November 19

Leading republican flag changer Peter FitzSimons forgets


It seems that Fairfax journalist and author  Peter FitzSimons ( [email protected]) may not have a good memory.

In what he describes as his “brief republican rant last week”, he comes back to the same issue in his page in the Sun-Herald on 18 November 2012.

In response to what must have been several requests for him to specify what sort of republic he wants he writes:

"I propose the smallest possible change: the Prime Minister picks the Governor-General and then the Parliament gives its assent.  Nothing else needs change!  We don't even have to change the title ‘Governor-Ggeneral’, avoiding all the baggage that goes with the word president.”

Isn’t it interesting that Mr FitzSimons   is willing to abandon the title president because it has obviously bad connotations.  This reminds me of the move by Malcolm Turnbull and the a RM to suppress two words in the referendum question.  One was ‘ president’; the other was’republic’.

… At what cost?…

He continues "then all we all get on with our lives, free from the international embarrassment of still being linked with the English monarchy, more than 100 years after Federation.”

His description is that of the Keating-Turnbull politicians’ republic.  Has he forgotten that we had borrowed a divisive debate in the 90s in which Mr Keating successfully used the politicians’ republic to put a wedge among the Liberals, splitting away those who thought they were on a winner by jumping on the republican bandwagon.

 As a result we had to have a convention in 1998 just for the republicans to produce a model.

They did  – the Keating-Turnbull politicians’ republic- which was widely debated and put to the people's vote on 6 November 1999.

Peter, you are describing, broadly, that model.  Notwithstanding the support of about two thirds of the sitting politicians, most of the media including your newspapers and radio station and a very well funded Republican campaign, it was rejected by the people. This rejection was  national, it was in every  state, and in  72% of the federal electorates.

This process cost millions of dollars, money diverted from schools, transport, water and all the things we need.  Worse, it distracted politicians, state and federal, from their fundamental tasks.

And you want to do this again, Mr FitzSimons ( [email protected]).

 Have you forgotten all  this? 

Or is it that do you think, as some of the European politicians do, that the people have to keep on voting until they get it right?


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