Jan 1

2000 news archive

  • 23 December 2000: The Democrats issue Youth Poll 2000 (an online questionnaire) covering about 1000 respondents aged between 15 and 20. It found that most young people want a directly elected head of state.
  • 19 December: The Reserve Bank dumps the Queen from the special $5 note for the Centenary of Federation featuring "mother of federation" Catherine Helen Spence of South Australia. Catherine Helen Spence was a great supporter of the federation of the Australian States, the advancement of women and republicanism and stood unsuccessfully for election to the constitutional conventions in the 1890s. The monarchists issued their predictable protest that the note fails to carry the image of the head of state.
  • 11 December: from overseas, a fiery blast from British feminist Beatrix Campbell is printed in The Guardian as part of its campaign for a referendum on the monarchy. Click here for the full text. Beatrix Campbell recently visited Australia. WfaAR comment: this is what we need in Australia, some passion about moving to a republic - it's sadly lacking and hinders any move forward
  • 2 December: Women attending the Women's Electoral Lobby national conference in Canberra attended a session on the Centenary of Federation - is it time for a Women's Constitution? Speaking were Sarah Brasch from Women for an Australian Republic, Marian Sawer, Gwen Gray and Roslyn Dundas
    all from the local WEL branch and the session was chaired by well known ACT republic advocate and former Chief Minister, Kate Carnell. The session focussed on how women can become more involved in issues relating to constitutional change - including the republic - and the arguments for and against a Bill of Rights.  Read Sandy Killick's report about this session at the conference.
  • 6 November: Kerry Jones, Executive Director of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy and leader of the NO campaign in 1999 launches her book titled: "The People's Protest, The Story of Struggle Against the Republicans in Australia". Mrs Jones will step down from leading ACM next year. (See Malcolm Turnbull's diary of events covering the 1999 referendum campaign from the republican point of view on our booklist.)
  • 4 November - At the first meeting of the new ARM National Council, Anne Witheford (ACT Convenor) and former Senator and Minister, Susan Ryan, were chosen as Deputy Presidents. Greg Barns now from Tasmania, former ARM and YES Campaign director, was elected as President unopposed. For full details of women's success in the ARM elections, refer to our news item of 15 September.
  • 23 October: Monarchist Sophie Panopoulos wins pre-selection for a safe seat in Federal Parliament. She will contest Indi, located in north-eastern Victoria, for the Liberal Party.
  • 18 October: in its first National Barometer, The Australian republishes Newspoll data on support for the republic at 52% from early April (see news update of 7 April for full details). The republic, however, does not appear in the list of issues of top concern to voters.
  • 8 October: Julie Bishop, Federal Liberal Member for Curtin WA, spoke at a seminar in Fremantle and said that the public education campaign run for the 1999 referendum was not inadequate nor politically motivated. She commented that the single most important reason for last years result was: "the failure of the republican movement to convince a majority of Australians that having a republic was a goal so worthy as to overshadow any related concerns". She also said that there would be a NO campaign the next time and that "in the end, the republicans have the win the same battle they lost in November 1999." She was responding to remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Kim Beazley, who outlined his plan to replace the Queen with an Australian Head of State by 2010 under Labor's three step plan for achieving a republic: first, people would be asked to vote on whether they want an Australian Head of State; if yes, they would be asked for their preferred model for a republic; thirdly, a referendum would be held to decide which model would be used. (Reported in The West Australian)
  • 15 September: Women have been very successful in being elected to the ARM's new National Council and to Branch Councils, each of 11 members, in the States:

    National Council: Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Susan Ryan (seven women stood out of 33 candidates for the eight directly elected positions)

    NSW: Alison Henry, Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Babette Smith (three out of three - 31 total);

    Vic: Helen Millicer, Kerry Lovering, Laura Cook, Chris Palfreyman (four out of four - 14 total);

    Qld: Rita Troughton (one out of two - 14 total);

    SA: Naomi Pearson, Wendy Shirley, Majorie Schulze, Leigh Evans (four out of four - 15 total);

    WA: Julie Armstrong, Marilyn West, Kathy Hardie, Annette Holmes (four out of five - 18 total);

    Tas: Lisa Singh, Louise Sullivan (two out of two - 11 total);

    ACT: Anne Witheford, Kirsten Andrews, Gwen Wilcox (three out of five – 14 total);

    NT: no election

    Two women stood for Youth Representative on National Council out of nine candidates but neither was elected. Kate Ellis (SA) and Felicia Wells (ACT) were chosen for Branch Councils from a small number of women candidates for the single youth position in each State. The ARM election was conducted online as well as using traditional ballot papers according to members' choice. There was signifcant take-up of electronic voting by young members of the ARM.

  • 20 August: Professor Cheryl Saunders, who chaired the gathering, commented on the Youth Constitutional Forum held in Canberra which supported an Australian Head of State. She said, "in terms of the head of state, (the young people) were concerned that the symbol that they presently identified with wasn't the head of state. They were also concerned people didn't have an adequate understanding of rights, and favoured a bill of rights of some kind."
  • 13 August: Robert Hughes, expatriate art critic and commentator has upset the monarchists with his opinion on the downing of the republic proposal as taking place in a moment of "folly, weakness and irresoluteness". His views appear in an official souvenir program put out by Sports Illustrated for the Olympics. The Executive Director of ACM, Mrs Kerry Jones, labelled the program "an absolute disgrace" and said that it should be pulped. "We resoundingly defeated the republic last year in a compulsory referendum," she said. "To try to bring the republic issue up at this stage is an insult to the Australian people." Reported by Andrew Stevenson in the Sydney Morning Herald.
  • 12 August: The move to replace the ARM with a democratically elected body has swung into high gear with calls to change its image. Liberal MP Christine Gallus (Hindmarsh SA), who was on the YES Committee last year said that Mr Malcolm Turnbull had to take some of the blame for the failure of the referendum. She suggested that, as chair, he had kept such a tight rein on the ARM that other people's ideas were smothered. "Malcolm Turnbull and many of his colleagues are viewed as part of an elite, perpetuating the myth that the republic was for the rich and famous," she said. "It is time for the republican movement to start afresh, shaking off the baggage of the past." Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (also from SA) has been seen as a possible leader for the new group, likely to be called Republic Australia, but her office said that she had only nominated for a position on the national committee. ACT ARM Convenor, Anne Witheford said that the new body should be open to having any member of the national executive as its chair, rather than assuming that only a high profile person or a politician should do the job (reported in The Canberra Times).
  • 15 July 2000: The ARM is holding a membership drive. Women for an Australian Republic urges women supporting the republic to join the ARM which promises a new name, a new constitution, no preferred model and more involvement by members in policy making in order to position itself as the national umbrella organisation for the republic. Joining details are available at http://www.republic.org.au
  • 8 July: Peter Beattie, Premier of Queensland, has a go at a republican scenario while in London,  commemorating the passing of the Australian Constitution bill by the UK Parliament in 1900. Beattie's proposal is to experiment with republic options while remaining a monarchy - the Queen would retain the formal role of appointing a State governor on the advice of the premier; this person could be elected or whomever the state parliament chooses after public nominations. Reported in The Australian.
  • 19 June: Catherine Moore (Greens, Bill of Rights, Indigenous People's delegate to the 1998 Constitutional Convention) of Charley's Forest NSW writes to The Canberra Times saying that the republic needs plenty of work. She says that "if we are to move to a republic, it has to be a republic that is owned by all Australians, not imposed on us by a small group who think they know what is right for us". Read her letter in full here.
  • 14 June: The republic got an airing at the ALP national conference. NSW Premier, Bob Carr, urged a less radical model than that put last year implying that direct election would be more strongly and deeply opposed and had not the remotest chance of being carried (this aligns with one view current among republicans that direct election will be roundly defeated if ever put to the vote but that may lead eventually to revisiting the 1999 model, possibly many years into the future, which would then get up). Carr proposed retention of "Commonwealth of Australia" and "Governor-General". Leader, Kim Beazley, said that he would let people power drive his attempt to get a republic if he were Prime Minister. He proposed a plebiscite (note: this is non binding on the Government), held when he sought a second term, asking people whether they wanted a republic. A YES vote would be followed by a second plebiscite presenting a range of republic models before a referendum to change the Constitution. Beazley said he doesn't have a view on what sort of republic it should be though he expected to argue in favour of one model at the second plebiscite.
  • 9 June: Ahead of the Queen's birthday holiday, Anne Witheford issued a press release as Convenor of the newly reconstituted Australian Republican Movement in the ACT. She said that community support for the republic remained very strong. Ms Witheford referred to a University of Queensland study, funded by the Australian Research Council, which revealed that half the people who voted NO had, in fact, wanted a republic. She added that as the only state or territory to vote YES at the referendum, the ACT had proved itself a model for the new national republican umbrella organisation in the area of public consultation because it had achieved a broad coalition of republican groups - supporting a variety of models for election of the head of state - which worked successfully together in the lead-up to the vote. It had also coordinated and supported a dozen regional forums, some across state borders.
  • 30 April: Prime Minister Helen Clark's further comments on New Zealand becoming a republic are reported from NZPA ("Clark flirts with plan for a Kiwi republic"). Ms Clark was visiting England during which time she called on Tony Blair but not New Zealand's head of state, the Queen. Talking about national identity, she suggested it would soon be time to tackle New Zealand's direction as a country. "We have inherited a set of rather quaint arrangements," she said referring to ties with British royalty. It's just so easy for life to go on and not confront them." NZ is now in the process of removing knighthoods and damehoods and shedding the Privy Council in Britain as the final court of appeal (these things are long gone in Australia). The visit was also reported in The Guardian (UK) where Ms Clark indicated that if Australia got its act together and removed the English monarch as its head of state, then she could not imagine New Zealand lagging far behind.
  • 15 April: another poll on the republic is released by Roy Morgan. This is an interesting report but unfortunately contains no data dissected by gender. Its conclusion is that support for the republic is softening; find it at http://www.roymorgan.com.au/polls/2000/3296
  • 7 April: A Newspoll survey published in The Australian showed that 50% of women polled were in favour of the republic (30% strongly in favour and 20% partly in favour) while 39% were opposed (23% strongly against) and 11% were uncommitted. This compares with 54% of men polled in favour of a republic. People were questioned by telephone; 1200 interviews in city and country areas between 31 March and 2 April in the last days of the Queen's visit. In August 1999, three months before the referendum, support was 51% in total compared with 52% in April 2000 with support strongest among ALP voters (62%); 35 to 49 year olds (59%) and men more in favour than women.
  • 2 April: Women were prominent in the organisation and maintenance of a republican presence during the Queen's visit which ended on 1 April. Women republicans were present at the "welcome to the Republic of the ACT" at the airport on the Queen's arrival in Canberra and at Government House during her meeting with the Prime Minister; both events attracted extensive media coverage in Australia and Britain. Women peacefully holding a republican banner, also at an official event for the Queen's visit in Canberra, were verbally abused and one was assaulted by an enraged male monarchist whose angry face was captured on national television (and his registration number was noted as he sped off with an Australian flag fluttering out of the window of his car). In Busselton WA, a lone female protester carrying a young child had her sign about the high cost of the Queen's visit grabbed from her hands and ripped to pieces by another threatened male who disappeared into the crowd after his act of violence. Meanwhile in Ballarat, the woman director of the Republic Institute distributed replicas of the Eureka flag - a symbol of republicanism in Australia - and urged that they be prominently displayed during the Queen's walkabout in the town.
  • 17 March: The Queen of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Australia starts a 15 day visit to her subjects downunder - her tenth since 1954. She will visit Sydney, Wagga Wagga, Bourke, Melbourne, Ballarat, Hobart, Launceston, Alice Springs, Perth and Canberra. She will not visit South Australia or Queensland where support for the monarchy is the highest. The visit will cost Australian taxpayers around $10m.
  • 23 February: There are plans to replace the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) with a new umbrella organisation for republican groups including direct electionists. The draft constitution for the new organisation to be called Republic Australia is now available - contact your local branch or forum of ARM
Quick Info

For a brief but useful guide to republicanism in Australia, see the entry in Wikipedia

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Woman for an Australian Republic, Adelaide Ironside, republican poet and artist, 1831-1867

Self portrait 1855, Newcastle Region Art Gallery NSW

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Senate Inquiry

Report of Senate Inquiry into the Republic Plebiscite Bill released 15 June 2009

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