If the republican movement has its way, Australians will be ordered to the urns to vote in two spurious plebiscites designed to rewrite our tried and tested Constitution, a point made in this column on 11 December, 2007 (“Plebiscites – as with opinion polls, it all depends on the question.”) We said then the point ACM has been making since the republicans decided that the plebiscite was the way to get some sort of republic. The use of a plebiscite in these circumstances is against the spirit and possibly the letter of our constitution, which for over a hundred years has clearly established the referendum as the only way in which the Constitution should be changed.
The Founders of our nation were well aware of the abuse to which plebiscites can be put to justify constitutional change; they were well aware of the blatant misuse of the plebiscite by the Bonapartes, a point I raised in “The Cane Toad Republic” in 1999. Moreover there are more recent examples of its misuse, one of the most glaring being in Quebec. So why do Australia's republicans want these plebiscites? They want them for two reasons. First, the republican movement is too undemocratic to accept the peoples’ overwhelming decision in 1999. Nothing has happened to reopen the question. The second reason is they expect that if asked again in a referendum, the people will come to the same conclusion. Indeed Professor Greg Craven thinks that the defeat would be even more resounding than in 1999. The principal difference between the plebiscite our founders did not want, and the referendum they carefully chose, is this.
In the plebiscite the people get the details after, and not before they vote. A constitutional plebiscite is like a blank cheque. And as with opinion polls, it all depends on the question. A skilled spin doctor can phrase the question to get the answer he or she wants, even doubling the vote. That is why Australians for Constitutional Monarchy have been opposed to the republican ruse to use these since they were first mooted soon after the referendum.
In the earlier column I referred to an opinion poll on the Canadian monarchy which seemed an aberration compared with other polls. ( As we can see from the photograph of the foyer of a Candian court, The Queen has a special place amoung Canadians.) Robert Finch, Dominion Chairman of The Monarchist League of Canada, La ligue monarchiste du Canada, wondered about the poll and had it investigated by “Senex”.
Senex has written a most thorough analysis for the Fall-Winter 2007 issue of the League’s newspaper, Canadian Monarchist News, Number 27, which we discussed in the earlier column. The print version of the News has now arrived in Australia, and it is superb.
The Canadian Monarchist News, Les Nouvelles Monarchiques du Canada, constitutes , as usual, an excellent contribution to the defence of the Crown, and not only in Canada. It includes a review of Sir David Smith’s book, Head of State, by an eminent Canadian authority from the University of Regina, Dr. D Michael Jackson, CVO, CD.
Dr Jackson’s conclusion in his thorough three and a half page review is that Sir David’s book is a “ must read for Canadians.”
There is also a report on the Diamond Wedding Anniversary, the opinion poll we just referred to, and an excellent paper on The Crown in Canada’s Federal State Relations. A young Canadian, Christopher Ogilvie writes on “Why The Canadian Monarchy,” and there are reports, book reviews, letters and comments from all over Canada, with news on Australia. There is even a photograph of our new Prime Minister, Mr. Rudd. There is a report on Canada’s first Chief Herald, and a piece “My Summer at Buckingham Palace,” by Eugene Berezovsky.
Among the regular features is the always fascinating column on “ Members’ Memories,” and the award column, “Crowns…” for those who serve the Crown “…and Maces” for those who undermine it. As you probably know, we recently borrowed this, with permission, for ACM use.
Practitioners of creeping republicanism beware!
Congratulations to Robert Finch and his colleagues at the The Monarchist League of Canada, La ligue monarchiste du Canada.