Constitutional Convention medal awarded to Bruce Ruxton to commemorate his attendance at the Constitutional Convention in Canberra in 1998. The 1988 Constitutional Convention was instituted by the Howard federal government to consider whether Australia should become a republic and which republic model should be put to voters. The model that was finally suggested was narrowly defeated in a referendum. Bruce Ruxton was long-time head of the Victorian RSL and a vocal conservative.

Physical Description

Hexagonal medal encased in perspex block.

Obverse Description

Old Parliament House, Canberra, Australia. Beneath: CONSTITUTIONAL / CONVENTION / 1998 / BRUCE RUXTON

Reverse Description

Australian Coat of Arms


The Constitutional Convention was held in Canberra from the 2nd to 13th February, 1998. Its stated purpose was to consider the pros and cons of changing the Constitution to a republican form of government. If the consensus was yes, then a republican model was to be decided on, so it could be put to the Australian people in a referendum in 1999. The convention delegates consisted of 152 Australian from all walks of life, half of which were elected and half appointed. Victoria had 16 elected delegates, including Eddie McGuire, Steve Vizard, Poppy King, Lindsay Fox, Tim Costello, Moyra Rayner and Bruce Ruxton. The Convention resulted in the the Australian Republican Movement model being the one put to the Australian People in a referendum in 1999, where the President was appointed by the Prime Minister after ratification by a 2/3 majority of Federal Parliament. The move to make Australia a republic was defeated.

Bruce Ruxton attended the convention as part of the `Safeguard the People' group, who stated that `Many Australians of all ages, including service men and women, are concerned that removing the Crown from the Constitution will remove safeguards for present and future Australians.. Beware of changing something which has worked, without knowing or understanding what is going in its place'. Mr Ruxton was a regular and passionate contributor to the Convention, initiating debate about the having the current flag enshrined in the Constitution, the age limits for any Presidential Candidate, having English established as Australia's national language, and his perceived weaknesses of the various republican models put forward. Transcripts of this are on file.

Bruce Ruxton was born in Beaumaris, Melbourne, on 6th February, 1926. Serving with the second 25th Battalion in World War 2, including time in Borneo, he then joined the RSL in 1946. He ended up as Victorian State President, serving from 1979 to 2002 when he officially retired. Known for his controversial conservative opinions on such topics as Immigration, Aboriginal Land Rights and Republicism, he was never afraid of airing his opinions in public and defending them in the media. Even his harshest critics have begrudgingly admired his dedication to war veterans and widows, having assisted over 30,000 in his honorary position with the RSL. In 2002 he announced plans to relocate to Queensland for health reasons.

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