April 26

Napoleon Bonaparte and Australian republicanism


With Newspoll confirming the trend in most polls that support (including partial support) for some vague undefined politicians’ republic is now wallowing in the low forties – or even the high thirties – republicans know they would lose a referendum.

The republican movement is putting a brave face on it. They now claim they would win a plebiscite.

How could this be so?

The answer is simple for the ARM. They say you just add those fully in favour (25%) and those partially in support (16%) to the uncommitted (20%).

Voila -you now have a majority in favour of 61%.

The problem is that in the real world, the uncommitted in polls tend to vote No in the referendum. They’ve since heard the No case and are persuaded.

Or they did not want  to give their opinion to the pollsters. This is especially so when the elites have made the no case unfashionable. Or they have used ridicule and pressure to impose support – as in the nineties. 

No need to worry, citoyens.  Napoleon Bonaparte- who used to be a republican- provides the answer for the Australian Republican Movement.


…Napoleonic precedent…

A plebiscite was held in Switzerland in 1802 to approve  a Constitution drafted by the French, who happened to be occupying the country.

Although the "No" vote exceeded the "Yes" vote substantially, Napoleon decided the "Yes" case had won.

This was done by treating all abstentions as affirmative votes.  Just like the ARM's approach.

 Not unsurprsingly, plebiscites were used regularly  in revolutionary France.   

In particular a plebiscite was used in 1799 to approve the Constitution of the Year VIII to introduce the Consulate; in 1800 to confirm Napoleon Bonaparte as Consul; in 1802 to appoint Napoleon as Consul for Life; in 1804, to make Napoleon Emperor of the French, and in 1815 to restore Napoleon’s Imperial Constitution.

Needless to say, all were approved. Napoleon knew how to count, as we have seen.

The ARM will be demanding we follow this.


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