Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Monarchists promise fight over republic

The headline of an AAP article was prominently placed on the opening site of

The news agency referred to a statement of Prof. David Flint AM, which he had sent out on 8th April:
Debate gerrymandered debate due to the gerrymander...
“The media has a vested interest in change - change equates to news and news is the life blood of the media,” declared Paul Kelly as editor-in chief of The Australian in 1993 when he was addressing a forum on constitutional change.

Having extracted some sort of commitment to some republican debate, the Australian media were beside themselves the day after the Prime Minister’s audience with The Queen.

Over a photograph of The Queen and Mr Rudd, the front page of the print version of The Australian, 8 April, 2008 carried this headline “Rudd to push debate on republic”.

The Sydney Morning Herald, again only in the print version, tucked the story with the photograph on the fourth page under this line, “Rudd raises republic as he sets off to see Queen.”

We suppose this was done discreetly in case anyone thought the Herald was returning to the monarchism of its long distant youth.

But what had the PM said?. There was some personal testimony to “lifelong republicanism” - as though it were some sort of genetic disorder.

Then he welcomed a “debate” this year. But that won’t be at the 2020 Summit - the republican gerrymander there would leave old style Queensland politicians – from both sides –green with envy. There will be no debate, just republican monologues there, except of course for the delightful sole monarchist the Hon. Helen Sham Ho.

In any event the PM said that the government “would be looking at how that debate develops.”

We have three pieces of advice to the Prime Minister.

First, please don’t refer to “the” republic as you did in London. Since the failure of the Keating-Turnbull model , the republicans still haven’t worked out what sort of republic they want. So it’s still “a” republic, that is, any sort of vague undefined republic.

Really, Prime Minister, couldn’t you get these republicans to at least say what they want?

Second, remember there is no interest in this among the rank and file. Labor voting electorates were among the strongest No voters in 1999.

Third, we promise you a fight of monumental proportions to keep our constitutional system and our flag. Don’t underestimate us, Mr Prime Minister – on this we are more in touch with the people.

Fourth, it would be an act of gross financial delinquency to spend one more cent of taxpayer’ funds on this.

No more money should be diverted from schools, hospitals and water to subsidise the republicans in this folly.

And while they are at it, the republicans might also work out some reason why the issue should be re-opened. They’ll need to do better than the editor of The (Adelaide) Advertiser who said among the reasons were that India, China and Australia were richer, and then there was the outrage of 9/11. We still do not see the connection.

Seriously, if the vote had gone the other way in 1999, does anyone think we would get another bite at the cherry.

We’d be ridiculed if we argued that.

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