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 The Australian Republican Movement


The smouldering passion for revenge ignited by the 1975 dismissal was directed at the Crown, and only relatively briefly at Malcolm Fraser. Yet Fraser had forced the issue and taken the country to the brink. Ironically now a republican, he has escaped the ignominy that was directed at Sir John Kerr.Little blame today is attached to Gough Whitlam who, through his wit, fine sense of humour and patrician elegance, today enjoys a high standing in Australian life.

But his new found republican mission would have been dissipated had it not been not for  the creation of the Australian Republican Movement but rather that change to a politicians’ republic  became part of Prime Minister Paul Keating's agenda, as he put it part of the   "big picture".

The Australian Republican Movement was not born in such    heroic circumstances as were the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta or the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Rather, according to republican writer Thomas Keneally, it came about over lunch with Malcolm Turnbull, in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Woollahra:

 “That lunch at Jill Hickson's and Neville Wran's table had now reached the point where nearly all the fish they bought the day before  at the Sydney Fish Markets had been eaten.

“In a manner all too typical of generous Sunday lunches in Sydney, a number of bottles of Hunter Valley Chardonnay had also been drained.

“ Neville Wran leaned over the table and said, ‘The other thing I want to see happen bcf()re I bloody well die is an Australian republic.’ “ A celebrities republic McKenna says that Keneally's description of a "boozy lunch", while honest, was not particularly astute: wine as the wellspring of the Australian republic.

 The concept of a group of citizens leading the republican debate proved to be effective, but it would also lend itself to allegations of elitism.

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