When Mr Rudd reiterated to the international media his intention of removing the Australian Crown from the Constitution – just before seeing The Queen – none of the journalists apparently asked him the obvious question: “How much is it going to cost?”

For a self declared “lifelong republican,” he is remarkably reticent in explaining to the nation what sort of republic he is planning.

He can hardly ask the people to approve the model they so clearly rejected in 1999.

The alternative is to propose a republic in which the president is directly elected, or elected through an electoral college as in the United States. This is weighted in favour of the less populous states, which  must offend those attached to the mantra, one man, one vote.

Electing the president , vice president, governors, lieutenant governors etc  will give Australians what they are not lying awake at night craving:  close to twenty more politicians.

And there is more. This will involve ten or more additional elections every three or so years.

How much will all this cost?

Well, first there’s the cost of getting there. First, there are the plebiscites. One republican faction wants one, and the other two. They just can’t agree even on that. Then there is a referendum.

It they follow the 1999 approach and stagger  the federal state and territory processes, we could be in for up to 24 plebiscites and referendums.  

In addition there will be one to change the flag, although the republican movement now claims this is a separate issue.

For all of this there won’t be any change out of one billion. If the constitutional change is as ill thought out as the bank guarantee the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Finance Minister recently bungled, the costs of any resulting instability could be enormous and continuing.

And if we are to have about twenty four additional elections every three years, the costs will go through the roof.

And you can be sure of one thing – the politicians will have the taxpayer fund their personal campaigns.

They already take that money out of your wallets for their own campaigns.

According to The Guardian , 23 October 2008, the current US presidential campaign, which has been going on for well over a year, is to cost more than one and a half billion Australian dollars. 

What does the appointment of a Governor-General cost?  A telephone call, a postage stamp? And the Governor-General is above politics and not just another politican.  And it works, and works well.