Franca Arena AM

About Franca Arena AM

Franca Arena was born in Genoa - Italy. She immigrated to Australia in 1959. She worked as a journalist with the Italian newspaper La Fiamma and as a producer/broadcaster in Italian with stations 2SM, 2CH and 2KY. She became active in Ethnic Affairs and Women’s Affairs and was appointed to several Federal and State Government Advisory bodies. She was one of the founders of the Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales and of S.B.S. (Special Broadcasting Services) In 1977 she won a Churchill Fellowship to study overseas the integration of minority groups into the host society. In 1981 she received an Order of Australia for her services to the ethnic communities. In 1990 she received l’Onorificenza di Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana (Knight Commander of the Italian Republic) from the Italian Government. In 1981 she was elected to the New South Wales Parliament, the first woman of ethnic (Italian) background ever to be elected to an Australia Parliament. In 1991 she was one of the founders of the Australian Republican Movement. She became a strong advocate for children’s rights and become involved with a strong anti-paedophilia campaign. In 1997 she resigned from the Labor Party of which she had been a member for 25 years and stood unsuccessfully for election in 1999 after forming the Franca Arena Child Safety Alliance. Since her retirement Franca has written her autobiography which was published in 2002 “Franca – My story” She is involved in various charitable organizations and is working as a volunteer telephone Counsellor at Lifeline. She is the founding President of the National Italian-Australian Women’s Association which in 2005 celebrated its 20th anniversary. In 2004 she was given the CITY OF GENOA AWARD, (LIGURE ILLUSTRE) as an illustrious former citizen who has honoured the name of Genoa around the world. Franca Arena has taken part in many broadcasts and telecasts, has written a large number of papers and articles and given many public speeches and lectures in the areas of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Women’s Affairs, education Republicanism and the Protection of children

An open letter to Prince William from Franca Arena AM

Dear Prince William, Kate and young George

Welcome to Australia!!!

We welcome the three of you to AUSTRALIA as distinguished and friendly visitors.

You must understand, however, that so many of us can‘t imagine that one day, you William, will be the “King of Australia”.

This is just how our present conservative Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, sees you, but believe me more and more people think that Mr. Abbott belongs in the Menzies era.

That was the time when Australia was so close to the UK; when Prime Minister Attlee asked Prime Minister Menzies if it was possible to use our country to test and explode, atomic bombs.

Menzies said yes straight away – without even consulting the Cabinet.

Here was an Australian Prime Minister who would have been happier to be British rather than being a colonial Australian.

“I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die…”

This is what he said to your grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

Prince William –  can you envisage a modern Australian Prime Minister saying something like that these days?

Well, maybe PM Abbott who, when he was sworn to his high office, chose to swear alliance to the Queen and her heirs and successors and not to Australia and its people?

A very disappointing development.

Mr Abbott has also reintroduced the titles of Dame and Sir without even consulting his Cabinet or caucus, knowing full well that there exists even among his colleagues many ardent Republicans.

Ex Governor General Quentin Bryce has been the biggest disappointment. She could have refused the title of Dame and assert her Republicanism.

But, like many, she fell for the allure of the title.

It is not that we don’t consider Great Britain a friendly country with close ties to Australia, but we are now an independent and modern nation, with nearly 200 different ethnic groups, a nation that has understood our future lies in this part of the world.

It lies in our region, in Asia.

Don’t you think that we are entitled to have own Head of State?

An Australian who lives amongst us and share all our achievements, our worries, our sorrows?

Our present Governor, the Hon. General, General Peter Cosgrove, like his predecessor, the Hon. Quentin Bryce, would have made excellent Presidents of the AUSTRALIAN Republic. They would represent us and the Australian nation anywhere they went. Instead, if you were our Head of State you would represent first and foremost Great Britain, anywhere you went.

Please, William, understand that your occasional visits will always be welcomed. You have been a friend and you will always be our friend, but we need to stand up and be our own. But also understand that the stronger Republican sentiments will grow in Australia, the greatest number of invitations will be extended to you and other members of the Royal family.

Rather sad, don’t you think?

It is an issue we as Australians need to resolve on our own, but I thought it was important for you to know that many of us want to see our country become a Republic.

Time and history is on our side.

Franca Arena A.M.

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