|Issue No 11||30 April 1999|
Unions Challenge: Reclaim the Republic
Trade unionists must vigorously promote the Republican cause or the issue that the movement has championed for 100 years will fail, a key strategist has warned.
Addressing the NSW Labor Council this week, Yes Coalition steering committee member Nareen Young asked union members to play a role in the November Referendum.
She said one of the key challenges would be to convince direct election Republicans, who may vote "no" because they don't like the current model, to establish an Australian head of State as a first step to further reform.
"The Yes vote is being opposed by both sides," Young said. "You have the conservative monarchists opposed to any change; and the committed Republicans opposed to the precise nature of the change."
"While there are Conservative Republicans who can engage the monarchists, the union movement must make the case to the progressive forces who want more fundamental change.
"This is our (the trade unions') issue, it has always been our issue and we must ensure we clear the final hurdle."
Young secured her first convert within minutes of speaking to the Council, when Secretary Michael Costa outed himself as a direct electionist but said he would support the 'Yes' vote nonetheless.
"Really the issue that is most important is to get a Republic," Costa said.
"We can have our own views about how the President ought to be elected, but I accept the position that the Republic could be defeated, not because the overwhelming majority of Australian don't support a Republic, but that we are divided on the sort of Republic."
"It is time that we all get together and support the fundamental notion of a Republic. It might not be the best Republic, but it's certainly better than what we have now."
Labor Council agreed to establish a commitment of affiliates to look at the best ways of getting the message out to members, including utilising trade union journals and giving delegates information to disseminate amongst workers.
Workers Online will also run regular Republican features in the lead-up to the referendum.
Interview: The Young Republican
Jason Yat-Sen Li stole the show at the Constitutional Convention with his community consultation compromise. Now he faces a bigger challenge, convincing Australia to vote Yes.
Unions: ACTU Moves on the Republic
The ACTU Executive has endrosed the Australian Republic -- but it's given Howard's Preamble the short shrift it deserves.
History: And A Hundred Years Ago
Just as it was a hundred years ago, it is important that trade unions and their members are actively involved in the current republic debate.
Reader's Forum: John Passant
A Workers Online reader explains why he'll be voting "no".
Review: Mountain Men and Women Framed
Working Lives, a history of working people from the Blue Mountains, looks back to illuminate future challenges.
Labour Review: What's New at the Information Centre
View the latest issue of Labour Review, Labor Council's fortnightly newsletter for unions.
International: Performers on the World Stage
Australian performers know better than most the importance of identity, self and place. That's why they are committed Republicans.
View entire latest issue
© 1999-2000 Labor Council of NSW
LaborNET is a resource for the labour movement provided by the Labor Council of NSWURL: http://workers.labor.net.au/11/news1_repub.html
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005