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