AUSTRALIAN REPUBLICAN MOVEMENT ANNUAL FUNDRAISING LUNCH, PUMPHOUSE HOTEL, MELBOURNE

30 AUGUST 2014

Welcome to the ARM Victorian Lunch for 2014.

Before going on, I want to first acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and their elders past and present.

I’m going to keep this very brief, before getting stuck into our list of brilliant guest speakers, followed by some audience Q & A.

I just wanted to make one point and provide a bit of context around our speakers today before introducing them.

It is no coincidence that we wanted to specifically focus today on having leading women in our community making the case for an Australian Republic.

Because any analysis of public polling on our issue reiterates time and again that we do have a significant gender gap when it comes to Republic support.

In the most recent Newspoll from June, just 34% of women support the basic proposition that we should become a Republic. Roughly a third.

Compared to 46% of men – nearly a half.

In polling terms, that’s a huge gap and one we need to address head on.

It isn’t hard to work out why this is.

Frankly, the public dialogue around the Republic for far too long has been middle aged blokes talking to middle aged blokes.

So while there is no silver bullet for our cause more broadly, hopefully this renewed emphasis can go some way to over time making up that gap.

Because contrary to popular belief, I’m convinced that counter-intuitively 2014 isn’t a bad time at all to be a Republican.

Sure, there has been a long decade and a half of inertia, and political will can be at times lacking.

But there are few more issues that PM Abbott holds more deal than the constitutional monarchy.

If we can’t cleverly leverage off that as Republicans, we are doing something wrong.

Returning to public polling, where I’ll finish up, that same Newspoll had over 20% of Australians not having a view either way.

More specifically, if you ask voters that question who are under the age of 34, that unsure/undecided number spikes to 28%.

And that shouldn’t be a surprise us either.

To repeat a favourite fact of mine, 3.5 million Australians are on the voter roll today who weren’t for the 1999 referendum.

In other words: there are plenty of people out there who are yet to hear or process our compelling argument.

So it our mission to get out there and tell our story.

Win the scrap.

And then at long last, finally deliver this country its own head of state.

Day’s like today are a vital part of making sure we have the artillery and resources to do exactly that.

So to the loyal members and supporters of the ARM here today, we are hugely appreciative, and we’ll see you soon. Have a nice weekend.