Jan 1

2001 news archive

  • 15 December 2001: There was controversy about the Conference Follow-up Group which was formed to take forward the outcome of the convention called the Royal Hotel Resolution. (Click here for the Resolution). The 11 member group contained only one woman who was included because she was Deputy Chair of the Convention. This issue has not been resolved despite representations from concerned republican women. The first meeting of the Follow-up Group which is dominated by male members of the establishment eg retired High Court judges, the proponents of the proposals etc, was in Melbourne on 22 February 2002. ARM wrote to the Corowa Conference chair about the lack of women on the Enabling Committee which is following up the conference resolution.
  • 10 December: Anne Barber from WEL Sydney, co-author of the WEL/WIP proposal which was not considered by the convention, offers her impressions of the Corowa gathering.
  • 7 December: The Australian published a post-Corowa article by Professor Greg Craven of Perth who proposed one of the Corowa models but who revealed himself at the convention as being opposed to direct election. Jenny Katauskas and Louise Clegg, both from Sydney and members of ARM, responded. Read their letters to the editor.
  • 3 December: The Australian features two women who attended the Corowa Conference. Denva Poyntz, 16 from Moama near Echuca (Vic) told the conference that no one was asking the next generation what they want. She said that no one should assume that young people were not interested. She favoured the Craven proposal because it was asking what people wanted, not telling them what to do. Also pictured was Judith Brooks, a teacher from Barwon Heads near Geelong. She told the conference "People don't go to the supermarket and say "By God, I want a republic. But people do want an Australian head of state and they want leadership." Judith was also reported as saying that she was a former member of ARM who had left because she was disgusted with the headkicking of Malcolm Turnbull and the way that ARM thought they owned the republic. She thinks that ARM has changed but questions how much. "The way forward for the republic will be when the people stop being afraid of the politicians, and the politicians stop being afraid of the people, when the issue becomes one of unifying the nation and not dividing the nation, and when it becomes something we all move together on in a bipartisan manner. There has to be an exchange of trust." (Quoted from an article by Mike Steketee)
  • 1-2 December: People's Conference at Corowa, on the Murray River in southern New South Wales and site of the 1893 Corowa Conference, the first of the conventions leading up to Federation. The purpose of the 2001 Corowa People's Conference was to explore and harness the opinions of Australians to resolve the Head of State issue and put in place a process which will ensure an Australian in the top job, for example through a series of referendums, plebiscites, parliamentary inquiries and the like. The five proposals selected for debate by delegates addressed this issue from different perspectives and proposed different processes to achieve the common objective. Details of the proposals can be found on the Corowa website at www.corowaconference.com.au and click on Conference.
  • 14 November: Although submitted in time, the WEL/WIP proposal for selecting the Head of State was not among those put to the vote by paid-up delegates to the Corowa conference (about half the delegates were able to vote). No explanation for this was forthcoming. The five final resolutions to be considered at Corowa were all proposed by men, mostly academic constitutional lawyers, the exception being former television journalist and business identity, Bill Peach.
  • 10 November: the move to a republic loses political momentum with the return of a Liberal-National Party Government in federal election (but see also item on the Corowa Conference 1 December)
  • 1 November: Women Into Politics and Women's Electoral Lobby discussion paper prepared ahead of the Corowa People's Conference about selecting a Head of State. The paper concentrates on the involvement of women in the process and ensuring that there is gender equity in all processes of change for selection of the Head of State. It recommends that each electorate elect one male and one female representative to an Assembly to Elect the Head of State; proposes selection criteria for the Head of State including a record of public service other than paid employment and promotes community education. Click here to read the full discussion paper.
  • 19 October: ARM releases discussion paper on six models for Head of State. This is a short and informative read but doesn't contain any specific provisions to ensure equality of representation or in the selection processes for the President. There is a direct election model and one for an American-style President. Link is www.republic.org.au/6models/index.htm
  • 21 August - Margaret Kelly writes about the unique position of Prince Charles in Australia, "Whose law appoints Queen's successor" (The Australian)
  • 16 August: Women were again successful with increased numbers in the two-yearly elections for the 12 member Australian Republican Movement Branch committees in each State and Territory: NSW (7); Vic (3); Qld (3); SA (3); WA (4); Tas (4) NT (4); ACT (3). The National Council, however, has only two women out of 17 members. Women now make up 38% of membership of the Australian Republican Movement.
  • 9 August - Helen Irving writing in The Australian says that the constitutional debate must go back to the basics.
  • 6 August - Australians are reported as being more passionate about the republic with strong feelings for or against reaching the highest level on record (article by Dennis Shanahan in The Australian
  • 6 July 2001: Moves are afoot in Western Australia for State MPs and local government councillors to swear allegiance to the State and to the country. The State Attorney-General has foreshadowed legislation next year to remove outdated references to the Queen. Local government in WA voted in 2000 to make allegiance to the Queen optional at swearing-in ceremonies.
  • 29 June: Cubs and scouts have been given the option to promise allegiance and duty to Australia or to the Queen of Australia. After years of promising to do their duty to the Queen, the scouting hierarchy has recognised the changing relevance of the Queen to Australian children in the 21st century. The change to the Scout Promise, effective immediately, makes it more inclusive and reflective of Australian society (reported by Michelle Pountney in The Herald Sun)
  • 27 June: At Parliament House in Canberra, the national launch of the Women's Charter for Political Reform by Sydney organisation, Women into Politics. The Charter proposes People's Conventions as a means of fostering greater public participation in democracy and public policy making. Read the charter on WIP's site The Conventions will be a key part of the public debate necessary for Australia to become a republic, following the Constitutional and Women's Constitutional Conventions of 1998.
  • 21 June: Susan Ryan, Deputy President of the ARM, gives a public lecture at Deakin University in its Women in Leadership series: "Daughters of Federation, Mothers of the Republic". The main elements of the speech were reported in the Australian Financial Review the next day by Chief Political Reporter, Louise Dodson. Read the lecture here
  • 15 June: Several women speak at the Constitutional Centenary Conference on progressive law reform and constitutional renewal held by the Australian Fabian Society in Melbourne. They are: Sarah Joseph from Monash University ("Political Advertising and the Constitution"); Linda Kirk from the University of Adelaide and ALP Senate Candidate for SA ("Senate Powers and Possible Amendments Thereto"); Kim Rubenstein from the University of Melbourne ("Broadening the Republic Debate") and Caroline Sage who is doing a PhD at Newcastle University ("Courts and the Separation of Powers in a Contemporary Context"). For more information, contact the Australian Fabian Society, Australia's oldest political think tank on (03) 9826 0104 or race@netspace.net.au
  • 24 May: The Foreign Minister of Canada says that the country's "foreign" sovereign (also the British monarch) should be replaced by a Canadian. His view is that the head of state should reflect Canadian diversity and be chosen by Canadians. If Canada is slow to act, he thinks that Britain might ditch the monarchy first. Reported by Clare Dyer and Jeevan Vasagar in the Guardian Weekly.
  • 9 May: At the ceremonies commemorating a century of Australian parliamentary democracy in Melbourne, women spoke about the republic. Democrats leader, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja in her first major public speech as leader of the party, singled out the republic as a coming issue for Australia. Guest speaker, Hayley Eves 15, South Korean by birth and adopted by an Australian family as a baby, said Australia should have its own head of state. "I also hope one day in the future our head of state is one of us - he's [sic] amongst us - and is determined by the Australian people." She said that she had a free hand in writing her speech and believed that a republic would come. WfaAR notes that any future Australian head of state could well be a woman now among us and that steps should be put in place to ensure that the head of state of the republic alternates between women and men.
  • 25 April: Commenting on Peter Hollingworth's appointment in a feature article in The Australian, Kim Rubenstein from Melbourne argues that men don't have in inherent right to be the head of state and that women deserve a go at the top job. Read what she has to say here.
  • 22 April: The Prime Minister does not name a woman as our next Governor-General. The person recommended to the Queen for appointment is Peter Hollingworth, Anglican archbishop of Brisbane who supported a minimalist republican model at the 1998 Constitutional Convention.
  • 14 April: Debate about the future of the British monarchy has been reignited in the UK after a journalist tricked Sophie Rhys Jones, partner of the Queen's youngest son, into making comments which were later published in the British press. WfaAR continues to bring news about the regard in which the British monarchy, which supplies Australia's head of state, is held in its country of origin.
  • 9 April: Cheryl Kernot (Federal Member for Dickson, Qld) says that younger people leading political parties in Australia will appeal to younger voters whom she says want the established parties to focus more on "the environment, reconciliation and a republican future" instead of "ritual stag fights and scalp hunting over predominantly economic issues." Feature article in The Australian.
  • 7 April: The Sydney Morning Herald carries the news that only 46% of 18 year olds are enrolled to vote (27% in NSW). Newspoll's Sol Lebovic says that there are elements of conservatism among the youngest group of voters and the idea that eventually the time will come for the republic because young people will vote for it is misplaced. He says the strongest support for the republic was among 25 to 44 year olds in 1999. Report by Stephanie Peatling.
  • 5 April: Travis John writing in The Australian describes gameshow host, Cornelia Frances, as "every Aussie republican's loungeroom nightmare" saying that she is a pale imitation of the British television compere on which her role is based.
  • 2 April: Kerrie Tucker, MLA and member of the ACT Greens talked to ACT ARM about the Greens policy on the republic and having a head of state with only ceremonial duties. She also referred to recent debates in the ACT Legislative Assembly, which aroused strong feelings, over whether new members should have the choice of swearing allegiance to the Queen or making an affirmation  Refer to the Australian Greens policy of August 2000 on Australia as a republic at www.greens.org.au
  • 30 March: Zoe Bettison, Lynn Fraser, Raelene Willoughby and Trish Crossin were successful in ARM elections in the Northern Territory - 50% of the Branch Council is female; for results in other States, see our news update of 15 September 2000.
  • 26 March: Shades of Marie Antoinette. Stephanie Peatling writes in the Sydney Morning Herald about the ARM's desire to target rural women as influential supporters of the republic. Read her article, "Let them eat cake" say Republicans"   reporting ARM's view that rural women could help with cake stalls if nothing else. WfaAR finds much to quibble with in the views of ARM as reported in this article based on the strong support evident among rural women, including the CWA, for constitutional change at the Women's Constitutional Convention in 1998 and through personal contact since with articulate and well informed rural women supporting the republic.
  • 25 March: Britain's largest selling tabloid, the Sun, has lashed out at the political influence of the Queen and, for the first time, called for reform of the monarchy. While professing huge respect and affection for Elizabeth II, the Sun said in an editorial that "the fact that she has any role at all in our democracy is, to be frank, an international embarrassment".
  • 21 March: Marilyn Lake from Latrobe University and Judith Brett speak in Melbourne on "Symbolism and the Republic" at a meeting of the Melbourne Republic Group
  • 8 March: for International Women's Day, Brisbane journalist and media adviser to the Australian Democrats, Vivienne Wynter, presents a view on why women didn't vote for the republic for the Brisbane Institute (a think tank similar to the Sydney Institute). Read her paper: A Lifted Nation Lifts Women Up at www.brisinst.org.au/resources/wynter_women.html
  • 7 March: ARM's press release about its new Women's Republic Network and national women's organisations which have pledged support together with comments from prominent women supporters. Click here and also for supporting press release from the National Women's Media Centre  - the latter was picked up on ABC radio throughout Queensland.
  • 5 March: Associate Professor Gwyn Singleton from the University of Canberra addressed ACT ARM and talked of her observations speaking with women's groups during the referendum campaign. She found no great differences between the views of women and men on the republic but that there was a great need for education about the issues for all age groups.
  • 22 February: the Australian Republican Movement launches its Women's Republic Network. To join, you need to be a member of ARM. Read details here or to join ARM, www.republic.org.au Women for an Australian Republic commends this initiative but notes that it forms part of a substantial drive for members currently being conducted by ARM and, further, that political parties most often take an interest in women's issues only when seeking to bolster membership numbers or votes. We truly hope that the Women's Republic Network becomes a sustained initiative of the ARM and an important part of its efforts to include all members of the community in working towards the republic.
  • 27 January: Susan Ryan, Deputy Chair of the Australian Republican Movement writes about Women and the Republic in The Age (Melbourne). Click here.
  • 10 January: Barry Jones writes in the journal D!ssent about the ALP's polling on voter intentions just before the referendum. Gender issues figure prominently. Click here for full text.
  • 1 January: 3.55pm Women for An Australian Republic held a bell-ringing ceremony at its headquarters in Canberra for the Centenary of Federation. The event commemorated both the centenary and the failed 1999 referendum on the republic. National Convenor, Sarah Brasch, made a short speech and expressed a fervent hope that Australia will be a republic well before the end of the 21st century. The bells used were Celestial 5 windchimes made by the Bellingen Woodcraft Company (NSW) in 1992 ie around the time that the current republican campaign began to gather momentum.
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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