Now we know it. The Leader of Her Majesty’s Australian Opposition will spend millions more of taxpayers’ money in putting yet another referendum on whether Australia should become a republic if Labor wins office. If the people were to agree it would have the effect of politicising the office now held by the Governor-General and the Governors. Mr. Rudd talks of “a” republic- it apparent that he has not decided the essential question-what sort of republic is he talking about? It is not clear why he raised this issue today. Perhaps it was because the commentators are saying that on policy, he is becoming a mirror image to Mr. Howard. Mr. Rudd may have taken a leaf from Mr. Costello’s book and decided that a little brand differentiation might now be timely.
“[W]e are going to consult the people again. We haven't fixed a time frame for doing that, and I think the time will come before too much longer when we do have an Australian as our head of state," he said in Melbourne according to a report on 25 July, 2007 on the News Limited website .He claimed becoming a republic was not a "first order concern" for working families right now. He said that the time he time would come when it was. Coming as he does from a multi-millionaire family, you might wonder how he knows what the concerns of working families are now or in the future. Mr Malcolm Turnbull, who was at the heart of the referendum campaign in 1999, concluded four months before the vote that “nobody is interested.” [See this column, 4 April, 2001]
Mr. Rudd does not accept that 'No' means 'No', although the result in 1999 was a landslide with the No case prevailing in every state and 72% of electorates. Knowing that support for republicanism has declined, and especially among the youth, [see report here on WA poll 7 September 2006] he concedes that it “will just take a little while. We've asked the people once; they said no, you've got to respect that. But we'll work out when we'll ask them again." So we are going to be kept in the dark until such time as one faction makes a referendum the price of support on daylight saving or some unrelated topic. After all, that’s how the party works.
Claiming the 1999 referendum had confused many people, he said the question in any future referendum would be clear-cut. Perhaps he is planning to do what the republican movement tried to do in 1999 – remove all references to “ republic’ and “president “ from the question.[“It was the question “ , 29 May 2007]
ACM assures Mr. Rudd that he will have a fight on his hands if he tries to revive republicanism, including changing our flag, as Mr. Keating and Mr. Beasley planned.