Jan 1

2004 news archive

  • 30 December 2004: Australian newspapers reported that letters of credential and recall for Canadian ambassadors would be addressed to and approved by the Governor General, Hong Kong-born Adrienne Clark, rather than to Queen Elizabeth II who is also Queen of Canada. One of main reasons for the change was considered to be Canada's significant immigration from Asia since the 1980s.
  • 6 December: - Celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade again focus attention on the Republic and the lingering impact of British colonization. Christine Shaw of Woronora NSW put forward her views on the outdated design of the Australian flag: "When we really get ourselves organised and ditch our ties to England, may we please nominate the Eureka flag for our national flag. It's a beauty." she wrote to The Sydney Morning Herald.
  • 20 November: Can a monarchy be modern? Recent utterances by Prince Charles, who will be Australia's next head of state under the current arrangements, bring a new round of questioning about the relevance of monarchy to contemporary government. Joan Smith writing in The Independent (UK) newspaper summed it up this way: "With his spectacularly undistinguished career, disasterous marital history and grandiose self-delusions, Prince Charles is a prime candidate for therapy. What he most decidedly does not look like is a modern head of state."
  • 18 November: State Premier, Paul Lennon (Labor), announces the new Governor of Tasmania following the resignation of controversial republican, Richard Butler. There was consultation with the leaders of the Opposition Liberal and Greens parties before the appointment was recommended to the Queen, a first for the State.
  • 18 November: Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (SA) speaks in The Senate about the recommendations of "The road to a republic", the findings of the Senate Inquiry into the Republic. Her remarks can be found at www.aph.gov.au, Senate Hansard for 18 November, pages 140 to 142.
  • 18 November: "I believe we must prioritise reconciliation with our Indigenous community, embrace the diversity of our multicultural society and place confidence in our nation to be a strong and independent republic" - first speech made by new Labor member for Adelaide, 27 year old Kate Ellis in the House of Representatives. Other new members elected in the 2004 federal election to support the republic in their first speeches were former ARM Chair, Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal, Wentworth NSW); Convenor of Conservatives for an Australian Head of State, Andrew Robb (Liberal, Goldstein Vic) and former Midnight Oil lead singer and conservationist, Peter Garrett (Labor, Kingsford Smith NSW). The full text of first speeches can be found on members' sites at www.aph.gov.au, click on Who's Who.
  • 13 November: Prime Minister Helen Clark announces a constitutional stocktake in New Zealand. There are two very good background papers about the reasons for the review including issues such as the British monarch as NZ's head of state, appointment of the Governor General by the British Monarch and the symbolism of the Union Jack on the flag - all familiar to Australian republicans - to be found at www.beehive.govt.nz (search under Helen Clark/November 2004). Around 40 percent of New Zealanders are believed to support election of the head of state. The Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand (which supports direct or indirect election of the head of state) is following the progress of the constitutional inquiry on its website at www.republic.org.nz - the patron of the organisation is Keri Hulme, a writer and fisher. In June 2004, the NZ Justice Minister announced a proposal to modernise oaths sworn by MPs, Ministers, new citizens etc.
  • 6 November: The fifth anniversary of the Republic referendum - and so republicans move on, prepared for success and still passionate to achieve an Australian Republic with an Australian President.
  • 25 October: Liberal Cabinet Minister and determined life-long republican, Amanda Vanstone had a new take on an old theme at an address given at Burgmann College at the Australian National University. Speaking about the Queen, she said: "If you love this woman, then set her free", a message for all non-republicans to take to heart.
  • 7 October: Dr Germaine Greer, discusses the concept of Australia becoming an Aboriginal republic at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. She added that if this now sounded a ridiculous proposition, it should be remembered that an indigenous republic in South Africa would have seemed equally inconceivable 50 years ago. Dr Greer's latest book 'Whitefella Jump Up' tells Australians to wake up and realise that Australia's identity crisis could be saved by learning understanding from our Indigenous peoples (reported by David Seale in The Canberra Times).
  • 1 September: The Senate Inquiry on the Republic releases its 181 page report: "The Road to a Republic". One third of the 24 recommendations are aimed at improving community engagement in and education about constitutional matters urging the involvement of adult learning organisations and federal, state and local government. It is further recommended to use a variety of means/media to educate voters paying particular attention to ethnicity, gender and age. The report recommends that special efforts need to be made to ensure that Indigenous people are fully consulted and involved in the proposed process. Later recommendations on the process for the republic propose three compulsory votes including two non-binding ones (plebiscites). The first vote would indicate whether Australia would become a republic; if "yes", the second one would indicate voters preferred way of choosing the head of state. The next step would be a Drafting Committee, assisted by constitutional experts, to sort out the remaining issues and come up with the wording for the final referendum. The Committee's report is available at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/republic03/report/index.htm. The Committee had three female members: Senators Marise Payne (Liberal NSW), Linda Kirk (Labor, SA) and Natasha Stott-Despoja (Democrats, SA) all of whom attended the 1998 Constitutional Convention.
  • 31 August: Allison Henry, ARM National Director, speaks on Perspectives on ABC's Radio National about non-binding votes (plebiscites) and how they would advance the cause of the republic by allowing everyone to participate in decision-making. Read Allison's commentary here.
  • 30 August: ARM announces the result of National Council elections. There were 16 candidates - 8 women and 8 men. Three women were elected: Senator Marise Payne and Anne Henderson were re-elected and Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja was elected again after standing down at the last election. Together with Helen Millicer, the ARM State Convenor from Victoria, that makes a total of four women on the 17 member council.
  • 11 August: Professor Hilary Charlesworth from the ANU was guest speaker at a WfaAR and the ARM Women's Network breakfast in Canberra. Hilary talked about her experiences in conducting community consultations on the ACT Bill of Rights and what lessons she would pass on to republicans trying to achieve greater community interest and involvement in their propositions Here is the text of her speech.
  • 30 July: WfaAR provided further information to the Senate Committee about women delegates to the 1998 Constitutional Convention and on women's participation in voluntary voting for the Convention delegates in 1997. The results were surprising - in all States and Territorities the return rate of women's votes was higher than that for men; in NSW and the NT, it was significantly higher. Read this additional research here.
  • 29 July: The Senate Inquiry into the Republic holds its final hearing in Canberra.  Women for an Australian Republic was invited to appear and was represented by National Convenor, Sarah Brasch.  Sarah was only the seventh and final woman of 50 witnesses to speak to the Committee.  A copy of WfaAR 's opening address to the Committee can be read here.  The Committee questioned WfaAR about reasons why women do not appear to support the republic as strongly as men do and the implications of our support for voluntary voting for head of state.  The Senators also probed women's support for voluntary voting for delegates to the last Constitutional Convention and whether a voluntary system would discourage women and disadvantaged people from voting.  WfaAR's evidence given at this hearing can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/s-lc.htm

    or through http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/republic03/index.htm

  • 29 June: The next public hearing conducted by the Senate Inquiry into the Republic is held in Brisbane (the Townsville and Darwin hearings have been cancelled). Although witnesses again included representatives of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, local ARM representatives and other republicans who did not support the 1999 referendum vote such as Dr Clem Jones, former Lord Mayor of Brisbane and head of The Real Republic group, again no women will appear before the Inquiry. Transcripts and submissions are available at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/republic03/index.htm
  • 31 May: After five public hearings of the Senate Inquiry into the Republic, 36 witnesses have appeared before the committee. Only six have been women. In addition to those listed in the entry for 13/14 April, Janet Holmes a Court and Clare Thompson were invited to address the committee in Perth on 18 May; Louise Houston (submission 522) appeared in Adelaide on 19 May while in Hobart on 20 May, there were no women witnesses.
  • 14 May: This Country, A Reconciled Republic? a new book by Mark McKenna is launched at Manning Clark House in Canberra by Gatjil Djerrkura, from Yirrkala and former Chair of ATSIC, who also wrote the foreword. Djerrkura sadly and suddenly died at 54, a few days later.
  • 13 and 14 April: the first public hearings of the Senate Inquiry into the Republic are held at Parramatta and Melbourne. Of the 21 people invited to address the inquiry on these two days, only three are women, Allison Henry, National Director of ARM; Kerry Jones, Executive Director of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy and Associate Professor Kim Rubenstein from the Law Faculty at the University of Melbourne. Read Kim's submission to the Senate Inquiry here.
  • 31 March: 730 submissions from the public received by the Senate Inquiry into the Republic. They can be viewed online at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/republic03/index.htm
  • 30 March 2004: Read the Women for an Australian Republic submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Republic. The submission supports a direct election model as the most likely to be successful and promotes voluntary voting and restricted public funding for selection as means of reducing the political mandate of an elected president and the interest in the job by political parties. A purely ceremonial head of state is proposed which could just as easily be a woman as a man. Moderate constitutional change is promoted to bring about a republic, by means of Constitutional Conventions (at least 50% of fully elected delegates to be women), that will have the confidence of and be easily understood by voters. Simple and practical approaches to establishing a republic are proposed. Click here.
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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