This was the heading in The Bulletin's letters column on 3 March, 2004. Mr. John Palmer of Huntley's Cove in NSW writes that Max Walsh tells us that Mark Latham not only favours Australia becoming a republic but also advocates the direct election of the president. It is, he says, very confusing. "A large number of us believe that the push to be a republic is driven by those whose main objective is to stick the finger up at the Queen and the British in general, a view reinforced by the fact that no one in the republican movement has laid down a master plan of what an Australian republic would be. How will a republic improve our lives? "
Will it, Mr Palmer asks, make it easier to get a hospital bed or an aged-care place, will it improve the education of our kids? And the biggest question of all, who will be allowed to stand for the position of president and what will be her/his powers? Perhaps Max Walsh might tell us what the Latham model is.
Once we know what they are leading us into we will be able to cast a meaningful vote, one way or the other. Mr Philip Gibson of Paddington wrote suggesting that we all adopt the recommendation of respected republican constitutional expert Professor Cheryl Saunders, who wrote: "If there is to be further consideration of a republic, there should be at least three elements of the information campaign. The first should explain the current arrangements and the implications of the move to a republic. The second should explain the proposed alternative. The third should be designed to deal with queries that arise during the campaign, before the vote takes place." Mr Gibson believes that Australians need a "proposed alternative". He concludes that perhaps Mr Latham could present his, so we all know which model he supports.