2008-01-28

The Australian Republic

Malcolm Turnbull and the Australian Republic Movement are at it again:
The architect of 1999's failed republican referendum says the Queen would have to die or abdicate before Australians would vote out the monarchy forever.

Malcolm Turnbull, who is now Opposition treasury spokesman, said today the Queen's departure from the throne would be a "watershed event that would galvanise the population" into debating what type of head of state they wanted.

"I said at the time of the 1999 referendum that if we voted 'no' it would mean 'no' for a very long time," Mr Turnbull said on the Australia Day holiday.

Asked when a new vote would be held, Mr Turnbull said: "My own judgment is that the next time when you would have your best prospects is at the end of the Queen's reign - when she dies or when she abdicates.

"We have got to have a very serious discussion about what we want our head of state to do," he said.
Like many Aussies I think Australia should have its own Head of State. We should have some form of president rather than leaving executive duties in the hands of an English Monarch (and his/her appointed lackey). Like a minority of Australians, I voted "yes" in the 1999 referendum, confident that, once a Republic was underway, we could change it to suit our needs more. Republicans who voted "no" during the 1999 debate - who argued that the model presented wasn't the one they wanted - essentially prevented Australia from being a Republic. Moreover, by voting "no", they indicated that they preferred an English Monarch over a flawed but fixable Republican model.

Having said all that, I must give my 2 cents regarding this current little debate. Changing Australia from a Constitutional Monarchy into a Republic is a major deal. Once a decision has been made, it is foolish to keep "flogging a dead horse" until at least some time has gone by. The 1999 referendum seems an age ago but it was only 9 years. Australia needs to progress for another generation before any changes get voted on again.

I therefore support another referendum on the Republic - but 25 years after the previous one. I'm happy for a Republic referendum to go ahead in 2024 but not in 2008 or 2009 or any years in between. The fact is that in 1999 we voted to remain as we are and it seems ridiculous to think that the opinions of Aussies have changed much in 9 years.

2 comments:

Ron Lankshear said...

I agree there is no reason for ANOTHER referendum in the near future. Not that I see any need for another one anyway. The Sun Herald recently was pushing Kim Beasley for next GG and saying he might be the last. I assume the pollies idea of a republic is still that the GG would simply be the President but selected by a combined sitting rather than the PM. (PS the Monarch does not in any practical terms appoint the GG.)

I can't see any acceptance of Pollies republic amongst the people. Does Kevin have it in his agenda?

So Turnbull scenario is Queen goes - people then start to think if they like Charles - before anything else happens - William is King and makes a visit and there we are!

Breaking News: Charles has been so supportive of Dalai Lama that China won't let him come to Beijing for the Games.

apodeictic said...

Like a majority of Australians I voted "no" in the 1999 referendum. And like many Aussies I support the concept of constitutional monarchy. I for one am sick to death of the whole Republic issue. When will journalists stop flogging Keating's dead horse and report on something of worth for a change?

You said that in 1999 you voted yes, "confident that, once a Republic was underway, we could change it to suit our needs more." Get real. Have you never heard of political inertia? Had the yes vote got up in the 1999 referendum that would have been the end of the debate for at least 100 years, possibly forever. Unlike the French, Australians don't do multiple republics/ constitutions in short succession. The only sensible option for people who valued a different kind of republic was to vote no.

I will continue to exercise my democratic and constitutional right to frustrate the selfish vision of disgruntled baby boomers who refuse to grow up along with their sycophantic chardonnay-set acolytes. Power to the (Australian) people I say.