The Sydney broadcaster,2GB’s Alan Jones, has revealed that Mark Latham believes that Australians are not interested in the republic.
Mr Jones revealed in his daily editorial to-day, 22 April, 2004 that Mark Latham, in 2002, was at pains to point out that the issues that preoccupy the so-called elites were not the issues that concerned what he called suburban Australia.(You can read this on the 2GB site: www.2gb.com
Mr. Latham had said:
"Consider the republican debate. One e group of powerful elites, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, engages another group of powerful elites, the Australian Republican Movement in a symbolic debate about Australia’s Head of State….In the suburbs, politics is more pragmatic. People don’t have the resources to distance themselves from neighbourhood problems….People want to know what politicians can do for them in a tangible and constructive way. Politicians who define themselves in ideological terms are seen as irrelevant."
Mr Jones said Mark Latham had criticised Tony Abbott for rekindling, at that time, what he called controversy over the three "R’s" – refugees, reconciliation and the republic.
Mr Latham said:
"Suburban Australia has nothing to gain from this debate. While the politically correct and incorrect berate each other in the media, the bread and butter issues are overlooked. The culture war can never fix the problems of unemployment, crime and youth suicide in our community."
Alan Jones says that Mark Latham was right to argue, in 2002, that a debate about whether we are to be a republic or not was an irrelevance in a world of unemployment, crime and youth suicide….He described the phoney debates about a republic, reconciliation and refugees as "a deliberate strategy by leaders, provoking debate and defining themselves to their weakest opponents."And he then said, "In effect, our National leaders are prepared to tear the nation in two so long as they can pick up the larger part politically."
Mr Jones says that many will be wondering, when it comes to the United States alliance or the issue of the republic, whether the new Labor leader may not be playing the very game that he quite rightly criticised others only two years ago.
Incidentally, Sydney’s highest circulating newspaper,the Daily Telegraph, published a telephone poll every day. The question today was whether Mr Latham’s commitment to a republic would encourage readers to vote for him. This attracted a higher than usual response,582, with 77% voting No.