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.

Television post-mortem

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:-

"The case for retaining a monarchical form of government has not been fairly and adequately put to the people, and the official 'No' case is a grotesque travesty.

"Responsible for this disgraceful situation, in my view, are the Prime Minister, the Government, the major media and the ACM (Australians for Constitutional Monarchy).

"The glory and splendour of an 1,100-year-old sacred tradition of royalty involving service to the people and protecting them from the depredations of barons (financial élites in our times) has been suppressed from attention in the major public forums."


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:-

"Your editorial claim in 'Opinion no obstacle to fair reporting' that your news coverage of the debate on the constitutional referendum "has been scrupulously fair" is unsustainable.

"A whole segment of monarchist opinion, that represented by the Australian Monarchist League and the Australian League of Rights, was almost completely excluded during the past year.

"The case for retaining the Crown, which could have been abundantly and brilliantly put in articles by the leading spokesmen of these groups, was muffled. To make it worse, you published claims by several republican partisans that 'monarchists' had abandoned "mention of the Queen." That may have been true of the ACM but was never true of monarchists as a whole.

"Australians should have been given in your pages far more articles dealing with the contribution to British and Australian culture of the monarchy over 1,100 or more years.

"These issues were brought to your attention as early as January. Instead, you continued to publish a great preponderance of pro-republican material. A better effort is needed next time."


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:-

"The Crown is the one civic institution that is exactly as old as Australia. In this country, the Crown is older than parliament and older than the courts. The Crown came ashore with the First Fleet. It was with us at Gallipoli and the Kokoda Trail. It punished the perpetrators of the Myall Creek massacre. It has changed and grown with us.

"In 1901 Australia lived under the British Crown and the Governor-General was an Englishman representing the British Government. Today, it's the Australian Crown and the Governor-General is an Australian representing the people in the Crown's name. Of course, the Crown is part of our British heritage - but we have made it our own just as we have made cricket, the common law and the English language our own. It has become an indigenous institution.

"Next to the papacy, the monarchy is the oldest continuing institution in western civilisation. It gives Australia a stake in a cultural tradition that is bigger than us and a claim on a great international figure in ways that add colour and ceremony to our national life. This is the third and possibly the most significant argument for the Crown.

"The argument for the monarchy depends on respect for tradition, loyalty, continuity. The monarchy depends on a preference for things that have stood the test of time and an instinct that this generation is unlikely to be so much wiser than its predecessors. The monarchy depends on a sense of living history told and lovingly retold, not because people are dwelling in the past but because they understand that all our yesterdays shape all our tomorrows Of course, it's hopelessly out of sympathy with the zeitgeist. But that reflects worse on these times than on the Crown.

"A monarch who reigns but does not rule; a dignitary famous for being rather than doing; a potentate who exercises no power; the paradoxes of the monarchy are reminders that life is more than the urgent simplicities of a budget bottom line, catchy slogan or logical conclusion. In its grand ceremonial, sense of mystery and even consoling fictions, the monarchy can be a numinous symbol of order and value in a difficult world."

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:-

"The symbols of the state need to be suggestive of a larger reality. They must lift us out of the mundane and connect us with values that are larger than life The transcendent aspect of public symbols can hardly be over-estimated.

"A sense of awe and mystery must attend to a public symbol, so that it attracts human interest and commands respect Ultimately, social authority can be believed only if there is a sense that it is connected to a source that is greater than itself Until we locate that greatness in our own cultural context, we naturally remain attached to a borrowed greatness.

"The transcendent dimension afforded by the monarchy has much appeal It has continuity with kings, queens, rituals, ceremonies and other symbolic elements that trail off into the mists of time Cohesive social structures are based on such irrational symbols, encouraging citizens to form their own emotional identifications with these historical symbols.

"Central to the monarchy is a deep connection between people and their God, or between ordinary life and their dreams of eternity. These are important symbols, and they provide a point of stability in an unstable world. They provide a powerful tradition of mystery and elevation in a world that has become appallingly flat, secular and bland. Will that blandness merely be enshrined and extended by our current republican model?"

Prof Tacey added that the concept of an Australian head of state

" does not arouse our imagination, because it is not clear what mystique the presidential role will carry, and what transcendental values will be embodied in the new position. Our current images are too banal, and if the soul of the nation is to get excited about a shift to a republic, we must know what vision of a presidential role will serve and what great values the republic will strive to uphold."


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:-

"Much will also depend on how yesterday's verdict is finally analysed. If it is explained away as a foreseeable and moderate defeat, or the result of unusual events, then the republican case will be revived more quickly.

"It is normal for politicians and people to accept the verdict given at a referendum and not to re-fight the matter in the near future. But the vote on the republic is not like a normal vote for constitutional change.

"The campaign for the republic, with its nationalist echoes, was more like the campaign for federation in the late 1890s.

"In 1898 the referendum on the creation of a Commonwealth was technically lost in New South Wales, but that did not terminate the federal crusade. A compromise was reached, a second referendum was held just over a year later, and the 'Yes' case was the winner.

"If there is to be another referendum in, say, ten years' time, there is no certainty that the 'Yes' case will succeed Without a completely new compromise or formula, however, the republican movement will limp along."


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.

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