Shortly after Peter FitzSimons (RB for short) delivered his first address to the National Press
Club (NPC) in August, 2015, a friend (Brian) wrote and asked me if I was going to “pack down
and push together with RB to get the Republic across the lime”?
I responded that, quote: “My early thinking is that RB may not have been the best
appointment as the [new] Chair of the ARM”.
To another friend (Fred) who wrote to me a few days later with, essentially, the same
enquiry, I was a fraction more expansive...I told Fred that I thought – from a positive
stand-point: “The ARM in ALL of its [then] 24 year history has never appointed a prominent
Australian female as Chair of the lobby group. I would, for starters, proffer two very
competent women Sarah Brasch and Alison Henry. Both have been active subordinate
officers of the ARM in the past. Either of them could have been selected”.
Going on 12 months into his Chairmanship of ARM, RB has – as a crowd-stirrer – brought
considerable momentum to The Cause. This was possible because (a) he had ‘duds’ as the
previous two Chairmen and (b) he was starting from a very low base. But, in his very ‘blokey’
style, RB has also brought considerable opprobrium to The Cause. In fact, it could be argued
that the ARM has possibly quintupled its membership whilst the nation-as- a-whole has
dramatically lost support for and interest in The Republic – if the proper analysis of the
February/March 2016 OmniPoll quantitative research is the yardstick.
Anyway, my first inclinations are correct. The time has come for a prominent Australian
female to head the ARM. The above-stated two women would or could be the ‘stepping-
stoners’. However, the likes of successful, indeed popular Australian women e.g. Geraldine
Doogue, Wendy McCarthy, Susan Ryan, Helen Irving, Di Yerbury, Chrissy Sharp and Lucy
Turnbull would and could, over a rather short elapsement of time, “win over” the women of
Australia – those hundreds of thousands who do not want to even consider a patriotic
change and who, very understandably, would prefer the adherence to the status quo over
some jingoistic, fraudulent, ANTIdemocratic, yobboish, ranting process as presented by RB.