…a political Governor-General…
"The new Governor-General should be someone who is open to all sides of the republican debate – unlike the current Governor-General who has declined to meet representatives of the ARM despite the fact that more Australians support a republic than the monarchy," says[i] the current head of the republican movement, forgetting the landslide vote against their preferred model in 1999.
The Governor-General is above politics, so why should he meet people coming to him as representatives of a political lobby? Of course he receives politicians, but as Ministers of the Crown and members of the legislature.
Perhaps the republican movement were planning to ask him to help them in their apparent inability to tell the Australian people precisely what will be in their republican constitution or on their republican flag.
Surely the ARM president, who as a retired soldier still carries The Queen’s commission, would know that the Governor-General cannot comment on these matters.
Just from this, you can see the sort of head of state the republicans want.
… don’t try to peddle plans to overthrow our system are not for Government House …
On this, the following letter from Sir David Smith ( pictured reading the 1975 Proclamation dissolving the Parliament) was published in The Canberra Times of 29 January, 2008:
“How sad and pathetic that the head of the Australian republican movement should have chosen Australia Day – the day on which most of us choose to emphasise the things that unite us – to emphasis the very thing that divides us. In this leap year Major-General Mike Keating has 365 other days on which to preach his misbegotten philosophy, but no, he had to choose Australia Day. Even worse, he had to drag the Governor-General into the debate (“Calls for a democratic GG”, January 26, 2008).
“Major-General Mike Keating is no longer a serving officer but a private citizen, so he has the luxury of seeking to overthrow our system of government. On the other hand, the Governor-General is not yet a private citizen: he is still in the service of the Crown.
"He therefore cannot take sides in the republican debate, as indeed he has not, and for the Australian republican movement to complain because the Governor-General has declined to meet its representatives is to fail to understand the role of the Governor-General in our society. I hope that the next Governor-General will maintain the same impeccable high standard in this matter.
“In our modern democracy, republicans are perfectly entitled to peddle their aim to overthrow our system of government, but they must do so in the market place, not at Government House.
The same call by the republicans was widely reported in the national media. I sent this letter to The Australian, also reminding readers about the origins of The Bulletin which was just about to close. We heard a lot about its republicanism, but no one explained that this was driven by racism.
It is now almost mandatory for republicans to launch some sort of stunt around Australia Day – just remember how the “Mate for Head of State” campaign fizzled out at Bondi Beach.Now it seems they want to tell Mr Rudd what to do, (“Republicans want PM to listen, The Australian 25 January 2008) although he says a republican referendum will not be on in this term, “if at all.”
"Predictably we are told to throw out our flag and our constitution. The extraordinary thing is they don’t tell us what they want to put in their place. They claim they don’t even know what sort of republic they want!In the meantime the republicans are telling the Governor-General and Mr. Rudd what to do .
"The Prime Minister will no doubt do what all Prime Ministers have done since James Scullin – discreetly decide on his recommendation as Governor-General, the Constitutional Head of the Commonwealth, as the High Court put it long ago.
" And incidentally, in all the lamentations over The Bulletin, we hear a lot about its nineteenth century republicanism. But we hear nothing about its egregious racism which was to be the very basis of the Australian republic it was proposing. Within living memory, its front-page banner still proclaimed: 'Australia for the White Man.' ”