It started with a discussion on the ABCs television program the insiders on 28 April 2013 about the next Governor- General. When opposition leader — and former ACM executive director — Tony Abbott wrote to the Prime Minister remonstrating against the appointment of officials to take effect after the election expected in September, some Labor politicians said this was because Mr Abbott wished to recommend former Prime Minister John Howard as Governor – General.
While panelists Lenore Taylor and prominent republican Dr. Gerard Henderson dismissed this, republican journalist Mike Seccombe welcomed such an appointment.
He thought it would restore republicanism to the national agenda and bring on some sort of a republic which he described as "constitutional reform". Nobody has explained how becoming a politicians' republic has anything to do with constitutional reform, at least by establishment republicans. Certainly the 1999 model would have been a retrograde step, a point admitted by some leading people strongly proposing it.
Dr. Henderson – a very thorough and perceptive commentator – was dismissive both as to the likelihood of an appointment and as to republicanism coming back on the national agenda.