January 29

Give the people the details before they vote: leading republican Sir Zelman

“A debate on monarchy and republicanism can only be sensible or meaningful if we can judge between the existing system and the full content of what is proposed to put in its place,” declared Sir Zelman Cowen. 

“A ‘republic’ without more doesn’t tell us anything like enough: in order to form a sensible judgement we must know in detail what the institutions of a reformed Australian system of government will be.”

Sir Zelman, who supported the proposed republic in 1999, was speaking in  Adelaide on 21 January 1995.  

We assume from this that Sir Zelman would be obviously opposed to a plebiscite about “a” republic.

In the meantime a Mr. M. Bain has sent me a copy of his letter to Senator Brown in which he asks how the Senator would answer a plebiscite on the question :

“Do you agree that the method of electing Senators  should be changed?

  •           YES
  •           NO

And how, Senator, would any rational person vote?


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