April 1


We must begin by assuring our readers that the following litany was not concocted as a hoax appropriate for April Fool's day. The Australian Republican Movement has just appointed, yet again, a number of so called ambassadors for the republic. Although the ARM has done this before, and the scheme has sunk without a trace, the media treated this as a newsworthy event presided over by its relatively new leader, Professor Warhust. They do not, it seems change their chairman as often as they do their executive director. The good thing about this republican push is that the unfortunate taxpayer is not funding it-yet. As you know, the republicans are prone to put their hand out, or rather into the taxpayer's pocket They are quite happy to see even more money diverted from schools, hospitals, transport and security into their plan to gut what is certainly one of the world 's most successful constitutions. Now it has not been a good week for republicans. They were just getting over The Age ' s revelation that our Flag would have to go under a republic. In Taiwan, we saw the presidential election under challenge, with the opposition saying that the

President had staged a fake assassination attempt during the campaign. We do not know whether this happened-but it does recall a similar event in the career of the late Francois President Mitterand, the co-called Observatory Affair in 1959, where he faked an assassination attempt on himself for political advantage.


Neither that, nor the fact that he worked for and was decorated by the Vichy government which collaborated with Hitler didn't stop him from subsequently becoming President of France, an office he held for fourteen years! His biographer, Ronald Tiersky describes, him as a Machiavellian republican, a kind of republican monarch. A fair description for the man who was silent when the French police deported French Jews, and who later seems to have seen to it that then police chief, Rene Bousquet, was never charged. When the tide turned against Hitler in 1943, Mitterand joined the Resistance. And when he became President, as a Socialist, he nationalized the banks, which was such a disaster they were then privatized. His two long seven-year terms were tainted by corruption, his preference for the socalled Great Works such as the glass tower Library in Paris which had to be converted radically because the books were in danger of being destroyed by the heat, and of course the creation of a European super state run by the Paris – Bonn Berlin axis. The week was dominated in the sub-continent by a Sri Lankan election campaign was essentially between the prime  minister and the President, who had brought on the election but wasn't standing herself. The result-it has enhanced the standing of the secessionists who engage in terrorism and a war in the northern part of the  island. They are asking whether the new government will have a mandate to deal with them! And our republicans want to graft a presidency onto our superb constitution. Whether elected by parliament, a college or directly, the president will behave as a politician in his dealings with the prime minister and the parliament. The resulting instability will flow over into the markets -and the people of Australia will pay the price-not the ARM and their friends who designed the mess. Then in Lithuania, a court has opened the way for the impeachment of the President. He was found to have conferred citizenship on a Russian who contributed his election campaign. He also revealed state secrets to his Russian benefactor. The Russian presidential campaign resulted in a suspiciously high vote for the former KGB officer, Mr Putin, aided no doubt by convenient arrests and a compliant media. The Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand systems shine in comparison, don't they?

Only a fool, April or not, would change them.


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