Peter FitzSimons at the 2017 Byron Bay Writers Festival.
Peter FitzSimons at the 2017 Byron Bay Writers Festival. kurtpetersenphoto.com

Lisa Wilkinson's evil eye edict to hubby Peter FitzSimons

COPPING the "evil eye" from his high-profile TV show wife sitting in the front row, Peter FitzSimons had the audience in stitches as he delivered his Case for a Republic at the Byron Bay Writers Festival over the weekend.

Against Channel 9's Today host Lisa Wilkinson's stern instructions not to be a "loud dickhead" at the three-day event, the colourful Fairfax columnist and author couldn't help but pepper his assault on Elizabethan elitism with larrikin humour.

 

TODAY host Liz Wilkinson at the 2017 Byron Bay Writers Festival.
TODAY host Liz Wilkinson at the 2017 Byron Bay Writers Festival. Alina Rylko

FitzSimons urged "Australia's peasantry" to revolt against the "humiliation" of colonisation as a matter of national pride.

"Australians can do better if we don't get our head of state from the English family living in the palace in London, Hashtag for Christ's Sake, Hashtag shoot me," FitzSimons said.

"We say to the Constitutionalists, who act as if the Constitution was brought down from the mountain by Moses, that it's possible that the constitution can be improved and modernised.

"There's something seriously weird and embarrassing about demanding that our parliamentarians be top to toe, back to front, ridgy didge, dinky di and true blue and smell of gum leaves just before we make them swear allegiance to the Queen - someone that is 100% foreign."

 

Peter FitzSimons at the 2017 Byron Bay Writers Festival, with Lisa Wilkinson in the front row.
Peter FitzSimons at the 2017 Byron Bay Writers Festival, with Lisa Wilkinson in the front row. Alina Rylko

Hands shot up in support at the end of the talk, with FitzSimons later telling The Northern Star in the book signing tent, he expected at least 150 people to sign up to the Australian Republic Movement on Saturday.

"We're in the realm of progressive politics and Byron's a very progressive area," FitzSimons said.

He tried to sign The Northern Star up to the Australian Republic Movement, which aims for a referendum on a republic within four years.

"If you care about national pride and national dignity, the fact that in the 21st century Australia is still getting its head of state from the family of the English aristocrats is ludicrous.

"Grown-up countries trust their own democracy."

 

Time Machine author and media personality Adam Spencer chimed in to FitzSimons' passionate debate.

"If the opponent runs both the arguments - 'look, it's so trivial it doesn't matter' and 'it's so important we might all die' - the truth runs down the middle," he said.

Among many, the festival also featured journalists Julia Baird, Caroline Baum, Paul Barclay, Laura Tingle, Jennifer Byrne, Malcolm Farr and Antony Funnell.

 

ALL SMILES: Australian Financial Review political editor Laura Tingle, Fairfax columnist Peter Fitzsimons and ABC broadcaster Julia Baird in the book signing tent.
ALL SMILES: Australian Financial Review political editor Laura Tingle, Fairfax columnist Peter Fitzsimons and ABC broadcaster Julia Baird in the book signing tent. Alina Rylko

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