Thursday, November 6, 2014

Speculating on the Australian Republic ebook - now available

Speculating on the Australian Republic: five award-winning short stories ebook is now available for purchase for $3.99 from Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and iBooks.
These five award-winning Australian speculative fiction stories from the 2009-2013 National Republican Short Story Competition will intrigue, educate and delight. This republican speculative fiction anthology presents a compelling preview of the possible future of Australia as a republic.
These five award-winning short stories show it is through speculative fiction that change can begin to how we see ourselves as a nation - now and into the future. So, let’s speculate about us, our country – and the future we will share, together.
As these five prize-winning short stories show, it is through speculative fiction that change can begin. We can’t achieve anything unless we imagine it first. Before every great invention and before every great journey is the idea. Without ideas and imagination, we are all trapped in the past. So, for anyone who is interested in speculating on the possible futures of the Australian republic, please … read on.
Short Story 1 - Rook Feast
Rook Feast by Kel Robertson tells the story of the final meeting between the King of England, who is under house arrest, and a minister of the British government. The minister (who is also a relative) has come to inform the last King of England “on a perfect English spring day” what is to be his fate.
“You want me to abdicate in favour of Elizabeth … and leave?”
“No, it’s much too late for abdication.”
“I see,” he said. “Then it really is over.”
“Afraid so.”
“More than 1500 years of history all the way from bloody Edgar. Over. Ended.”
“History doesn’t change,” I said. “The past is always as it was.”
“Very epigrammatic,” he snorted.
He underarmed another cucumber sandwich onto the lawn. A larger number of rooks landed and savaged it noisily.
“There’s nothing that can be done?”
“You’re quite sure?”
Short Story 2 - Inauguration Day
Inauguration Day by Sean Ness tells the story of James Hapeta, an Australian Federal Police Lieutenant assigned to Presidential protection detail with the Inauguration Day Presidential parade. As the Presidential motorcade travels through the streets of Canberra, Hapeta and his security colleagues attention to security is at fever pitch due to a discovered credible threat.
… the President and his wife walked over to the sleek limousine, escorted closely by one particular bodyguard – short and thick, bald and fierce-looking. After the Presidential couple were inside, the man closed their door and approached Hapeta.
“Commander Griggs,” Hapeta said, “What’s the situation? Is he going to cancel the …”
Griggs interrupted. “The motorcade is going ahead. Same route – Ainslie, Antill, Northbourne. Keep your men alert and the formation tight. We get to Parliament in thirty minutes, no less.”
Hapeta choked down a horrified gasp. “But sir, surely with a threat this credible … I know how much the parade means to the President, but …”
“You have your orders, Lieutenant. The President says we continue, so we do.”
Short Story 3 - The King and Mister Crow
The King and Mister Crow by RPL Johnson has the future King William V reflecting on the theme of citizen or subject and issues of individuality and Australian independence while he lays injured in a plane crash in the Australian outback.
“Are you a flying doctor?” the aboriginal asked and enough of my pride had survived the crash to feel a little crestfallen at his lack of recognition.
“No,” I replied.  “It was supposed to be a state visit.”
The old man examined me closely.  “I know you,” he said eventually. “You are the Prince.”
“King,” I corrected him.  “For two years now.”  News must travel slowly out here.  “Before you lies King William the Fifth, by the Grace of God King of the United Kingdom and his other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”
The man nodded sagely.  He sat down next to me, thin brown legs folded under him like a bushel of firewood.  His pale soles faced me.  It looked as if he could have walked a tightrope of barbed wire without feeling a thing.
“I am Wakarla,” he said.  “You are a long way from home.  What brings you here?”
Short Story 4 - The Harvest
The Harvest by Jennifer Morris explores the theme of defining national identity with its excellent evocation of the country town atmosphere as well as descriptions of the vegetable garden and its connections with a sense of home.
Daniel and young Jim tossed the coin. It landed President side up. "I get to collect the eggs," yelled Daniel. "You have to wash their water dish out Jim. Back soon Gran!" I watched out the window. The boys, my youngest grandsons, ran, jostled and pushed each other most of the way to the chook yard. The original vegetable garden to the left of the yard was flourishing. Broad beans were flowering, the coriander was spurting new growth and the parsley had taken on a life of its own.
Short Story 5 - When the Ice Melts
When the Ice Melts by Ingle Knight with its quietly satirical edge connects the climate change controversy with discussion of euthanasia and dilemmas in the republican debate.
As the air gets warmer and the ice melts we should be facing the end of the world but instead we find our days occupied with another kind of ending. What the two endings have in common is the Prime Minister's lifelong refusal to give credence to either of them until, suddenly, now. I know everything seems strange these days. Nothing is turning out as we would have expected. But what seems strangest of all is that it is the old man's capitulation to the inevitability of what's happening that has been the catalyst for things turning out as they have.

Final Word - Professor Geoff Gallop
In Australia’s history republicanism has always been more than an argument for breaking our constitutional ties with the British Crown; it’s also been about how we can create an improved system of democracy that better reflects our values as a free, fair and multicultural nation.
It’s been about a better future and how we can create it through a mixture of reflection, deliberation and decision. It’s driven along by the belief that we can do better and that our political imagination can be trusted to find a system that will inspire and endure.
Our opponents think we have reached the pinnacle of achievement and no good can come from a move to the republic. They fear change and prefer the past to the future.
Through the National Republican Short Story Competition we have encouraged imaginative thinking of the sort we need also to apply to our institutions generally. How could they be better? How can we translate aspirations into goals? How can we achieve those goals?
Thinking and doing, doing and thinking – that’s the key to improvement!
Professor Geoff Gallop AC.
Chair, Australian Republican Movement

For more details on Speculating on the Australian Republic, email

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Speculating on Australia's republican futures

The National Republican Short Story Competition ran from 2009 - 2013. The Australian Republican Movement is considering publishing an anthology of the winning entries and other republican speculative fiction short stories.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition Winners Announced – 26 January 2013

In 2012 Australia’s speculative fiction writers were challenged to speculate on the possible futures of the Australian republic using the theme ‘defining Australian identity in a future Australian republic’

The 2012 Judging Panel comprised Tom Keneally, Professor Brian Matthews and Professor John Warhurst.

Jennifer Morris has been awarded ‘First Prize’ in the Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition for ‘The Harvest’with its excellent evocation of the country town atmosphere as well as descriptions of the vegetable garden and its connections with a sense of home
. After an initial career in nursing, Jennifer completed a University degree in Social Sciences, at the same time juggling work and raising children. Her daughters now have families of their own. In the last twelve months she has made time to pursue a long held passion for writing. This is the second short story competition she has entered. Jennifer and her husband have spent most of their married life in country Victoria and have great empathy and hopes for rural Australia.

Ingle Knight has been awarded ‘Second Prize’ in the Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition for ‘When the Ice Melts’, which connects the climate change controversy with dilemmas in the republican debate and discussions of euthanasia. The writing in 'When the Ice Melts' is accomplished with a quietly satirical edge.
A prize-winning playwright and actor, Ingle is currently writing a play for Black Swan State Theatre Company about the political origins of the Gallipoli campaign. In 2012 he was the winner of the Richard Burton Playwriting Award. He has a PhD from Murdoch University and lives in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. ‘When the Ice Melts’ is his first work of prose fiction.

Terry Byrnes has been awarded ‘Third Prize’ in the Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition for ‘Once’. The narrative in 'Once' is daring with its satirical contemporary take on Waltzing Matilda which in the end creates a kind of unfinished echo that is quite dramatic. Terry is an Honours graduate in Social Science from Macquarie University. He began writing in earnest while he was there. On being informed of the award Terry said “playing a small part in the inevitable march towards republicanism gives me a sense of great pride”. Terry works in the Aboriginal justice industry and is an unfailing republican.

The Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition has continued to foster the emerging Australian republican fiction genre. Before every great invention and before every great journey is the idea. Without ideas and imagination, we are all trapped in the past. The short stories ‘The Harvest, ‘When the Ice Melts’, and ‘Once’ are exercises in imagination and help to lead the way into possible republican futures.

The Australian Republican Movement congratulates the winners of this year’s competition and extends its thanks to all entrants. The National Republican Short Story Competition will be run again in 2013.

For more information contact: Dr Glenn Davies, National Republican Fiction Convener, Australian Republican Movement, PO Box 87, Geebung, QLD, 4034 E: or

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition

The Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition closed on 6 November 2012 and the winners will be announced on 26 January 2013.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Republican challenge to Australian writers

Entry to the Fourth National Republican ShortStory Competition is now open. The theme for the Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition is 'defining Australian identity ina future Australian republic'. Short stories will use the theme to speculate on Australian republican futures.

First Prize: $500
Second Prize: $60
Third Prize: $40
Length: 2000 to 4000 words
Entry is open to all Australian residents

The Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition
challenges Australia’s fiction writers to speculate on the possible futures of the Australian republic.

Speculative fiction writers deal with possibilit
They speculate.

They make the future seem real.

However, we can’t achiev
e anything unless we imagine it first. Before every great invention and before every great journey is the idea. Without ideas and imagination, we are all trapped in the past.

It seems strange there is no tradition of republican speculative fiction in Australia. In colonial times there were republican poets such as Charles Harpurwriting in the 1840s and 1850s, and republican writers such as John Dunmore Lang and Daniel Deniehy in the 1850s and William Lane, Henry Lawson and John Norton in the 1880s and 1890s. But where have been the republican stories forthe past century? There have certainly been many republican writers during this time but very few examples where republican settings or arguments have been explored in Australian fiction. Republican arguments and explorations of the past and imaginations of the future have almost always been written within the framework of constitutional debates.

Where do the people of Australia fit into this? Where are their myths and stories to tell and retell and remember about Australia’s emerging republican identity?

So, the Australian Republican Movement would like to point the way forward through Australian stories with a republican backdrop. They don’t have to be political thrillers or constitutional whodunits as long as they are an exploration of our future, our republican future.

To read more about the Australia’s emerging republican speculative fiction genre go to

Previous National Republican Short Story winners are:

The competition guidelines and entry form and list of judges are available at

Glenn Davies
Fiction Convener, National Republican Short Story Competition

2012 Judging Panel announced

The Judging Panel was announced today for the Fourth National Republican Short Story Competition.

Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 and his first novel was published in 1964. Since then he has written a considerable number of novels and non-fiction works. His novels include The Chant of Jummy Blacksmith, Schinder's List and The People's Train. His latest non-fiction book was The Australians: Origins to Eureka. He has won the Miles Franklin Award, the Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Prize, the Mondello International Prize and has been made a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library, a Fellow of the American Academy, recipient of the University of California gold medal, and has been a 55 cent Australian stamp. He is also widely known as the founding chairman of the Australian Republican Movement.
Professor Brian Matthews is Honorary Professor of English at Flinders University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has won the Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland Premiers' awards for literature, the Bicentenary Biography Prize (shared), and the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society. His most recent book is Manning Clark A Life for which he was awarded the National Biography Prize in 2010.
Professor John Warhurst recently concluded fifteen years as Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University. He is Adjunct Professor at both Australian National University and Flinders University, Senior Deputy National Chair, Australian Republican Movement and was Australian Republican Movement National Chair from 2002 to 2005. He also writes a weekly column for the Canberra Times.

Dr Glenn Davies is Queensland State Convener, Australian Republican Movement, a republican historian and author, and a 2008 and 2009 Aurealis Awards Science Fiction Short Story judge. He reads slush pile for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

2012 Competition Terms and Conditions

1. Entry is open to all Australian residents. Entry forms can be downloaded from

2. The purpose of the short story competition is to promote non-constitutional change towards an Australian republic and to remind Australians what they still do not have.

3. The theme for the speculative fiction competition is 'defining Australian identity in an Australian republic'. Short stories will be required to use this theme to portray an Australian republican future.

4. First prize is $500. Second Prize is $60. Third Prize is $40. The winning short stories are eligible for publication in Republican Roundup and on the ARM website. Copyright of each short story will remain with the author.

5. Entry fee is $11.99 (incl GST). Each additional submission fee is $6.11 (incl GST) Entry fees are to be paid by money order or cheque to Australian Republican Movement. Please do not send cash.

6. Entries must be unpublished and not have won any other awards. Each manuscript entered must meet all of the following requirements:
* Length -- 2000 to 4000 words
* Typed -- double spaced on one side of the paper
* Title Page -- must include your name, address, phone number, story title, length, and email
* Do not submit originals. Manuscripts will not be returned.
* While appropriate colourful language might be accepted (within moderation), entries must not contain extreme foul language, racial or sexually explicit content that would render the entry unsuitable for publication.
* Electronic copies will be accepted at
* Deadline -- postmarked on or before 6 November 2012 (Advice: enter early -- avoid deadline crush)

7. The competition will be judged by Tom Keneally, Professor Brian Matthew, Professor John Warhurst, and Dr Glenn Davies. The judging committee will select the best short stories from the qualified entries and determine the winners. The judges reserve the right not to award prizes if in their judgement there are no short stories entered of sufficient standard. The decision of the judging committee is final.

8. The prize money will be awarded by Australian Republican Movement in accordance with the decision of the judging committee. The winning entries will be publicised on 26 January 2013. Each contestant after 26 January 2013 will receive the following information: Name of the competition winner / Name and background of the judges / The 2012 competition statistics

9. Mail signed official entry form and your manuscript (s) on or before 6 November 2012 to: Australian Republican Movement (Qld), PO Box 87, Geebung Q 4034

10. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or post a blog query at

Best of luck!