|British Tradition in Australia under Siege||Nigel Jackson reports on the result of the referendum|
While 55 per cent of Australian voters have rejected the republic model on offer in the constitutional referendum on the 6th November, the monarchy and the British connection in Australia remain gravely jeopardised.
Although only one state (Victoria) voted in favour of the change to a republic (and only by a very slim majority), it seems clear that republican sentiment substantially outweighs monarchist sentiment in the nation; and the significance of our historic ties to Britain and its culture have been almost completely censored out of the public debate in the national forums during the past 18 months - with the inevitable result that more and more Australians (especially among the younger generation) are simply unaware of those ties and their importance to our heritage.
Monarchists and British loyalists in Australia must in the immediate future work very hard to find new and better ways of conveying the value of that heritage to young Australians, for otherwise the next referendum (and I predict that there will be one within the next decade) will be lost to the anti-British establishment of republicans and globalists.
It was interesting to watch the Melbourne TV Channel 9 post-mortem show last night (6th November), titled 'Australia decides', hosted by well-known compere Ray Martin, an eloquent left-wing republican and establishment figure. He first presented a clip of Australian Republican Movement president Malcolm Turnbull, international banker and chief spokesman for the failed republic model, conceding defeat. Turnbull spoke with significant ungraciousness, blaming coalition prime minister John Howard for the republicans' demise, and then derisively and divisively sneering at Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as she who "will reign over us" as long as the enemies of the republic hold the office of prime minister under their control. Turnbull made not the slightest attempt to apologise for his own contribution to the debacle of his republican model.
Viewers were next presented with a clip of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy leader Kerry Jones giving her 'victory speech.' Throughout this address she made absolutely no affirmative statement in favour of the monarchy or its importance at all! She could just as easily have been a 'Real Republican' as she rejoiced over the people's rejection of a defective model for a republic.
Mrs Jones glossed over the obvious damage done to the monarchical cause during the campaign. Equally, she omitted to comment on the narrowness of the result and the deep divisions in Australia over our constitutional future. Fatuously, she called for all citizens to accept the result and go forward "as a united nation."
One wondered about the real status of these two people, the much-publicised 'leaders' of the two teams brought into existence before the Constitutional Convention of February 1998 to provide a public spectacle of the referendum battle and lavishly provided with public money by the coalition government led by John Howard. Neither of them had been elected by the people whom they were supposed to represent. Effectively they were appointees - but of whom?
Poor presentation Of the Monarchist case
As readers of my Spearhead article last month will recall, I had spent the best part of a year trying without success to ensure that the affirmative case for retaining the monarchy was put to the Australian people clearly and fully in major newspapers and by the Government in the official information booklet for voters. In particular, I argued that the ACM had shown itself unrepresentative of all monarchists by the drabness and limited nature of the pro-monarchy case which it wrote for the official information booklet published by the Government in late 1997 for voters before the election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention, and that it would be unjust to give it unfettered control of the 'No' case before the referendum. Mr Howard and his government ignored my request, and only in the closing stages of the campaign did our national newspaper The Australian finally allow me to publicise the injustice. In its weekend edition of the 23rd/24th October my following letter appeared:-
To my amazement, The Australian had the brazen effrontery in its next issue to claim impeccable impartiality of presentation. I faxed a response immediately and, also to my amazement, they published it too, on the 29th October, as follows:-
At the time of writing (7th November) these letters have not been answered in any way. "Truth cries in the market place and is not heard." However, a major result of the referendum campaign is that the ACM can no longer be entrusted by monarchists with the leadership of the case for the Crown. It was certainly reasonable tactics to exploit the divisions between republicans, but the affirmative case for the monarchy should also have been stated, and should have received pre-eminence in the 'No' booklet.
It should be obvious that a monarchist movement that does not dare openly present its positive case does not deserve a hearing, and that an Australia which is unmoved by that case does not deserve a monarchy. The ACM case may have won the referendum this time but has done great harm to the monarchist and pro-British position. It has enabled the major media and the republicans to accuse 'monarchists' of no longer having confidence in their own position.
The great strength of the royalist case is the grandeur, beauty, mystery and culture associated with a sacred monarchy of over a millennium's duration. The ACM's refusal to emphasise this, together with its willingness to see the two Leagues (who would have insisted on that emphasis) frozen out of the campaign, calls into question the motives of its founders and leaders.
Who voted which way?
An important aspect of the referendum result, given considerable emphasis by 'Australia decides", is the fact that many working-class ALP (Australian Labour Party) federal seats voted 'No', while many affluent Coalition seats voted 'Yes'. Mr Howard's personal electorate voted 'Yes' (though he did not), while Labour leader Kim Beazley's voted 'No' (though he did not)! What this shows is that, as a general rule, the republic was supported by the wealthy and the 'insiders' and opposed by the poorer 'outsiders'. This suggests that new political groupings within Australia could emerge over the next decade, thus making accurate prediction of the context of the next referendum more difficult.
Australia has seen two would-be nationalist parties rise and fall in the last few years. Graeme Campbell's 'Australia First' appeared to have sound policies but fatally to lack vision for the future of the nation - I mean a vision for which citizens will sacrifice their energies and even their lives, not just political programmes, however practical.
As for Pauline Hanson's 'One Nation' party, this never seemed to me to be a competent or trustworthy outfit. The major media treated 'One Nation' to enormous free publicity (much of it hostile, of course), while giving 'Australia First' the silent treatment.
'Australia First' was thus largely stymied by a surge to 'One Nation', and then, of course, 'One Nation' was gradually deprived of "the oxygen of publicity" and subjected to more regular scathing attacks.
Australia needs a new nationalist movement led by citizens with greater wisdom and sense of tradition than Campbell or Hanson; for another result of the recent referendum campaign has been to prove beyond any doubt that the Coalition cannot any longer be trusted to support our traditional monarchical constitution.
Our opponents' greatest strength is their financial might. Our own greatest strength is truth. As the referendum campaign drew to a close, important statements appeared in The Australian and The Age (Melbourne's most intellectual daily). On the 29th October The Australian published an article by ACM leader and Coalition MP Tony Abbott ('Heartfelt reasons to be faithful'). In parts of this article the writer at last touched on the extraordinarily telling affirmative case for the monarchy:-
Magnificent words! But why, one wonders, did the ACM not push this line vigorously throughout the campaign and ensure that it was well stated in the official information booklet?
Power Of symbolism
In The Age on the 2nd November appeared an article by Professor David Tacey of the English Department of La Trobe University, titled 'Voting from the Heart.' Prof Tacey is a Jungian who has specialised in writing about the Australian psyche. He argued that voters were likely to reject the ARM model for a republic because "we doubt the authenticity, depth and stability of a system that makes no attempt to connect with enduring spiritual and moral values."
Prof Tacey explained:-
Prof Tacey added that the concept of an Australian head of state
Prof Tacey pointed insightfully to our national immaturity: "Australia cannot manage a transcendental public symbol because we have not done enough soul work. Symbols will emerge, in time, like fruit from the tree of the Australian nation." He went on to plead the fashionable case for the need for reconciliation between European and Aboriginal Australians, whereas I would stress the need to rediscover the importance and dignity of racial integrity, to penetrate to the universal esoteric truth beyond and within both our own religion and the other great sacred traditions, and to draw successfully the teeth of the current internationalist élite.
But statements such as these by Abbott and Tacey show that an invincible case can be mounted in defence of the Australian Crown. Professor Geoffrey Blainey, in an article in The Sunday Age, reflected on the possible sequels to the 'No' win:-
In conclusion, the face of Australian politics has been ineradically changed Large numbers of Coalition politicians and formerly conservative spokesmen and women have jumped onto what they thought was the irresistible republican bandwagon. This includes luminaries like former prime minister Malcolm Fraser and former governor-general Sir Zelman Cowen. They cannot now retrace their steps. Commented Blainey: "Republican supporters are today lamenting that they have not won the decisive victory which, until recently, they were confidently predicting."
Secondly, the corruption of our body-politic has been indelibly exposed by the manifest failure of the major political parties and major media to allow the monarchist case to be fairly and fully put to the people in a manner that would enable it to be properly understood. In this context, claims by republicans that "at least the referendum has proved that monarchy commands little support among Australians" need not be and will not be accepted as the last word.
The 'Real Republicans' who want direct election of the president have now got to put up or shut up. They have to provide a sound model for a new constitution that can protect ordinary people from the globalist establishment, the financial élite and their hangers on among the 'chattering classes.' I do not believe they will succeed - in which case monarchists will have a golden opportunity to argue that the Crown, after all, has been proved to offer the soundest system of checks, balances and inspirational symbolism. A moment of great opportunity has opened for Australian traditionalists, but it calls for immense dedication and the capacity to find new political directions and organisational modes. The same is true for Australian republicans, as our nation continues to live through this great crisis involving the struggle to define its identity for the coming century.