April 10

Australian referendum this year ?

Reporting Ms. Clark's speech in the previous story, one NZ media outlet says the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also thinks his country will soon become a republic. 

They say he “is expected to call a referendum on the issue later this year.” 

Now I doubt that for several reasons. The principal one is Kevin Rudd knows he would lose. As he did in 1999, when, as a somewhat miffed Malcolm Turnbull says, he wasn't greatly seen at the republican barricades.

This is despite our  Prime Minister being, as he ostentatiously claims, a "life-long republican."   So people are actually born republcians are they? 

This seems most unlikely, although the Prime Minister is coy about the time of the next referendum. Although there is a Bill for this before the Senate, it is a private member's bill, one introduced by the leader of the Greens, Senator Brown.

Mr. Rudd will also use the issue to drive a wedge through the Liberals, principally because some liberals are foolish to allow this and to indicate that they too favour some sort of politician’s republic. 

We think the PM unlikely to hold a referendum with the next election because the issue would swallow up too much limited media attention.  And as the referendum is on all indications likely to be lost, it is hard to see the point.  This is particularly so when the government has not even decided what sort of republic they want.

But as we approach the election, the economic situation may have changed and the government  could need  a distraction. 


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