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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