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The International Crown
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, Toowoomba, 1 March 2009
George Bougias -- ACM
- Highlight the international / cosmopolitan and other qualities of the Australian Crown and Constitutional Monarchy around in general
- Discuss the history of the Greek Constitutional Monarchy as a case study; and
- Raise some issues for consideration in trying to reach (and build support amongst) Australians from a non-English speaking background
The presentation has three sections:
- The Crown as International (and its other qualities)
- Case Study -- The Greek Royal Family and Lesson from the Struggle for the Hellenic Crown
- Australia, the International Crown and the Australian Community -- A Reflection
THE CROWN AS INTERNATIONAL (AND ITS OTHER QUALITIES)
Why are we here?
We are here again because, as it is said, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The Crown is a guardian of our freedoms and we know what it takes to defend it. We are also here, people from a diverse range of backgrounds and parts of the country, of varying ages and with different ideas, because we all believe in the role of the Crown and what it symbolises. There are many Australians who share these sentiments and feel them deeply. We are not alone.
And while Australians are unique in various ways, we are not alone in our admiration and support of our Constitutional Monarchy. Beyond this great country, many other peoples have embedded the traditions of Monarchy in their public and social life, expressing their support and their need for it through various ways, not least through their Constitutions.
Global and National Contexts
Ladies and gentlemen, we meet at a critical time.
Apart from the global uncertainty that surrounds us, through the global financial crisis and the the "War on Terror" for example, there is, I believe a deeper and worrying undercurrent present in many of our societies.
This undercurrent is complex, and it is has to do with a huge vacuum being felt by people, but a key element is one of a crisis of confidence. And this crisis of confidence is often directed at our public life and sense of community. This is why, for example, we often hear about the need to promote "social capital" from both sides of politics.
But this crisis of confidence is in no small way due to the activities of many of those who we ourselves have given the task of leadership. Instead of building confidence and community, many of our elected officials are destroying it.
There are many examples here but I believe that the push for a Republic in recent years was a perfect example of some trying to destroy an essential part of our identity and culture and, in the process, our community and confidence as a nation.
The recent Senate Inquiry into the Republic, which seems to have already decided that we are to have a Republic before the process has even begun, is a case in point. Events in Australia are, to some extent, mirrored overseas both now and over the last century to varying degrees, with attacks on the Constitutional Monarchy and form of democracy.
However, it is now that our Constitutional Monarchy and that of other countries, together with those of us who recognise the strength of our current arrangements, has an important role to play in displaying leadership.
I would argue that that a study of the strengths and qualities of the Constitutional Monarchy, with a focus on its internationalist and other positive qualities, can do much to help restore a sense of community and help us in defending it against its enemies.
The Qualities of a Constitutional Monarchy
Let us begin with the fundamentals and start with the features of our system.
Constitutional Monarchy works -- The domestic and international evidence
Constitutional Monarchy is one of the finest forms of government ever devised and I say this, first and foremost, based on its results and the evidence.
Many fine countries around the world are Constitutional Monarchies, including Belgium, The Netherlands, the Scandinavian States (Denmark, Norway, Sweden) and of course Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Around half of the nations in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, are Constitutional Monarchies.
International studies reveal the success of constitutional monarchies. For example, Constitutional Monarchies are amongst the least corrupt and amongst the best nations in the world for promoting human development.
Our Crowned Democracy -- We are already a "Republic"
Many argue that we have to become a republic to achieve certain things. However, this misses they crucial fact that our system of Government is already a Republic, indeed a "crowned Republic".
This is because by choosing the party we want to govern us at election, and having the option to choose our Constitutional system, we show we already are Republic. Some say that the 1999 referendum was actually a Republican process. ... Australians voted to remain a Constitutional Monarchy and to keep Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as their Sovereign!
The confusion arises, in my view, because the "Republicans" don't actually know what a republic is. In the Greek language for example, the distinction between democracy and Republic is virtually not-existent. One word is used for both a democracy and a Republic -- and that word is "Dimokratia".
A Constitutional Monarchy in Greek is called a "Basilevomeni Dimokratia", literally, a "Crowned", or "Royal Republic".
A Republic of the sort the Australian people rejected in 1999 is a "Proedrovemeni Dimokratia" or a Presidential Republic.
Is Australia not a democracy? Then we are also a "Republic"!
But our system of Government gives us the best of both worlds.
Professor David Flint, in his excellent book the "Cane Toad Republic", quotes Sir Henry Parkes who explains what we have marvellously well.
"The word republic, as everyone ought to know, does not convey any necessary distinction between one form of constitution and another. Every constitution is in reality a republic. There is just as much a republic in England as there is in the United States, the only difference being, that in the one case the word is not used, and in the other it is."
And the Queen herself has acknowledged that she is there to serve the nation and is there as long as the nation wants her to be there. In 1997 for example she noted "... an hereditary constitutional monarchy exists only with the support and consent of the people."
In my mind, this is a "Crowned" or "minimal" Republic -- but it is still a Republic.
Better still, we can say, we have a "Crowned Democracy".
I note in passing that the motto of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia is "To Crown Democracy". I think that sums up the Constitutional Monarchist position pretty well.
So why do some politicians still waste taxpayers funds by pursuing this issue, and a second class democracy I might add, when the people have told them to focus on the important issues and that they are happy with their "Crowned Democracy"?
The Crown and its interdependence with other institutions
Another quality of the Australian Crown, and one that it shares with so many other Crowns around the world, is that it is the oldest institution in the nation and intrinsically and inextricably linked to so many of our other institutions and symbols of nationhood.
In Australia, we have our English language, our common law system, our Parliaments and our various customs and traditions.
They are all part of our Australian way of life and are uniquely Australian.
Our Constitution is a living document for various reasons and not least because it has the Crown as its starting point and the Crown is a living symbol.
To remove the Crown is to sever the relationship with these other institutions. However, this is what the Australian Republican Movement's (ARM) type of Republicanism seeks to do.
ARM fails to recognise the interdependence and complexity of these relationships, most often than not I would argue, because they have not fully understood our own culture or history or what the Crown offers.
The precedent for trying to tear-apart constitutions and start again is well-established. This, I think, is a form of social-engineering and, in trying to socially-engineer societies, various ideologues, most often those of the totalitarian type have sought to remove the Crown. The Crown has been at the heart of these societies, living organisms if you like that are all interconnected. It is sheer folly to assume that you can remove the Crown and not change the Constitution, or most importantly, change the society.
With no Crown, there is no Constitution.
World history proves the centrality of the Crown in public life in many countries.
The most obvious and dramatic example of what happens when the Crown is removed was in Russia with the brutal murder of the Tsar and his family (now all recognised in the Orthodox Church as saints I might add), a hideous and barbarous act which ushered in communism, probably the most evil movement that has ever existed.
Once the Crown went, it was not long before the Church, family, private property and freedom itself were under attack and then finally "abolished".
Monarchy as Culture, Character and Ethos
Monarchy around the world is intimately linked to the cultural identities and histories of nations. This is as true for Australia as it is true of other countries.
Greek history for example, is filled with the realisation of the concept of kingship. Kingship is an integral part of every epoch of Greek history: from the ancient era when Kings such as Alexander the Great of Macedonia and Leonidas of Sparta made their mark on the then known world, to the Christian Roman (or "Byzantine") Emperors, to the current Dynasty.
In Australia, we always have been a Constitutional Monarchy. Republicans argue that we must become a Republic to be Australian but I must ask, am I less of an Australian because I am a Constitutional Monarchist?
And are the men and women who fought for "God, King and Country", less Australian than the Republican elites who push the Republican agenda? I think not.
In contrast, however, Republicanism is not really part of the Australian tradition, history or our culture. Our country came into being peacefully with the consent of the people and with the blessing of the Crown. We have always reaffirmed the centrality of the Crown.
It is interesting to note that debates which forced a "Queen or Country" decision on Australians always begin with a misrepresentation of history -- a perfect example being former Prime-Minister Keating's charge that Britain had "abandoned" Australia in the Second World War.
The Monarchy is an institution that cuts across time and place and is a constant feature of many societies, I believe in the same way that the family is.
Monarchy as dynamic -- yet stable and continuous
One of the most important features of modern successful societies is the ability to change and to respond to change.
It would seem that we here in Australia have a system that does exactly that and does it very well -- indeed, it has withstood the test of time.
Our Constitution is not static nor set in stone. It is very flexible and accepts change carefully, evolving with the times.
Arguably, our monarchy is more flexible than a republic. Compare the American Presidency of today with that of George Washington and then compare our Monarchy of today with that of King George IIII. The American Presidency has changed very little while, in contrast, our system has evolved with the times but always in line with the times, never once being a cause for bloody revolutions and other dramatic changes.
Drastic changes to systems of Government, such as those proposed by those who want us to have a second class republic, can often be disastrous as the pages of history testify. This is often the case because dramatic changes that are driven by often dubious ideologies, and clothed in vague concepts and terminology to make them more appealing to the public, are a veritable Pandora's box. In contrast, Monarchy is an ancient but timeless institution that offers continuity.
Many people are inspired by this and by the personal examples of many Monarchies and their families that have served their nations well. In a time of drastic change, it is good to know that the Monarchy offers continuity, reassurance and stability.
Monarchy as Community -- A basis of a Civil Society
In contrast to the rampant individualism of many Republics, especially the United States, the most community orientated and inclusive nations are those that are Constitutional Monarchies. Examples include the Scandinavian States, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. All these countries have both a robust commitment to community welfare and have chosen to retain their Monarchies.
The community welfare aspect of the Monarchy is an ancient one. In days gone past, allegiance was given to a King in return for protection. This protection was gradually extended to community welfare and the promotion of social justice. For example, in the Christian Empire of New Rome-Constantinople ('Byzantium'), both the Church and the Emperor provided for orphans, widows and other underprivileged groups. What is more, this care was provided at a personal level, with compassion and was directed by an intense spirituality. It was not the cold and impersonal welfare bureaucracies of today.
This tradition has continued today, with many Monarchies around the world actively engaged in a variety of worthy causes helping many different groups.
These Monarchies provide the human touch so much needed in modern welfare provision and to the national psyche and serve as positive role models for the rest of the community. They also provide that aspect of Monarchy which is service and self-sacrifice and fulfils that stated in the Gospels "but many that are first shall be last and the last shall be first."
Prince Michael of Greece puts it well when he says:
"This, if they are worthy of the tradition they symbolise and of the title they bear, kings reassure a public worries by modern problems and lend it confidence by the continuity they provide. When Kings assume their position with both pride and modesty, and show that they posses the necessary virtues, especially dignity, self-denial, a capacity for hard -- work, and a sense of duty, they offer a role model to respect, admire and even love."
I think it is not a coincidence that the excessive individualism in many societies today is inextricably linked to loss of a sense of community and the rejection of the Monarchy and all that this institution embodies. The Monarchy today embodies "continuity, compassion and love of country" and all these are essential to strong and healthy communities.
Monarchy as International, Cosmopolitan and Multicultural
Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of our system of Government is that it is truly international, cosmopolitan and multicultural.
Our Sovereign is also, at the same time, the Sovereign of other countries and together we form a Commonwealth of Nations. Our Sovereign's relatives -- whether ancestors or descendants -- are drawn from the four corner of the globe.
When I meet a Canadian, a New Zealander or someone from Papua New Guinea, I feel an immediate infinity because our Sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II -- even though our nations have separate and distinct Crowns.
Monarchy as International, The "Princess Mary" factor ...
Princess Mary, is I feel, a blessing for Australian and other Monarchists. Please allow me to share some thoughts.
Apart from the fact that the Royal Couple are absolutely wonderful, and will make a fine King and Queen, we in Australia can expect a stream of good news from Denmark where the Monarchy works superbly. This can only discredit republicanism in this country and everywhere else.
Of course, the fact that "Our Mary" is an Australian will show the international and unique nature of the Monarchy and the Crown. Arguments from republicans and other short-sighted commentators that we in Australia have a foreign Monarchy should, and I hope will, have much less weight.
If the Danish people were as racist as our republican commentators, they would not have accepted Princess Mary.
I would love to see more of the Danish Royal couple and I am sure it will do all Monarchist causes a great deal.
Moreover, as an Australia of Greek descent I also feel an affinity with His Majesty King Constantine and the Greek Royal Family. These are my other cultural ties and they strengthen my Australian heritage because the King the Greek Royal Family has also close family connections with HM Queen Elizabeth. And this is not least because Prince Phillip belongs to the house of Greece, which incidentally, and I believe this supports my point on internationalism, was actually of Danish origin.
Many today want to talk about globalisation and internationalism but this often has much more to do with bureaucracies and rules than issues of the heart such as Monarchy, family and traditions. All these have been international since day one.
In contrast, it is no secret that early Australian Republicanism was linked to a narrow form nationalism and racism, both against our Royal Family and new immigrants. But I ask, is there not a hint of racism when their ideological descendants still rail against the what they see as the "foreign Queen" or argue that we must play down our European heritage to appease other racial groups. Interestingly, this politically correct form of racism held by some Australian Republicans mirrors that of many Greek Republicans who argue that the King Constantine is not Greek! Indeed, I find this brand of racism a common theme amongst many who deny Monarchist Institutions. They argue that monarchs are all foreigners but in the words of Prince Michael of Greece:
"These "foreigners" have never stopped adapting to their adoptive countries, imbuing themselves with their local character, devoting themselves to them body and soul, and embodying their national identity."
Monarchy as Independent and Unifying
Constitutional Monarchies provide a unifying and independent point of reference for all people in a society regardless of race, colour or creed.
One need only think of the diverse groups in our larger community, the Commonwealth, which includes a diverse range of countries such as Papua New Guinea and Canada. Which institution can unite such a different group of people?
An independent and unifying centre is also important for the police and defence forces, the public service, the justice system, Executive Government and many other institutions because politicisation of these bodies causes irrevocable harm. In a Constitutional Monarchy, all these bodies are temporary office-holders under the Crown -- the institution that denies absolute power thereby short-circuiting "delusions of grandeur."
And in Constitutional Monarchies across the world, this is a common element across this form of Government, as these groups owe their allegiance first and foremost to the Crown and, by extension, to the people. "The Crown is of no party, of no division and of no conflict."
Importantly in Australia, we see that the Governor-General owes his allegiance and loyalty to the Sovereign and to the people. In contrast, in a Republics, a President can feel compelled to become just another part of the party machine because he/she was put there by a party. This has happened and is the case today in many countries.
However, this system of Monarchist allegiances and loyalties, does not stop at Government but permeates throughout the society. For example, the Monarch is head of many different organisations. A Republic could crush all these cultural and social linkages overnight. I am reminded of a story in Greece of when a military dictatorship over threw the monarchy at the beginning the century, anyone singing Royalist songs was punished (ironically, in Australia today some powerful elites malign those who support our current Constitution and Crowned Democracy.)
By the way, it will be interesting to see how the role of the Monarchy is transformed in the European Union, with the increasing dominance of the bureaucracy in Brussels. Whatever the case, I am sure that the European Monarchies will continue to act to defend their countries' independence.
Monarchy as Democratic, Tolerant and Diverse
Interestingly, as Professor David Lint notes, it was the Premier of Quebec who said in 1996 that the "Monarchy is the last bulwark of democracy".
Quebec is the French-speaking province of Canada. Although, as Canadian PM Minister Jean Chrètien pointed out, it was the French who promoted the American Revolution, the Quebecois felt more secure with the Monarchy. And if it was true for Quebec and all Canadians then, it is also true I believe for many other countries today.
Constitutional Monarchy ensures that the highest office of the land is reserved and not subject to the political power struggles that always occur. And if power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then removing absolute power is one way to safeguarding democracy.
The late Kim Beazley Senior in 1973 noted that the Monarchy ensures that the focal point of allegiance is not the same where the political power is. It ensures that those yield political power do not think they are permanent -- for only the Crown is permanent.
By safeguarding from the oppression of power and hence for freedom and self-expression, the Crown provides for the necessary conditions for there to be greater tolerance, diversity and pluralism.
Indeed, some say that the reservation of power is perhaps the most significant role of a modern Monarchy. It is no surprise then that some of the longest serving democracies are constitutional monarchies and why, after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, there has been a massive revival of interest in both the Monarchy and in the various institutions and expressions of a dynamic civil society -- institutions which the all-powerful, atheistic Marxist ideology had destroyed.
The Monarchy has also played a leading role in ensuring the transition to democracy, from dictatorship, is smooth. This was the case in Spain. Other times, Kings have risked their lives and those of their families to try to overthrow dictatorships such as in the example of King Constantine of Greece.
European monarchy ... "thoroughly modern" and cosmopolitan
When many think about Monarchy, they think about Europe and the ancient and well-established monarchies that exist today as Constitutional Monarchies. However, while these all provide some interesting illustrations of what we have discussed so far, I think it would be useful to highlight some monarchies that are not often discussed.
I have deliberately chosen to discuss Monarchies and Royal Families of countries from countries with both a Republican and Constitutional Monarchist system of Government.
Serbia -- restoring the spirit and soul
Serbia is country where the tides have turned rapidly in favour of the Monarchy.
After nearly six decades of exile, the Royal Family recently returned to Yugoslavia and now resides in the Royal Palace in Belgrade.
I would invite you to inspect the website of the Serbian Royal Family, simply www.RoyalFamily.org.
It's very good and details the activities and interests of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander.
His activities are frequently reported in regular media releases and he is an example of the new dynamism of the country, inspired by Western ideals of the rule of law, democracy, religious pluralism and, I would add increasingly, Constitutional Monarchy. This is in sharp contrast to the apathy and destruction wrought by the previous Communist governing elites -- some of whom are now in The Hague.
Is there a chance of restoration in Serbia? I think yes quite possibly.
A survey undertaken in Serbia pointed out the fact that an overwhelming majority of those surveyed wanted the Monarchy restored. Some think that continuing political instability in Serbia can be only resolved with the restoration of the Monarchy.
His Royal Highness is rapidly restoring the human face of a community and a nation that was ravaged by Communist dictators and rebuilding community and civil society.
Importantly, I think that the Serbian community is one section of Australian society that would strongly support our current system of Government. Firstly, because these Australians have seen what happens when the King is removed, and there is no restraining or unifying force, and secondly because many Serbs feel a connection with Queen Elizabeth for various reasons, not least through the Serbian Monarchy.
We can also look to see why people are attracted about modern Monarchy and build on these strengths. One is surely a common touch with the people, a sense of service and a commitment to the other. The Royal Families that display these qualities are the ones that have the broad support of the people.
We too must also develop these qualities in our organisations. We are Monarchists for many reasons, but especially because we believe in the concept of service. We know that the Crown of a King and Queen wears is a heavy one and involves total and utter dedication to higher, eternal ideals, and to one's people.
Charity and community work is one simple, but powerful, manifestation of this work. Through our service to the Crown we show our service to God and our fellow human being and, of course, to the Monarch who embodies the nation and all that we believe.
I believe that the Monarchist movement must be renowned for its sense of service and sense of commitment.
To be sure, we have a head start, because no other ideological and political movement around the world can rival the traditions, history and ideals of the cause of the Crown.
In this sense, the case of Greece is instructive. With the end of the Civil War and the victory of the democratic forces against the Communists, society had been scarred emotionally.
But King Paul and Queen Frederica of Greecewere no ordinary Monarchs and they sought to lead work in national reconciliation and reconstruction. Indeed, I find the work that HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia is doing in his country is very similar.
CASE STUDY -- THE GREEK ROYAL FAMILY AND LESSON FROM THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HELLENIC CROWN
This section discussed the Greek Royal Family and its contribution to modern Greece. It also discussed the struggle between Monarchists and others in the history of Greece. Key points are:
- The history of modern Greece is inextricably linked to the struggle between those who saw the Monarchy as an integral part of the Greek national identity and ethos and wished for a King and those that did not.
- Greece is important in the struggle for Monarchy because events in Greece, given the country's legacy, culture and geostrategic position, have always had implications for other countries. This is one reason why the West was adamant Greece would not fall to the Communists after the fascist defeat in 1945.
- Despite the King being away from Greece as King since 1967, and the Monarchist movement becoming somewhat of a peripheral force, the Greek Monarchist movement is, I think, a silent giant. This is partly because the vast majority of Greek history, tradition and culture is filled with the concept of Kingship, Emperors and Monarchy. History doesn't lie and can never be erased. When the tombs of Phillip of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great, were found in Vergina some years ago, many Greeks were forced to reconsider the history of their Royal traditions.
- The Greek Royal Dynasty has contributed much to the Greece and borne many of the sufferings of the nation. The Dynasty has been ready to serve the Greek people in the best way it could and has been there in good times and in bad. This tradition has continued. I remember watching the video of the wedding of Crown Prince Paul and members of the family noting, at this most joyous occasion, that they stand ready to serve the Greek people once again. However, justice has come many times, often in the form of a restoration and this in a resounding way through the voice of the people. It is not for nothing that the Greek Royal Family motto on the Royal Coat of Arms reads "My strength is the Love of the People". The Republicans have tried to break this link through years of propaganda and it is this link, I believe, that we must work to restore.
- The modern Greek Royal family is actively involved in a range of activities to assist Greeks and other from different nationalities wherever they live. These include the Anna-Maria Foundation (for the undertaking of public welfare projects, for the solidarity to areas which have been affected by natural disaster and the promotion of the universality of Hellenism).
- The King has always expressed his desire to desire to return to Greece to live. We understand that he is looking for a suitable property in Greece. When the King returns, and we see more of the Royal Family in Greece, all I can say is "watch out". The media and others will fall over themselves to learn more about this dignified, fatherly and very humble man. I mean, there are no two ways about it, King Constantine, as a human being, is completely and utterly different to many in the Greek political establishment. He is, also, very cultured and regal in his manner. Many of those who have risen to the top pile in the Greek political establishment, on the back of a crass and false populism, could well be running for cover as they are revealed for what they are.
- There are various Greek Monarchist organisations in Greece.
Whatever the opportunities for a restoration of the Crown in Greece, I believe we must continue to strive for this to occur and this for two reasons: because it is right and because we have often overcome even darker hours in the past and we do not know what days and ages will come before us. If we are not ready, mobilised and ready to act and fight, we have already lost.
I would finally to quote from His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Greece who considers the role of Crown in the modern Constitutions and, by extension, modern societies (from Vanity Fair, September 2003).
"Some voices whisper that, sooner or later, European monarchies are doomed. I do not agree. At a time when many values are collapsing, when everything is up for debate, where people have a reason to doubt everything, when politicians are losing all credibility and respect, a system that embodies continuity and stability, a person and a family that show heart and symbolise generosity and altruism, have a future, and can surely play an important role. The example of the Eastern-bloc nations is striking. No sooner had the iron curtain been lifted than the repentant Communists recalled their former royal families. The Russians showered honours on whoever was left of the Romanovs they had massacred 70 years earlier. Romania and Yugoslavia returned King Michael and Crown prince Alexander to their palaces, asked them to stay in their countries as much as they could, and have given them more and more responsibilities. Though Bulgaria did not go so far as to restore the monarchy, either, it did bring back its former king, Simeon II, and put him in charge of he country. When his adversaries found a technical pretext to prevent him from becoming president of the republic, he was democratically elected head of the government and has since devoted himself tireless to his country. What better proof that the kings of yesterday still have their usefulness today, and perhaps tomorrow as well."
AUSTRALIA, THE INTERNATIONAL CROWN AND THE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY -- A REFLECTION
Perhaps one of the major transformations occurring in Australia currently -- and set to continue -- is that relating to demography and immigration, especially skilled immigration, which is increasing the number of people from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB). These new arrivals will play a major role in determining the Constitutional future of the country as will those who have arrived in recent decades. Those of us who seek to defend and promote our Crowned Democracy need to be prepared for this opportunity and challenge.
This section discussed some tentative ideas on how all Australian Monarchists and supporters of the Constitution -- including those who have only recently arrived -- can work together.
Some of the key issues for further discussion and consideration included:
- We need to spread the word about the Australian Constitution and the fundamental role it has played in creating and shaping immigrants' new home.
- We need both the hearts and minds of new immigrants and we need to appeal to the different ethnic, religious and other groups that are calling Australia home. It also means appealing to Monarchists, Constitutionalists and others.
- NESB groups have traditionally had minimal involvement in Constitutional issues. This might change in the future given new arrivals are increasingly educated and skilled. ACM is well-placed to leverage support from NESB groups because we represent a broad cross-section of the community. This is in contrast to republican organisations and their supporters which have rightly been criticised as being elitist.
- We must be grateful for even the smallest amount of support and seek to build "little platoons" (to borrow from Edmund Burke). Not everyone will be able to devote substantial time and money to but we can and should expect that, were a referendum to be ever held again, we should have the maximum number out at polling booths and voting our way.
- We need to dispel the notion held by republicans and the media (amongst others) that those in the various NESB communities in Australia are republicans. Countless examples and arguments disprove this. The one I personally think is most instructive involved a "Constitutional convention" at a school in outer Melbourne involving mostly NESB teenage secondary students. The Constitutional convention involved a debate between invited Monarchist and Republican guest speakers followed by a referendum styled vote in which the students voted for their preferred Constitutional option. Following the debate the students voted overwhelmingly for our Crowned Democracy. From listening to students' comment and questions following the debate I could see that these teenage students understood that the current system worked and that the alternative (however defined) didn't sound all that attractive. Moreover, the students were wary of handing more power to politicians as would happen in a politician's republic. The exercise was also an interesting case study of what can be achieved if we get out there and talk to young people regardless of their background.
- Immigrants -- and especially skilled immigrants -- need to be a focus for our efforts as should be people who have settled here in recent decades. This is because Australia is undergoing a demographic transformation brought about strong population growth which is being fueled by immigration and, in particular, skilled immigration. For example, over the period 1996-97 to 2005-06 the annual number of Skill Stream migrants (including dependants) has increased nearly fourfold from over 24,000 to over 91,000. In 2005-06, skilled migrants made up nearly 51% of all permanent additions, up from 23% in 1996-97. This pattern is being repeated throughout Australia in varying degrees in all of the States and Territories.
- Going forward, we will need to consider new ways of reaching out to NESB groups. This is especially the case as much of the ethnic press is controlled by people who do not believe in Constitution Monarchy and who therefore can "block" our access to NESB groups. The Internet provides one way of getting around this bias. Other ideas on reaching out to NESB groups include building coalitions with key NESB associations (especially Monarchist groups in ethnic communities, and in this way mobilising a larger number of people), working with the leaders of the community (political, religious, social etc), maximising the use of our technology (for example can we extend www.norepublic.com.au to people from NESB groups), building alliances with those from overseas (especially with overseas monarchists who may have contacts in Australia), working with the main parties' NESB groups (despite the opposition we may get from their leadership) and stressing the Crown's and the Queen's diverse heritage and traditions.