The Courier-Mail

Noth­ing sin­is­ter in the cam­paign for re­pub­lic


IT SEEMS colum­nist Rowan Dean ( C-M, Aug 31) is the fran­tic fusspot call­ing the ket­tle black when he says those who want to write in­dige­nous Aus­tralians into the Con­sti­tu­tion and who also favour Aus­tralia be­com­ing a re­pub­lic, like my­self, are in­volved in an “Or­wellian ma­nip­u­la­tion of the past”.

He for­gets that since white set­tle­ment in 1788, Aus­tralia has been strongly egal­i­tar­ian, re­ject­ing the rigid class di­vi­sions of the “mother coun­try”. More than 100 years af­ter the writ­ing of the Con­sti­tu­tion, over 40 per cent of our na­tion are mi­grants, or chil­dren of mi­grants from coun­tries other than Bri­tain, and most of the other 60 per cent are gen­er­a­tions re­moved from their Bri­tish ori­gins. Nor does he men­tion that less than 40 years ago in­dige­nous Aus­tralians were non-cit­i­zens.

Dean tries to play off Noel Pear­son’s pro­posed in­dige­nous ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee against the monar­chy, say­ing it would be more “po­lit­i­cally pow­er­ful”.

So the in­dige­nous should, hav­ing a di­rect stake in our na­tion’s fu­ture, which our dis­tant and sym­bolic head doesn’t have. He even makes the fatu­ous com­ment that be­com­ing a re­pub­lic would “erase from mem­ory” a fun­da­men­tal part of history.

As for the ar­rant non­sense that the “spirit” of the An­zacs al­ways will be “un­flinch­ing loy­alty to the Crown”, can Dean show me where that was demon­strated in all the cel­e­bra­tions con­nected with this year’s mark­ing of the An­zac cen­te­nary (pic­tured)? John Vi­tale, Bald Hills

ROWAN Dean’s as­sess­ment of the dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing the up­com­ing ref­er­en­dum on con­sti­tu­tional recog­ni­tion for Abo­rig­ines was all too ac­cu­rate.

If the pro­posal is lost, the chat­ter­ing classes will ful­mi­nate end­lessly on Aus­tralians’ deep-seated racism. The truth will be much more pro­saic.

Many of us have be­come weary of the to­kenis­tic “welcome to coun­try” for­mal­i­ties that at­tend any af­fair big­ger than a backyard bar­be­cue. Di­vorced from the con­text of a peo­ple still liv­ing on their tra­di­tional lands, these de­based rit­u­als are a sham and many will vote “no” on this ac­count alone.

Many more will de­cline to give an ac­tivist High Court such a splen­did aid to fu­ture acts of ju­di­cial self-in­dul­gence.

There is vast good­will to­wards Abo­rig­ines, and there will be few racists among the naysay­ers, but, if the ref­er­en­dum is lost, blame the so­cial engi­neers. Terry Birch­ley, Bund­aberg

IN HIS “ser­mon” on why all Aus­tralians should be grate­ful to the Bri­tish, Rowan Dean ne­glected to men­tion the 50,000 young Aus­tralians who died in the Dar­danelles and on the Western Front be­cause of the mil­i­tary in­com­pe­tence of the Bri­tish com­man­ders.

Ob­vi­ously just an over­sight. Barry Ge­orge, Bray Park

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