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(Cairns... Far North Queensland)


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Selwyn Johnston



One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference







Referendum Voting Day: ???

Still being debated by republican proponents... AGAIN!!!


A Republic or the Truth

Sydney Olympics 2000 - Opening Ceremony

The Crown of Australia

The 'NO' Case against a Republic

Republic Referendum Documents

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People do not make constitutions to give politicians power. People make constitutions to deny rogue politicians power. The most important function of a constitution is to give the People the opportunity to get rid of rogue politicians quickly and easily, without a revolution, but with a free and fair election by which the acceptability of the government can be tested.

In days of yore the Crown represented total power. Today it represents the denial of total power. No wonder the republicans want to get rid of it in their grab for power. The Reserve Powers of our Crown have only been used twice in our history; both times to rid us of rogue Governments, the Lang Government in NSW, and the Whitlam Government in Canberra. On both occasions the People agreed with the use of the Reserve Powers of our Crown as reflected in the subsequent elections.

The key to the success of our Constitution is our Crown. We, the People of Australia, chose our Crown by referendum. England did not force it on us. We put our Crown at the head of all our great Departments of State, and while our Crown is there no rogue politician can be the head. This makes our Crown the ultimate and untouchable guarantee of all our freedoms, and this is why the republicans’ power grab wants you to get rid of your Crown.

The Queen of England is not our Head of State as claimed by the republicans. This can be verified on the Palace Web Site. The Queen is our Sovereign at our request, and she reigns but does not rule over us.

Heads of State live in their own countries and are paid, transported, housed, feted and defended by their own countries. They have a hands-on daily role in the government of their own countries, and when they travel overseas they represent their own countries. The Queen does none of these things for Australia; our GOVERNOR-GENERAL does them all. The British Queen was stripped of the powers of the Australian Crown on 1st January 1901, and no Monarch visited us for our first 54 years. When she did, our Parliament had to return some powers to her so that she could perform the formal functions we had asked of her.

She only has these powers when she is personally in Australia and at the same time the GOVERNOR-GENERAL keeps all his powers. This situation has never been abused.

The essentials for our free, advancing, democratic society are: -


  1. A simple and cheap method of appointing an apolitical Head of State. On appointment by our democratically elected Prime Minister our Governor-General is sworn in to govern for all the People, without fear or favour, without affection or ill-will. If the GOVERNOR-GENERAL behaves in an unacceptable or political way, the PRIME MINISTER can sack him immediately.
  2. A simple and cheap method of sacking a PRIME MINISTER who becomes a rogue. Should this happen our Governor General can sack the PRIME MINISTER immediately, causing a free and fair election. Few things can be more democratic than a free and fair election.
  3. Orderly, prescribed free and fair elections.
  4. Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament of almost equal power but with different electorates, to keep checks and balances on rogue Executive Governments.
  5. An Upper House specifically to protect the People and the States from a rogue Executive Government by reviewing, amending and initiating Legislation, and denying Supply to a rogue Executive Government.
  6. Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion, the Media and the Judicature.

We have all this already. If the republicans want us to throw out our Constitution, our Crown and our flag, then they must demonstrate that they have something better with which to replace them. The republicans must show how they will appoint and dismiss an apolitical Head of State as well as dismiss a rogue PRIME MINISTER, without causing a revolution, civil war or festering hatreds.

As a congenial reminder of our remarkable constitutional development, the Queen appoints and removes our GOVERNOR-GENERAL and State Governors on the advice of our democratically elected PRIME MINISTER and Premiers.

This is another subtle little check and balance that would not be available in a republic. A rogue PRIME MINISTER can be dismissed by our GOVERNOR-GENERAL, resulting in a free and fair election. All this is done at no extra cost, as opposed to the high cost republican models.

No matter what republican model is put up, they all mean that we must throw out our Crown, our Constitution and our flag, and replace them with a complicated, costly, unsatisfactory, unbalanced system, like one of the existing 156 republican countries in the world - none of which can hold a candle to Australia. There is no such thing as a "minimalist change"; it is all or nothing.

Our Constitution has given us the most free and democratic country in the world. Unlike all other Constitutions, our Constitution has been put in the hands of the People.

We MUST keep it safe and develop it for our children, and ourselves or we can let it fall forever to a republican power grab.


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A Republic or the Truth?

Republicans claim that the Queen is our Head of State.

They are WRONG.

They also claim that she is not an Australian, she lives far away, and represents England overseas and not Australia. They also claim Australians must "cut the apron strings" and "take the last small step to get rid of the vestiges of English Colonialism".

Republicans claim that Asians (their own Monarchies and Despotism's aside), cannot understand our absent Head of State, and will trade with us better if we throw off the colonial yoke!

Republicans find the Union Flag in the hoist of our flag offensive, and they are pushing for a replacement depicting our "freedom and independence".

Our Constitution, Crown and Government have done a lot of growing up since Federation on 1st January 1901. Admittedly it took both England and Australia 30 years to realise that our Constitution had created a sovereign, independent nation, and that we had stripped the English Monarch of all her powers in Australia, and given them to our Governor-General.

Our Constitution was written with a view to having an absent Sovereign, and the Sovereign did not even visit Australia for our first 54 years! When she did, we realised that she had no power to perform any of the formal duties we required of her.

The Parliament quickly, and unanimously, passed an act in 1953 to give her some power back, but only for the time that she was personally in Australia. At the same time the Governor-General kept all the powers of the Crown. This situation has never been abused. Incidentally, this Act made her an Australian citizen, just like other immigrants who are all made Australian citizens by an Act of Parliament!

Originally the English Monarch appointed our Governor General, who acted under "Letters Patent" from the Monarch. After 30 years we requested the Monarch cease this practice, and appoint and remove our Governor-General on the advice of our democratically elected Prime Minister. This was assented to, and later we requested that our Governor-General stand in the same relationship to the Australian Parliament as the British Monarch stands to the British Parliament. This was also agreed.

That Australia was already an independent sovereign nation is shown by the fact that no Constitutional amendments were necessary to make any of these changes.

Heads of State live in their own countries, cost big money for remuneration, security, housing and transport. They represent their own country overseas and have a day to day hands-on role for their governments. The Queen does not cost us one cent or play any part in the day-to-day running of Australia. In fact the English gave us seven Crowns, free, and much else besides, such as the English language, law and genius. We have never been asked to pay taxes or tribute to England.

After our period of English Colonial Government, we became six independent self-governing Colonies, each with its own Crown, Parliament and Governor. The Governors were initially appointed, and removed, by the English Monarch on the advice of English Ministers; but now this is done on the advice of our democratically elected State Premiers.

At Federation the six Crown Colonies created another Crown for their Federal Government. All these Crowns were children of the English Crown, but they have grown up and they are now independent, sovereign Crowns. One day we may even have someone we think is worthy of wearing them. In the meantime the powers of the Crowns are exercised by our State Governors and our Governor-General. In days of yore the Crown represented total power.

Today it represents the denial of total power. While the Crown is at the head of all our great Institutions of State, nobody else can be the head of any of them. Thus the Crown represents the ultimate and untouchable guarantee of our freedom and our genius. Republicans resent the power that the Crown denies them. They resent the Senate having the power to block supply to a rogue Government. They resent the Governor-General's ability to sack a rogue Prime Minister.

The Crown and the Constitution are the rules by which we have agreed, by referendum, to be governed. We chose the Crown; it was not forced on us by a jack-booted England. Any problems we have now are ours to fix - such as an unworldly High Court, that is raining down hammer blows on our Federation, and from whose decisions there is no appeal.

Republicans consider the Constitution "out of date for a modern, industrial, multicultural society". They claim it is "unrepresentative" because it was written by men only, and had no input from minorities and women. The wanton rebelliousness of the republicans shone out at the recent Constitutional Convention. They had no real proposition to put to the Convention. They could not agree that any of their four "models" should be put to a referendum. They do not even support the model that was deemed to win the most support!

Republicans claim, obviously erroneously, that there is a groundswell of public support for a republic; but how can there be, when they cannot answer the key question as to what sort of republic that groundswell supports? Never the less the republicans insist that they are no less "Australians" for making their BLATANT POWER GRAB. The important feature of all the republican "models" is that they discard our Crown as well as our Constitution.

The fundamental requirements for Australia’s democratic rule are the appointment of a Governor-General who becomes apolitical on appointment, the sacking of a rogue Governor-General, or a rogue Prime Minister, without causing a revolution. We have a simple way of doing this now, and all it causes is a free and fair election - what could be more democratic than an election?

The Reserve Powers of the Governor-General are not a problem for us now, and all these jobs are done at no extra cost, and with no interference from the English Sovereign. Our Governor-General is his own man, and responsible only to the Prime Minister and the Australian People. The republicans can offer us nothing that even comes near what we have already.

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The Crown of Australia

In 1770, Lieutenant James Cook in HM Bark "Endeavour" landed with a small party on Possession Island in the Torres Strait, and took possession of New Holland and all its Islands in the name of the Crown of Great Britain. King George III of England was wearing the Crown, the symbol of the Power of the British Government. New Holland, which Cook had renamed New South Wales, became a Possession of the British Crown.

Lieutenant Cook was able to do this because of the well-established national and international law of Terra nullius. Terra nullius did not mean that the land being possessed was uninhabited, or that any people living there were to be considered "non-people". What it meant was that no administration was found with which to negotiate. This was exactly the situation found by Lieutenant Cook all the way up the East Coast of Australia (renamed by Matthew Flinders).

The "Indians" as he called the Aborigines, were naked, illiterate, timid, in small-scattered groups with primitive weapons and living in gunyas. They had no cultivation or farmed animals, no sleds, no wheels, and no organised administration. Australia was Terra nullius.

At British settlement in 1788, Captain Arthur Philip carried among his instructions orders from King George III to treat the natives with respect and consideration. This was because the land which had been occupied by them, was now possessed and being settled by Britain.

Settlement was largely peaceful apart from the expected abrasiveness of human contact between stone age people and the most advanced people in the world. There were a few skirmishes, but settlement could not be called "invasion" because the British were settling British land.

Australia moved from being a British Possession to become a British Colony.

More settlers arrived and Australia became divided into six British Colonies. These Colonies developed politically to become British Crown Colonies, with their own Elections, Parliaments, Premiers, Crowns (sponsored by Britain), and Governors exercising the Powers of their Crowns. Their Governors were British Civil Servants appointed by the British Monarch on the advice of British Ministers. This was appropriate because then, the only investment in Australia was British, but the Colonies paid no taxes to Britain at any time.

After sixty years the six British Crown Colonies realised they needed a central government to handle such things for them as quarantine, defence, foreign affairs and trade between the Colonies. Debate ensued for a further fifty years and federation was considered in depth.

The Founding Fathers were well aware of the dangers posed by a powerful federal government as revealed by the history of the English Civil War, the French Revolution, the War of American Independence and the American Civil War. They rejected any form of republic, because no republic could provide the People the security which is guaranteed by the Crown of a Constitutional Monarchy. The Founding Fathers framed a Constitution which had a new Australian Crown, an absent Sovereign, maximum protection for the People and the sovereignty of the States to be created. The six British Crown Colonies had become politically mature and were themselves independent, sovereign and self-governing, with no interference from Britain, and they were competent to create their own Australian Crown for their new Federal Government.

Our Constitution was agreed to by the people of the six British Crown Colonies at referendum. It took two referenda, and in the second women had the vote, which was a first for the day and age. The Constitution was sent to England and passed by the Houses of Commons and Lords, and gained Royal Assent. In all it was a magnificent feat that would be difficult to repeat today. Sending the Constitution to England for ratification was probably unnecessary, but it showed the comity between Australia and Britain, and it avoided anything like the War of American Independence.

Britain has her Crown with a Monarch to wear it, and Australia has her Crown with an absent Sovereign who has agreed to wear it for us. Whereas the British Monarch wields the Powers of the Crown in Britain, the Powers of the Australian Crown are wielded by the Australian Governor-General alone. Our Oaths of Allegiance are sworn to the Queen of Australia.

Neither Britain nor Australia seemed to notice that Australia had been weaned on January 1st 1901. The British Monarch went on appointing our Governors-General on the advice of British Ministers, and most of us went on thinking that the British Monarch was also our Monarch, and we were all "subjects of the Queen". As had happened since British settlement Australia had grown to political maturity, and the benign hand of Britain had been progressively withdrawn and we are now Citizens of Australia.

Much Constitutional development took place without there being the necessity to amend the Constitution - demonstrating another drafting triumph that could not be repeated today.

Following Empire Conference agreements our State Governors and Governors-General are now appointed and removed by the Queen, acting as Queen of Australia, on the advice of the State Premiers and the Prime Minister respectively. The British Monarch is not our Monarch but our Sovereign, at our request, who reigns but does not rule over us. She never interferes in our Government, and she also reigns over fifteen other Constitutional Monarchies - all of which enjoy greater peace and stability than any republic.

Australia has a Crown, and the States each have a Crown, and the seven Crowns are completely independent of the British Crown. They serve the Constitutional Monarchy we have developed for ourselves, and Britain has done nothing but assist us at every stage. Australia has its Crown at the head of all our great Departments of State and, while that Crown is there, no rogue politician can take over. The Crown is therefore the ultimate and untouchable guarantee of our freedom. Remove the Crown, and the Constitution and the Federation collapse.

The republicans are asking you to remove the Crown, which can never be a rogue, and replace it with a politician, who can.

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Sydney Olympics 2000 - Opening Ceremony

Constitutional Monarchies do not have a Head of State. Constitutional Monarchies have a Sovereign and a Governor-General.

Great Britain is a Monarchy with a Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, but it is not a Constitutional Monarchy because Great Britain does not have a Constitution.

Queen Elizabeth II is Monarch of and rules over Great Britain. She is Sovereign of 15 Constitutional Monarchies over which she reigns, but does not rule.

In these 15 countries it is their Crowns, not the Crown of Great Britain, that is the symbol of the power of their governments.

In Australia it is the Governor-General who wields all the powers of the Australian Crown. Our Sovereign possesses none of the powers of the Australian Crown.

It was the Governor-General who should have opened the Sydney Olympics, not our Prime Minister, who does not possess any of the powers of the Australian Crown, and who is not Australia's "Head of State".

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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870