Jan 1

2005 news archive

  • 1 December 2005: Nicola Roxon's address to the new parliamentary republic group is printed in The Australian. She says their goal is to provide a non-partisan, cross-party forum for members of parliament who support having an Australian head of state, to play an educative role and to keep the issue on the constitutional agenda. WfaAR would like to see this group broaden its agenda to the Republic in general and what that means for Australia rather than confine their interests to a home-grown head of state.
  • 30 November 2005: Emma Tom concludes in her opinion piece in The Australian that the down-to-earth farm worker Wendy Slack-Smith, who was runner-up in the Australian Princess competion (a reality TV show) to become hitched to a rich Englishman, could put her skills to much better use as..... the first president of the republic. She is described as "a fine human being".
  • 20 November 2005: a cross-party parliamentary republic support group is launched in the national parliament in Canberra. Two of the three convenors are women: Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (Democrats SA) and Ms Nicola Roxon, ALP Member for Gellibrand in the lower house and shadow Attorney-General. They are joined by Senator Mitch Fifield (Liberal Vic).
  • 26 October 2005: a poll in a tabloid newspaper finds former Aussie, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, is preferred to Prince Charles as Australia's next head of state.
  • 12-13 August 2005: Women for an Australian Republic was represented at a meeting of all republican groups. WfaAR identified its priorities as passion for the campaign; action at grass roots level not just lobbying directed at politicians; working together on the hard issues and identifying ways to sustain campaigners on the road ahead. We cautioned that the Republic should mean a lot more to people than merely working out a way to select the head of state and that women and Indigenous people had to be involved in all aspects of creating the Republic.
  • 6 August 2005: ARM National Director, Allison Henry, was invited to be one of two young women working in the political sphere, who spoke in Old Parliament House Canberra to celebrate the 30th anniversary of International Women's Year in 1975.
  • 24 June 2005: Prominent New Zealanders, among them former Governor-General Dame Cath Tizzard, call for a new flag to distinguish it from the Australian flag. Prime Minister Helen Clark went further saying that she would like the Union Jack to be removed. NZFlag has launched a petition to secure 300,000 signatures for a referendum to be held on the flag at this years general election in New Zealand. For more information: www.nzflag.com
  • 11 June 2005: Pam Casellas writing in The West Australian reports that the Governor-elect is urging Western Australians to engage in constructive debate about Australia becoming a republic. His pre-decessor had similar views. This is encouraging news from the West: WA voted strongly against the Republic in the 1999 referendum.
  • 15 April: Practical steps towards severing ties with the British monarchy quietly continue to be implemented. Last year, the NSW Branch of the Country Women's Association voted to stop singing God Save the Queen at meetings, the National Song Poll (plebiscite) having chosen Advance Australia Fair as the national anthem in 1977! Following the example of other States, the NSW and WA parliaments are currently considering omitting reference to the Queen from the oath of allegiance for parliamentarians and public officials. In NSW, Crown land is now called State land. Senior Counsel has for some time replaced the term Queen's Counsel (Sourced from John Warhurst's weekly column in The Canberra Times)
  • 6 April: That tireless republican, Senator Amanda Vanstone, renews her call for an Australian Republic albeit one that entails minimal changes to the Constitution to install an Australian head of state. Senator Vanstone, a senior Minister in the Howard Government, cautioned republicans against bagging the monarchy and monarchists in a speech at the University of Adelaide. Elizabeth Colman writing in The Australian also reported that Senator Vanstone is understood to be considering "a full-scale campaign to back the push [involving other Coalition MPs in a new cross-party support group] including the distribution of T shirts with a picture of the Queen and the slogan: "if you love her, set her free".
  • 11 March: The official visit of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and her husband to Australia winds up. The 33 year old Hobart-born royal was a huge hit with crowds of women who turned out to greet and see her in a replay of the Diana-mania that fixated the country in 1983. Among detailed and lengthy descriptions of her glamorous wardrobe, Princess Mary was described as turning out in a "flirty white skirt" to view a mob of kangaroos in the grounds of Government House in Canberra. This again highlights the eagerness of Australian women to be seduced by the romance of monarchy and the "princess for a day" syndrome so beloved of local women's magazines - and it does not bode well for the next republic referendum. Even mature commentators and letter writers took leave of their senses and called for Australia to become part of the Kingdom of Denmark in order to adopt Mary and Frederik as our heads of state. In contrast, the immediately following but more business-focussed and less photographed visit of Crown Princess Victoria, heir to the Swedish throne, hardly raised a jot of interest.
  • 3 March: Allison Henry, National Director of the ARM, speaks at The Sydney Institute about Prince Charles' visit. She contends that Charles knows and has known for some time that Australia's "borrowed monarchy" has worn out its welcome, referring to remarks that he made about Australia's apparent preference for a republic on his last visit in 1994. She thinks that swinging voters stick with the Queen but will vote republican when they contemplate King Charles III on the English throne. An extract of her speech was published in The Age.
  • 2 March: Nicola Roxon, Labor Shadow Attorney-General, writes about Charles as a relic of another era and claims that his visit was completely overshadowed by that of the future Queen of Denmark in a feature article in The Australian. She says that the simultaneous royal visits command us to think again about our odd Constitution which provides for someone so far away, so disconnected with our country as our head of state. And she outlines Labor's approach to the change: expansion of the debate by going back to the basics and asking what we think the role of our head of state should be; what powers should they have and what should be their relationship to the Government? Should their powers be limited by words in the Constitution or simply by convention? Should we codify the existing system or opt for another model like the one in Ireland?
  • 26 February: The impending British royal marriage has a dramatic impact on support for an Australian republic - factor in Charles and Camilla and women's support for an Australian republic skyrockets! A Galaxy Research survey published in The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) with a sample size of 400 adults over 16 throughout Australia shows 50 percent of female respondents in favour, 17 percent uncommitted and 33 percent against when asked "If Prince Charles and Camilla were Australia's head of state, would you be in favour of Australia becoming a republic?" (note that 64 percent of women compared with 59 percent of men were in favour of Charles stepping aside for William). In the same survey, 44 percent of women compared with 53 percent of men were in favour of Australia becoming a republic and when asked when the next referendum should be: 33 percent of women (43 percent men) nominated in this term of parliament; 45 percent of women (41 percent of men) opted for the next 3 to 10 years; 16 percent of women (10 percent of men) said "never" and six percent of both sexes were undecided.
  • 18 February: Polly Toynbee writes in The Guardian Weekly that she wished Charles and Camilla had eloped to Gretna Green to avoid the avalanche of "monarchalia". She ponders whether Camilla is planning a quick trip to the IVF clinic in Rome that supplies babies to the post-menopausal and labels this all rather disgusting "and certainly not a dignified way of arriving at who should be head of state." She calls upon Prime Minister Blair to set up a constitutional convention after the next general election to look at the question of a second British republic. She says that Charles is not warmly embraced as the next monarch and few care one way or another about his marriage. She hopes that Camilla will be a wise influence on Charles and speculates that the marriage will be a watershed reopening debate about the monarchy. She thinks that if Charles were clever "he might convene a great constitutional convention himself. The very least he might propose is a referendum to gain the consent of the people before ascending the throne" - WfaAR comment: now there's a novel use for a referendum.
  • 11 February: The announcement of Prince Charles' (future King Charles III of Australia) marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles (possibly to be our Queen Camilla) on 8 April brought a new flurry of republican sentiment and increased membership for republican groups.  Jenny Katauskas of Wahroonga NSW had her views published in The Australian - click here.
  • 7 February: The Prime Minister of Barbados announces that voters would be involved in making the decision on whether Barbados would become a republic by the end of 2005 taking the country "to a higher and mature plane of political development". It is proposed that Barbados become a parliamentary republic with a ceremonial head of state while remaining a member of the Commonwealth. The small Caribbean island (pop 275,000) was colonized by Britain in the 1600s and became independent in 1966. The idea of a republic was first explored by a constitutional review in 1979. A second review in 1996 found that Barbadians were in favour of electing their head of state (report by AAP Reuters).
  • 28 January: Senator Lyn Allison, leader of the Democrats, speaks in favour of the Republic in response to the Newspoll results published on Australia Day. Kim Beazley replaces Mark Latham as Leader of the Opposition and publicly states his continuing support for an Australian Republic.
  • 26 January 2005: A Newspoll published in The Australian asked people if they were in favour of Australia becoming a republic. 40 percent of women were either strongly or partly in favour with 38 percent against and 22 percent uncommitted (this compares with 51 percent of men in favour, 33 percent against and 16 percent uncommitted; overall 46 percent of those polled were in favour with 19 percent uncommitted). The sample size was 1200 in all States; adults aged over 18 and taken in both city and country areas. This is the lowest level of support for this question recorded by Newspoll since July 1999 with support previously running consistently in the low 50 percents since August 1999 just before the referendum.
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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