Although the final count is not in - due to postal votes etc, the republic
was defeated in the November 6 referendum.  With 77.8% of the vote
45.3% Yes for Republic        39.5% Yes to add preamble to constitution
54.7% No for Republic         60.5% No to preamble.
To win the republic vote had to achieve a double majority.  That is
to achieve constitutional change, the  majority of Australian voters and a
majority of voters in a majority of the states (that is a majority must be
won in at least 4 states) must agree to the changes.

The preamble was resoundingly defeated by 60% of the vote.  This was a
major slap in the face for the PM John Howard and Aden Ridgeway who
drafted the preamble.  The preamble which was full of nationalistic
jingoism, which our PM seems to love so much.  

It read (try not to throw up as you read it!!!): 
With hope in God, the Commonwealth of Australia is constituted as a
democracy with a federal system of government to serve the common good.
We the Australian people commit ourselves to this constitution: Proud that
our national unity has been forged by Australians of many ancestries;
Never forgetting the sacrifices of all who defended our country and our
liberty in time of war; upholding freedom, tolerance, individual dignity
and the rule of law; Honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the
nation's first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for
their ancient and continuing cultues which enrich the life of our countryl
Recognising the nation building contribution of generatins of immigrants;
mindful of our responsibliltly to protec our unique environmentl;
supportive of achievement as well as equality of opportunity for all; and
valuing independence as dearly as the national spirit which binds us
together in both adversity and success.

The preamble was drafted without consultation (other than with the
Democrats and Aden Ridgeway) to the people.  Originally it included the
PM's favourite word "mateship" which offended a large number of people,
especially women - mateship is a very male term which has its origins in
the national identity myth of the bush battler and diggers at WW1.
Eventually this was dropped reluctantly.  

The other main area of contention was with the wording in regard to
Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people.  The favoured word by many
Aboriginal people and leaders was "custodianship", which gives a more
accurate reading of the relationship that Indigenous Australians have with
their traditional lands.  Howard refused to use custodianship, because it
could also imply ownership (and there for would be at odds with his view
of the history of Australia - you know the Europeans really didn't steal
the land from the Aboriginals or murder them or steal their children).

The word "kinship" was suggested by the only Aboriginal in parliament Aden
Ridgeway who is a member of the Democrats and is conservative.
Ridgeway has lost a lot of standing with the grass roots membership of the
Aboriginal community because of this.  He is seen by many as a "token"
black.  The intersting thing is that Labor Aboriginal spokesperson, Daryl
Melham has accussed him of just this today - something they have backed
away from prior to this.

Kim B

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