June 12

Denmark: For Australians it was a plebiscite, not a referendum

You report (9/6)that 77.7% of Danes have voted to approve a constitutional change under which female heirs to the Throne will have the same rights as male heirs, I said in the following letter dated 11 June to The Australian.

"You refer to this as a 'plebiscite'. We Australians would call it a 'referendum'," the letter continued.

"This is because the Danish people had all the details of the proposal before – and not after –  they voted. The Danish Constitution only allows such a referendum where a bill specifying the proposed change has been twice by Parliament, with an election intervening."

"Fearing that they would lose another referendum where their plans would have be revealed, Australia’s republicans propose a plebiscite on a vague undefined republic without the people having any details whatsoever. There is a Bill before the Senate to implement this at the next election.

"This is intended to be part of a cascading series of  federal, state and possibly territorial plebiscites and referendums, with no doubt a further one on a new flag.   This means there could be up to 28 polls."

[A proposal for a similar change is to be discussed at the next Commonwealth Conference,  much to the chagrin of Australia's republicans. If it is adopted they will no longer be able to whinge about something Australia's  republican politicians have never bothered to raise in the Commonwealth. That fact is of course an indication surely as to whether the repulican politicians  are sincere in their complaints about the succession: see this column "Kevin Rudd should take a lesson from Gordon Brown" 2 April, 2009.]



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