April 17

Attorney-General’s proposed republic

The Hon Nicola Roxon, who as Attorney-General is the first law officer of the Crown,  declared soon after her appointment that she is  a strong advocate of a republic, and that she is  looking for the “right opportunity to re-invigorate (the) debate” on removing the Australian  Crown from the Australian constitutional system. 

This is the same Australian Crown to which she has more than once pledged allegiance.

Unlike the current republican movement of which she has been a prominent member, she has come out and indicated her preference about the form of politicans' republic which should replace our ancient model.  Her declaration after her appointment means that she has no intention what soever of putting her republican agenda on the back burner even while she is the first law officer of the Australian Crown. She clearly sees no conflict of interest in this.

…"sharpen attack on monarchy"- Ms. Roxon's call..


In 2006, while in opposition, she called on republicans “to apply the blowtorch to constitutional monarchy.”   In a warning to any recalcitrant Labor MP who dared have second thoughts about the republican agenda – and there are several – she insisted that being a republican "is a core condition of membership to the (Labor) caucus”.

True  this is in the party platform, but so were the nationalisation of industry and the maintenance of the White Australia policy and both enjoyed significantly more support.  That didn't stop the selling off of the Commonwealth Bank and the national airline Qantas, nor the Whitlam government following the former Coalition government in dismantling the restrictive immigration policy. 

Ms Roxon continued:  “We definitely need to sharpen our attack on the institution of monarchy.  The best thing is, they are such an easy target.”

  She said those who developed the constitutional monarchy “would turn in their graves, I suspect, were they to see the likes of David Flint or Tony Abbott suggesting that their compromise was the final destination for democratic progress.”

She said that monarchy was not suggested as an option in Timor, Afghanistan or Iraq. 

Not so – restorations were proposed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and there were even some suggestions that East Timor become a Commonwealth Realm.  She asked her audience to “… imagine if instead of Xanana Gusmao, the East Timorese had to rely on Sir John Kerr, as the representative of a distant foreign monarch, to restore order. One shudders at the thought.”

From that it is reasonable to conclude that Ms.  Roxon is toying with changing our ancient and successful constitution by adapting it to the East Timorese model.  She clearly doesn’t like the Australian constitutional system nor especially, the Australian Crown. 
… East Timor model: PM misunderstood it, AG adores it ….

The current presidential election in East Timor shows us just what Attorney-General Roxon is arguing we should have.

In the first of two rounds of voting, Francisco “Lú-Olo” Guterres, the candidate for the main opposition party Fretilin, led the voting with 28 per cent, followed by the protegé of Xanana Gusmão, former military chief Taur Matan Ruak with 25 per cent, and current President and veteran politician, José Ramos-Horta in third position with 19%. There were nine other candidates.

According to News Weekly 31 March 2012, Mr. Ramos-Horta had publicly criticised the Gusmão government for corruption and nepotism. The journal says the first round vote reflected historical divisions in East Timor. In particular divsions  between people living in the eastern districts, which are Fretilin’s stronghold, and the country’s capital Dili, where Gusmão’s party is based. The army strongly supported their former commander, Taur Matan Ruak.

Incidentally, with her praise of the East Timorese model, does this mean that Ms. Roxon favours the armed forces playing politics?   This is something ours haven’t done since Cromwell established a republic.

The journal says the divisions also reflected deep public concerns about issues such as the lack of national development despite billions of dollars of royalties in the country’s Petroleum Fund, a widening wealth gap between the middle-class in towns such as Dili and Baucau and the majority of people who remain extremely poor, and the problem of corruption in government.

….politicians’ republic…

The East Timorese model became newsorthy in Australia when the Prime Minister sought to  enter into an agreement with the East Timorese government to send asylum seekers there. The Prime Minister negotiated with the President assuming he led the government; the President is in fact the head of state but not also the head of government.

But if  Ms. Roxon is proposing to remodel the Australian constitution into one based on East Timor’s, this would mean that in a typical decade Australians would  have to vote on over 50 occasions to elect about eighteen additional politicians. 

That is, 18 additional politician across the nation.   Just think of the accommodation, offices, retinue, international travel, superannuation, lifetime offices, staff, travel and so on.

Will the nineties proposal to build a presidential palace in Canberra be revived?  

This will be a politicians’ republic indeed.


You may also like

Celebrate the King’s Birthday

Celebrate the King’s Birthday

Record Online Audience 

Record Online Audience 
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter!