By playing domestic politics, Australian PM Kevin Rudd has been left totally isolated in London. Of the three Commonwealth PM’s at the G20, Kevin Rudd is the only republican. The other two, British PM Gordon Brown and Canadian PM Stephen Harper are staunch monarchists. That is not the problem. The problem is entirely of his own creation. Instead of keeping his so-called “lifelong” republicanism to himself, Kevin Rudd has told the BBC something about which he has no control: that “Australia will become a republic.” What cheek.
This is the second time in his short term as Prime Minister that he has gone to the British capital and told the media this and just before seeing his Sovereign.
The truth is beginning to dawn in London and elsewhere that an Australian politicians’ republic is a dead letter and the Australian Prime Minister is talking through his hat.
As Kevin Rudd would know – or ought to know – another referendum is doomed. That is the reason, and the only reason, why we are not having one. Do you think he would hesitate for a moment if he thought it was in the bag? Of course not. So why does he go on about this, especially when he and the Canadian Prime Minister, and their wives, are to have lunch with The Queen to whom he has on more than one occasions sworn allegiance on the Bible? Has he no sense of courtesy?
…playing domestic politics?…
The reason for Kevin Rudd speaking on the republic must be to play domestic politics. It is to keep the republican inner city elites on side. And it’s also to keep driving a wedge through the Liberal Party.
This wedge is caused by those gullible Liberal politicians who fell into the trap Paul Keating laid for them. Knowing the Liberal rank and file are constitutional monarchists – it is after all the party founded by Sir Robert Gordon Menzies – the bait he laid for the Liberals was the sort of fashionable republicanism that appeals, and appeals only, in the salons of inner city Sydney and Melbourne. It was – and is – guaranteed to divide the Liberals from top to bottom.
In this the gullible Liberals were misled by one prominent Liberal leader whose ostentatious endorsement of republicanism had more to do with demonstrating a brand differentiation from John Howard than any new found belief in the virtues of a politicians’ republic. Since John Howard’s departure from the Parliament that leader has, as expected, put the issue off into the never-never. So should the others.
The PM may well say there will be a referendum in” due season,” but according to one ABC report, most callers disagreed with the Prime Minister. Given his obfuscation on the issue, one radio station, Nova FM interpreted his announcement to mean the Prime Minister could soon be replaced by a President.
...the people, not the PM will decide….
The fact is that the decision on republican change fortunately does not lie with any prime minister. Thanks to our great Founding Fathers, this decision lies with the Australian people. And the people gave the republican politicians and the republican commentariat a deafening No in 1999 to the best model the best minds among the republicans could come up with, on the very question the republicans agreed to ( although they ridiculously tried to delete the words “president” and “republic” ) and at the most auspicious time for fundamental constitutional change in the one hundred years since federation.
Kevin Rudd can repeat until he is blue in the face that Australia will become a republic. But until he actually tells the people first, what is wrong with the Australian Crown in the constitutional system, second, what he has in mind, third how it will improve the constitution, fourth, what the new flag will look like and fifth , how much will it all cost, he hasn’t even got to first base.
And after that he has to persuade them, in the words of our Founding Fathers, that what he wants – whatever that is – is " desirable irresistible and inevitable."
In the meantime he should be concentrating on the financial crisis.