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Friday, January 20, 2006
Their Mates for Head Of State

In a hilarious sign of desperation the Australian Republican Movement (or what’s left of it) have launched a new grand slogan – A Mate For Head of State.

I kid you not, that’s what they’re calling it.

Since 1999, when they lost their republican referendum in what can only be described as a landslide, they’ve ummed and ahhed, come up with a horde of convoluted plans, lost a massive portion of their subscriber base and now, in 2006, it all boils down to a slogan; and a bad one at that.

A mate for head of state? How about;

Their Mate For Head Of State;
Yet Another Politician In Canberra

With politicians backing it that’s all it reads as. Do they really think the promise of another politician or another one of their mates (Steve Vizard or Richard Butler perhaps?) is going to cause a groundswell of support for their cause?

Already it hasn’t if Technorati (which indexes most blogs) is anything to go by. After as much publicity as their likely to get, including a nice big column in the Herald Sun, the amount of discussion around the concept amounts to four single entries. One is by Professor David Flint from Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, another from Pharoz (which included a link to the ARM’s Microsoft Paint created poster – a classy job to be sure), a New Zealand Republican site, and another at Obiter Dicta by Steve discussing the language used in a debate on the topic and not than the topic itself.

The great new republican slogan has seen them feature in four blogs to date. There’s grass root support if I ever I saw it.

While I’m on the topic; the aforementioned column in the Herald Sun was written by Peter van Vliet, head of the Australian Republican Movement in Victoria. It’s a fairly yawnable piece on the etymology of the word ‘mate’ in Australia. And while he tried to use as many evocative terms as he could, such as British Monarchy (the Queen of Australia is a position separate from the British Monarchy Peter), and lied about the fact that becoming a republic wouldn’t mean leaving the Commonwealth (we’d have to get voted back in by the other members Peter), his argument seemingly boiled down to this;

One can hardly imagine walking up to the next in line for the crown, Prince Charles, and saying ``G'day mate, howya going?''

Well I saw a lady do just that when Prince Charles visited Melbourne. But Peter is right, ‘one could hardly imagine walking up to’ Prince Charles and saying “G’day mate”. I couldn’t even imagine an American doing that to their President, or a Briton doing that to Tony Blair. Not because none of these people can be our ‘mates’, our friends – but simply because I was brought up, like 99% of Australians, with manners. It’s out of respect and knowing better that we don’t approach Prince Charles and say “G’day mate”.

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