"Have you wondered what Opposition Deputy Leader and shadow treasurer Julie Bishop thinks about an Australian republic?” asks D. D. McNicoll in his popular Strewth column in The Australian, 18 November, 2008. He continued:
“It was a subject that had never crossed Strewth's mind until we noticed on David Flint's Australians for Constitutional Monarchy website that Bishop delivered the Australian Republican Movement's national republican lecture in Canberra on October11.
“ A check of the News Limited library revealed the speech went unreported in the main Australian newspapers, so we went to the Liberal Party of Australia's website, which lists every important speech and interview Bishop gives.
“There was no mention of the momentous October 11 speech. Moving on to the ARM website, we were elated when we found a link to the annual national republican lecture, but disappointment followed.
“ The last speech listed is the 2007 lecture by Sydney Institute boss Gerard Henderson.”
…don't preach, especially with an axe….
Perhaps Ms.Bishop has taken the advice I gave in the book in which we both have chapters, Liberals and Power, noted in this column on 4 November.
( My chapter is the one with the footnotes. Unfortunately my chief of staff did not have the time to write it for me.)
My advice for Liberals who have to be republicans was that it is unwise to preach about republicanism. Especially with an axe.
I said:““Those Liberals who wish to graft a republic onto this must understand that pronouncing themselves in favour of some vague and undefined republic is of no utility, weakens the constitutional system and is pointlessly divisive.
"Of course, no Liberal should ever use republicanism either to demonstrate some product differentiation from their leader ( I just can't imagine whom I meant here), or that he or she is 'in touch'.
“ Those Liberals who do genuinely wish to turn Australia into a republic must first conceive and refine a worthy model, one as effective and as secure as our present system. And then they must persuade the Australians people, nationally and in the states, to lend it not just lukewarm support, but a persuasive level of enthusiastic support.
"Without that, the issue will have the potential to divide the Party and for no purpose inflict serious damage upon it and upon the unity of the nation.
"They would do far better to redirect their effort to matters of more immediate concern.”