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Imagine - Autumn 2007

Imagine - Autumn 2007

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Published by Chris
The Autumn 2007 edition of Imagine magazine, published by the British pressure group Republic.

Republic advocates for the abolition of the monarchy in favour of a republic.

http://www.republic.org.uk/
The Autumn 2007 edition of Imagine magazine, published by the British pressure group Republic.

Republic advocates for the abolition of the monarchy in favour of a republic.

http://www.republic.org.uk/

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Published by: Chris on May 02, 2011
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GRAHAM SMITHAfter eleven yearsin opposition theAustralian Labor Party took power onNovember 24th.Now the stage is set,and once again Australia will beasked: “Do you want an AustralianHead of State?” This time aroundthey’re unlikely to say no.Labor’s defeat of pro-monarchy PMJohn Howard will have a huge effecton the republican debate. Their newstar leader, Kevin Rudd, has alreadycommitted to allowing Australians asecond chance to abandon the Crownin favour of an Australian Head of State. The first attempt was in 1999,and was defeated by a pro-monarchycampaign led by none other than theformer Prime Minister.Contrary to the fantasies pedalledby monarchists back here in the‘mother-country’, the’99 vote was notan unswerving pledge of loyalty to‘Her Maj’. In fact it was quite theopposite – the Australians weren’tsaying ‘no’ to a democraticalternative, they were saying ‘yes’ tothe most democratic alternative, butone that wasn’t on offer: a Head of State elected by popular vote.Australian’s have wanted their ownHead of State for some time now,since well before the 1999referendum. According to Professor John Warhurst of the AustralianNational University and the AustralianRepublican Movement, since 1993the Australian Election Survey hasshown the republican majority “hasalways been about two-thirds of theelectorate”. Among youngAustralians a staggering 90% wantAustralia to cut its last colonial tieswith the UK. The issue is genuinelycross-party, with Labor, the AustralianDemocrats and the Greens (nowAustralia’s third party) all supporting arepublic. The conservative Liberalshave been held back only by their leader, who is now on his way out.Given that widespread support andthe lessons learnt from the firstattempt, it is all but certain thatAustralia will be a republic within thenext five to ten years. The debatecould get underway as early as themiddle of next year. Labor sourceshave suggested the referendum couldtake place in 2010, the likely date of the next federal election.Such a move would be a major earthquake under the foundations of the monarchy. For the first time inliving memory (perhaps in history) apeaceful and prosperous democracywill freely choose to abandon thisfeudal relic in favour of ademocratically elected Head of State.Australia will be big news back herein the UK and around the world –news about the debate; news aboutthe referendum and the result; newsabout the transition; news about theelection of the first Australian-bornHead of State. Every time this topicis raised, the question willautomatically be asked: if Australia,why not Britain? And every time it isasked, supporters of the status quowill find it that much harder to answer,because there is no good answer.What Australia can and wants to do,Britain can and should want to do.Moreover the debate will be further reinforced by Canada and NewZealand, not to mention other smaller Commonwealth nations, all of whomwould likely follow Australia down therepublican path. New Zealand’sPrime Minister is on side, and recentpolls show that over half of Canadians now support severing tieswith the British monarchy – and thatsupport is across the politicalspectrum. The Australian debatecould set off a chain reaction whichwould, at the very least, leave the UKas the only remaining Commonwealthcountry with the Queen as Head of State.Perhaps the biggest effect anAustralian republic will have will bethe inspiration it will give torepublicans in the UK, and theexample it will set for all of us.Australians will prove beyond doubtthat this change is not the enormousundertaking monarchists like to thinkit is. Australia will show that pride inone’s nation, love of one’s country,does not have to be articulated by abackward looking obsession withoutdated institutions – it can bedemonstrated loud and clear, aroundthe world, by taking a strong and boldstep toward a more democratic andforward looking society. Australia willprove false all the hollow argumentsof the monarchists: that theconstitutional changes are toocomplex; that the transition toopainful; that from among our citizenswe cannot choose one upstandingwoman or man to represent us; thatnational identity is bound up with theWindsor family.Although the headline figures in UKopinion polls have barely shifted inrecent years, attitudes towards themonarchy have. Much of theinstitution’s support is reserved solelyfor the Queen. At 81 she isapproaching the twilight years of her reign, and the debate about thesuccession will grow in tandem withthe debate in Australia. Had Australiachosen a republican future twentyyears ago the effect back here mayhave been limited. Today newstravels further and faster, and our changed attitudes toward celebrityand royalty will make the ground thatmuch more fertile for the republicancause. The changing of the guard inthe Australian House of Representatives is set to have longlasting implications for the House of Windsor.
 
2
 Imagine
 
LESSONS LEARNTCHANGING ATTITUDES
New PM, Rudd the republican.
A version of this article originallyappeared on the Guardiannewspaper’s websitewww.guardian.co.uk/comment
 
 
 
Imagine
 3
I would like to add my voice toRepublic’s campaign to mitigate theBBC’s clearly biased report tocovering the royal family. I havealready seen the internet page thatyou have created, and I have justtoday written to Points of View toexpress my dissatisfaction with thissituation; is there anything more I cando? (
Ed: See page 11
)Thomas AbbottCheshire
 I’m just writing to say how much Ienjoyed October’s AGM. It was agreat opportunity to get to know other Republic members, and the speakerswere all very interesting to listen to.As I was born near Tregaron, I wasglad to see Leanne Wood havingsuch a prominent role and providingsuch a good voice for Welshrepublicans.David WilsonLincoln
 I heard some of the remarks at theAGM a couple of weeks ago, andwhat the fellow said about the newwarships has had me thinking. Howabout we at Republic have a go atgetting the Admiralty (or whatever itmight be calling itself these days) tore-open the consultation? I’ve signedthe petitions on the Downing Streetwebsite, so I was thinking that weshould draw up a petition along thoselines, and see how many people wecan get to sign up.Sandra StephensBristol
Did anyone else see the news aboutthe Queen’s visit to Romsey? Thetotal bill for the three-hour visit, takingin Romsey Abbey, a walkaboutparade and service at the town hall,was £58,000. This included £5000for a new toilet for Liz! What ascandal! And yet still some localpeople said it was all worth it. I don’tknow who’s worse - the royals for wasting our money, or people like theRomsey councillors who said theywere too embarrassed to cancelwhen they realised the true cost.Gary BillingsLiverpool
 If you would like to contribute an articleto Imagine email imagine@republic.org.uk or call Graham Smith on 08708508 825 and ask for a copy of theWriter’s Guidelines.
If you would prefer to receive
Imagine 
by email, please send an email to imagine@republic.org.uk
It was a pleasure anda privilege to be ableto meet many of our members at the recentAnnual Conference. Itwas a particular pleasure because thisconference was anopportunity to tellmembers more aboutour exciting plans and ambitions for the coming months and years.As Graham Smith told the meeting,the Board of Directors recentlyadopted a five year developmentplan, which includes campaigningstrategies, financial targets andoutlines our growth as anorganisation.In 2005 Republic received asubstantial legacy which has allowedus to employ staff and expand our activities. The Board of Directorsmade the conscious decision tospend the bulk of this money over a3-5 year period, in order to establishstrong foundations upon which tobuild for the future. This singlecontribution has made a hugedifference to our campaign. Now, inlight of our plans for the next fiveyears, Republic has secured newfunds to employ a full-time fundraiser.We are confident that the new
Development Manager,
as the postwill be called, will be able to bring inthe funding needed for us to meetour targets.The development of our plans,which include growth of paid andvolunteer staff, increased members,better media exposure and thelaunch of a major new campaignproject, is particularly well timed.With Australia now returning to thequestion of their own head of state,the future of the monarchy will bethrown into sharp focus. As Grahamargues in this edition of 
Imagine 
, thedebate will not stop at the shores of Sydney Harbour, it will rumble onaround the world, triggering movestowards a republic in Canada, NewZealand and, we believe, back herein the UK.
 
The Australian movement is justone reason we are optimistic aboutthe future of our own campaign. Withthe new plans for growth and fundingin place, Republic is preparing amajor new campaigning initiative:
Republic 2025 
. This project is aimedat kick-starting a national debateabout the process of reform whichwill lead to the abolition of themonarchy. It is intended to allow usto side-step any sentimentalitypeople have for the Queen and tocreate a sense of inevitability aboutthe prospect of a British republic.Developed with the assistance of marketing and campaigningprofessionals,
Republic 2025 
is anexciting project, and one I’m sure willput Republic squarely on the map of public political debate.Of course we’re not there yet. Allour plans rely on our ability to attractthe funding we need to continue thecampaign. The next five years willprovide Republic with excitingopportunities, and substantialchallenges. We believe we’re readyto meet those challenges head on.
 
JohnCampbell
 
Republic
 
PO Box 69BrightonBN50 9GSTel/Fax: 08708 508 825www.republic.org.ukenquiries@republic.org.ukPhotographs: Stephen Burrows
...A message from the Chair...
 

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