor. We should have done everything possible to maintain friendship with our next-door neighbours, Indonesia. With them and New Zealand in alliance, we become a strong force for peace and security in this region. The present fracas looks likely to benefit the internationalists, the UN and other nations who may wish to disturb Indonesian-Australian understanding. Together with fears, rational or irrational, about the coming of the new millennium, the East Timor crisis may cause a conservative vote among the undecided 20 per cent of voters. Few referenda in Australia's history, anyway, have received a successful 'Yes' majority.
Weak arguments of the Internationalists
Let me give a quick pen picture of coverage of the referendum campaign in this weekend's Melbourne Age and The Australian. Both newspapers editorialise in favour of a vote for a republic. The Age advises direct election republicans to accept the assurance of the leader of the Opposition, ALP chief Kim Beazley, that they should vote 'Yes' since the next ALP government will offer direct election of the president as an option in a subsequent referendum. Phil Cleary and his colleagues laughed this proposal to scorn today. Would establishment politicians, empowered by a 'Yes' vote, seek to take away that power in a second referendum? Cleary & Co. regard the proposal as a pathetic confidence trick.
The Australian begins its long editorial by stating: "The monarchists have given up defending the queen in the republican referendum debate now under way." (note the small 'q'!). This, of course, is hypocrisy at its ultimate. There are plenty of monarchists who would dearly love to publicise all the affirmative arguments in favour of the Crown and the Queen; but The Australian has deliberately and regularly refused to publish our articles!
The Age has also published a half-page news report by one Simon Mann to the effect that almost all the Australians in Britain are monarchists; but how hard did Mr. Mann look? The Australian has a malicious cartoon showing monarchist John Howard in Her Majesty's clothes and moaning: "If only they had a ship called the Belgrano." This is a dual attack on Howard, for it is he who has sent our troops to East Timor.
In The Australian is also another malicious anti-patriotic piece by millionaire Phillip Adams, a former communist and ad-man who is also (usually) a particularly fervent philo-semite. Adams labours to argue the Real Republicans out of a 'No' stance. He suggests that direct election would never produce a president of the calibre of the present Governor-General, Sir William Deane, or his two predecessors, Sir Zelman Cowen and Sir Ninian Stephen. Of course, Adams doesn't admit that all three men, like him, are internationalists and members of the current Establishment. Sir Zelman Cowen is a Jew. Sir Ninian Stephen is a devotee of international war crimes tribunals. As for Sir William Deane, Adams waxes lyrical about him, claiming he has been "the Phar Lap of G-Gs." (Phar Lap was a famous Australian racehorse). Says Adams of Deane rhapsodically:-
A different view of Sir William was expressed a couple of years ago by nationalist MP Graeme Campbell, who felt that he had compromised his position far more than any previous incumbent by making so many politically partisan statements and speeches.
A week is a long time in politics," as British premier Harold Wilson once said.
The Australian also publishes a bit more of what I have suggested is a managed debate on the question of constitutional change to a republic. We read Professor David Flint, of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (he is an 'insider' who is also chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority and president of the Australian Press Council, a watchdog and appeals-hearing entity set up by the major newspapers themselves!) Flint produces what look like some sound warnings against the small print of the ARM model, but how dry as dust it all is! This enables Paul Kelly, international editor of The Australian, to reply, inter alia:-
I asked one of the Real Republican leaders today (I think it was Mack) whether he was aware that much of the monarchist case had been deliberately withheld from the major forums. He said he was not, and seemed surprised at my claim. I then pointed out the absence of article space and lack of committee positions allocated to the Australian Monarchists and the League of Rights.
There is a chance that if the republicans lose this referendum the Australian people can be encouraged to think again about the attack on the monarchy in view of the striking duplicity of Establishment forces during the present campaign. What is it that the 1,100-year-old monarchy has got, which the Real Republicans haven't got, which results in the Establishment silencing proper presentation of the monarchist case? There is no doubt in my mind which of the two camps the internationalist Establishment most fears!