The NSW Liberal Leader of the Opposition has broken ranks with most of the Liberal Party and joined the Federal Labor Leader in supporting a radical constitutional change which would involve the direct election of a President.
Previously a minimalist,Mr Brogden changed his mind because he now thinks this will be the only form of republic Australians would vote for!
It is not then that this form of republic would be a superior model for the good governance of the nation- it is only that it has a greater chance of getting up.
Mr Brogden thinks it would be quite easy to codify the president’s powers, something which completely eluded the Keating government. Senator Gareth Evans thought the task was impossible. Mr Brogden talks glibly about the Irish model, but even the Republic Advisory Committee created by Paul Keating and chaired by Malcolm Turnbull recognized that having a powerless president would remove an essential check and balance from our constitution.
In a State where there is widespread community concern about a number of issues- law and order, hospitals, transport, for example- it is strange indeed that Mr Brogden would raise an issue about which there is almost no interest in the community.
We do not know if he agrees with Federal Senator Marise Payne,who, unlike most Liberals,seems ready to support Mr Latham on the cascading series of plebiscites and referenda that the nation is threatened with.
Senator Payne is the Deputy Chair of the Senate Committee which is working out how to turn Australia into a republic. It is expected to deliver a report endorsing the Latham plan.
Senator Payne could still of course dissent on the use of plebiscites, but will she?
Mr Brogden, who was speaking at an ARM fuction, differs from Mr Latham only as to timing,thinking that a referendum three years later,in 2010, would be best to gather maximum support.
Unfortunately for Mr Brogden, but fortunately for the good governance of our nation, the polls are going the other way!