Dec 18

Dilemma for Female Head of State Candidate in 2016

Sydney screen writer turned novelist and stauch republican of many years, Valda Marshall, has written The First President, a story of love and politics as Australia becomes a republic.  The book is set in 1920s Adelaide and, later, in Sydney in 2016 when a woman discovers that she could be closely related to the British Royal Family.  This happens while she runs to become the first President of the Commonwealth of Australia.  Read more in an interview with Valda Marshall  [Australia becomes a republic in 2016 by Katrina Adamski in The North Shore Times] and what she thinks about the republic debate since 1999.......

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Nov 18

Queen expresses Disapproval of Adult Nestling

Marilyn Jessop of ACT ARM lets us in on what the Queen thinks of Australia's reluctance to become a Republic after the annual National Republican Lecture.  Her very clever address from the Queen of Australia in verse, and equally clever imitation of her very English accent, delighted the large audience of dedicated republicans. They had come to hear Senator Bob Brown deliver the 2009 lecture.  Unfortunately, HM was unable to be there in person.

Download: the Queen's Message [113KB, pdf]

Nov 6

10th Anniversary of Referendum commemorated

WfaAR, together with the Australian Republican Movement and Real Republic representatives, laid baskets of black wattle on the Foundation Stone in front of Parliament House in Canberra to mark the tenth anniversary of the failed referendum on the Republic.  The event received wide media coverage.  All three republican groups emphasised their agreement that the people must have their say about severing constitutional ties with the British monarchy and decide their preferred selection method for Head of State.

Jun 23

Interviews with Active Women Republicans

Elizabeth Mullan, a student at the Australian National University, speaks about Engaging Women in the Republic at a meeting of ACT ARM. Elizabeth examined this topic during an internship with the ARM.  She interviewed active women republicans and academics including women from WfaAR.

Jun 18

Queen of Australia invited to National Capital Centenary

ACT Chief Minister responds to query from WfaAR about inviting the Queen to attend the 2013 centenary of Canberra celebration. The ACT Government has asked the Prime Minister to invite the Queen in her role as our head of state.

Download: Reply from ACT Government [44KB, pdf]

Download: Our letter [27KB, doc]

Jun 15

Senate Report on Republic Plebiscite Bill Tabled

The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee releases its report on Senator Bob Brown's (Greens Tasmania) proposal to hold a plebiscite at the next federal election. The Committee made no recommendations about the plebiscite (wording or timing) and came up with only two short recommendations on the need a) for constitutional education for the whole population and b) to engage the people, meaningfully, in any proposal for constitutional change including the republic. WfaAR's comment is that the republic is going nowhere at present and, in fact, that getting any movement at all is at its lowest ebb since 1999 given there is no interest in progressing it from either of the major parties. Such timidity - we deserve better. WfaAR's input to the Inquiry features prominently in the report.

Jun 10

Poll on Republic Support - 45% of Women In Favour

UMR Research releases an update of its November 2008 poll on the republic. 45 percent of women support; 32 percent oppose (compared with 57 percent to 28 percent of men). 46 percent of women support a referendum in the next parliamentary term 2010 to 2013; 38 percent oppose (compared with 60 percent to 30 percent of men). 82 percent of women support direct election; 9 percent support parliamentary appointment for the head of state (1000 online respondents, 16-21 May 2009). Refer to www.umrresearch.com.au

Jun 2

Republican Gathering 5 Media Release

Republican Gathering 5 media statement is released. Groups attending agreed to meet in future under the banner: Coalition of Australian Republicans. The next meeting will be held at the Gold Coast during 2010 convened by Real Republic Ltd (later cancelled).

Download: Media statement [24KB, doc]

May 30

WfaAR organises Republican Gathering 5

The annual Republican Gathering (this is the fifth one since 2005) takes place in Melbourne organised by members of Women for an Australian Republic, Judith Brooks and Anne Winckel, and ARM Victoria. WfaAR representatives presented papers on a number of topics including the 2009 Senate Inquiry into the Republic Plebiscite bill. Hot issues were the Government's response to the 2020 Summit recommendations on the Republic; the Greens stance on the republic and how to assist them get things moving; the implications of delaying the republic desired by the majority until the Queen dies (Republican Party of Australia); is a minimalist republic enough to convince the people to vote YES? (Republic Now!); ARM's new policy on the republic (let the people decide the way to select the head of state) and work on codifying the Governor-General's current powers. Guest speakers were Phil Cleary from Real Republic; Professor Marilyn Lake Latrobe University on the desirability of new narratives for a new nation and Peter Ellyard on leadership and the republic. The Gathering also considered up to date surveying carried out by UMR Research showing that strong preference for direct election continues in 2009 hovering around the 80 percent mark.

Apr 30

Two Very Serious Women reply

Professor David Flint, Chair of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, reveals his selective hearing and fertile imagination during WfaAR's evidence at the Senate Inquiry (see News item immediately below).  He describes our representatives on ACM's website as "two serious ladies from an organisation I had never heard of".  Memo Professor Flint, we are "women", not "ladies" - and our group has been active in the republican movement since 1999.

Apr 29

WfaAR gives Evidence to Senate Inquiry on Republic Plebiscite Bill

Women for an Australian Republic gives evidence to the Senate Committee inquiring into the Greens' bill for a single question plebiscite (non-binding vote) on the republic at the next federal election - Do you support Australia becoming a republic?  Other republican groups giving evidence were the ARM, the Copernicans, the Republican Party of Australia as well as Dr Klaas Woldring and Professor George Williams. WfaAR were the only women to appear before the inquiry. The Anti-Republicans were represented by the Australian Monarchist League, Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, Family Voice and Sir David Smith who argued that a plebiscite was inappropriate as it would amount to a vote of no-confidence in the Constitution or there should be a referendum instead or not required/a waste of money as the matter was settled for good in 1999. The republic supporters did not agree and were united in their rejection of the contention, popular with leading politicians in both the major parties, that nothing should/can be done about the republic until the Queen dies.

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Download: Our submission [48KB, doc]

Download: Opening statement [30KB, doc]

Apr 22

No Action on Republic out of 2020 Summit

The Government announces action on nine recommendations out of nearly 1000 ideas put forward at the 2020 Summit held in April 2008. The strongly supported move to a republic was not one of them. On this subject now under the heading "Constitutional Reform", the Government only commented that it recognises the priority placed on "constitutional reform" by the community and, further, that "it is committed to ongoing reform of our Constitution where appropriate and will draw on the input of the Summit in thinking about future possible proposals for constitutional change." This vague language indicates that the republic is a very, very long way down the Government's agenda and that we are not likely to see action anytime soon. WfaAR has written to the Prime Minister to protest the Government's short-sightedness and suggest action is required even to get us out of the mire resulting from the global financial crisis and to create a modern forward-looking and cohesive society.

Apr 3

GG says Australia will become a Republic

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, agrees with the Prime Minister that Australia will become a republic. She described the move as a "development of our democracy in future decades".

Mar 27

Australia to Have Say on Allowing Women Equal Rights to British Throne

Plans are afoot in England to change the rules of succession to give women equal rights to ascend the throne. Legislation has been introduced into the British Parliament by Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat MP. Interestingly, if passed, it will also have to be agreed by the Australian federal Parliament and the other 14 nations that currently have Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. BBC News also reports that a poll of 1,000 revealed that 76 percent thought that the monarchy should continue while only 18 percent were in favour of a republic in the UK.

Mar 6

Just Who is the Head of State?

In an official media release on his website, the Prime Minister refers to the Governor-General as "Australia's Head of State". This is either republic by stealth (a good sign) or someone has had a rush of blood to the head given this is not correct according to our Constitution.

Mar 6

WfaAR Thoughtful Contributor to Republic Debate

WfaAR is described as "a thoughtful contributor to public inquiries on the Republic" in a talk by Professor John Warhurst, Deputy Chair of ARM, part of the Senate Occasional Lecture Series at Parliament House, Canberra.  The subject of the lecture was the future outlook for the Republic.  Professor Warhurst is cautiously upbeat.

Mar 3

Australia's Terrifying Ties to Its Colonisers

Robyn Archer delivers the annual Manning Clark lecture in Canberra. She said playing Elgar at the climax of the film "Australia" is the best reason for a move to a Republic and comments that nearly all aspects of contemporary Australia display "terrifyingly deep ties to our colonisers". She says the Republic is "a matter of survival" but won't guarantee survival unless an appropriate national identifier is chosen by Australian leaders with authority. She goes for one simple question, then work out what sort of a republic it will be, and favours a republic with minimal change. She sees it important that the Republic continues our ties to Britain and the Westminster system and, most especially, one of our greatest riches, compulsory voting (note: compulsory voting is not part of the Republic debate; it is specified in legislation separate from the Constitution - WfaAR)

Feb 22

Head of Government Confusion at Bushfire Memorial Service

Princess Anne, represents her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, at the Victorian bushfire memorial service in Melbourne. She sat next to the Head of State's local representative, the Governor-General. The Queen made an undisclosed private donation to the bushfire appeal; Princess Anne said she would do likewise.

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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