January 23

No plebiscite, warns Spectator. Grossly irresponsible, agrees ACM

A constitutional monarchy is a superior form of government, editorialised Spectator Australia in the 23 January issue. (Spectator Australia is the London based Spectator which is published with an Australian supplement.) The Spectator explained that  constiutional monarchy  makes democratic and law abiding institutions less susceptible to political instability. "Its genius is the power it denies politicians.”

The editor says that the viceroys successfully diffused potentially intractable political situations in 1932 and 1975. A president “beholden to his own creditors and necessarily myopic, could not exercise the same degree of political detachment and foresight.”

…Indian state of emergency…

The editor does not mention it, but the 1975 declaration of a state of emergency in India is an excellent example of this. In 1975, to stave off a conviction for corruption, Mrs Indirah Gandhi advised President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, a political ally, to declare an unjustified  state of emergency. When he hesitated, she reminded him who had appointed him and where his political loyalties should lie. This was precisely the time when the President should have acted independently as a check and balance against the abuse of power. But instead of rejecting the advice, as any Governor-General should have, he signed the decree, allowing her to gaol the opposition and to rule as a dictator.

The editor believes that Australia’s crowned republic is superior to Britain’s. “We get the benefits of constitutional monarchy, but have eminent Australians serve as the monarch’s representative when she is absent.   Many of these superlative individuals would shy away from a competitive presidential contest.”

The Spectator believes another referendum would fail. The editor says republicans know this, so they are trying to skirt around the contusion. But a plebiscite without details should be “strictly avoided”  Were a simplistic question be affirmed, Australia would end up in a constitutional limbo.

This is a position which ACM has consistently argued since the proposition was first raised after the referendum. 

To risk this, indeed to invite this,  would be grossly irresponsible. 


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