We sent the letter below to the Sydney Morning Herald on 31 Ocotber 2011 in response to a piece that day by former Senator Amanda Vanstone, "The Queen should be invited when we throw a republic party"( 31/10).
Once again she has not checked the facts.
Ms. Vanstone,a Minister in the Howard government, made the ridiculous claim during the 1999 the referendum campaign that had he been alive in the nineties, Sir Robert Menzies would have been a republican.
Then she outraged constituents in Mr Peter Costello's electorate some years ago when in a speech she referred to The Queen in insulting terms. This almost provoked a walk-out until Mr. Costello calmed the audience.
Earlier this year she claimed in The Age that the proposal to delay another referendum on a republic comes from constitutional monarchists. It comes of course from republican politicians who have been shaken by their polling and focus groups on this issue.
We asked then whether it is too much to ask that when the editor of The Age receives a piece from former senator Amanda Vanstone, he check it for accuracy.
We said that the fact that The Age is maintaining its campaign for some vague politicians’ republic is not sufficient reason to publish a piece which centred on such an elementary error of fact as that published on 28 March ( “No need to whisper, the Queen isn't offended by the R-word).”
We now suggest to the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald that when he next receives a piece from Amanda Vanstone, he too check it for accuracy.
…the letter to the Herald….
Amanda Vanstone says ( "The Queen should be invited when we throw a republic party" 31/10) that during the 1999 referendum, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy “threw out the bait” with a slogan “something like ‘You can't trust the politicians’”.
She says the slogan she attributes to us was “cheap, unprincipled and served only to undermine our political institutions.”
Ms Vanstone should have checked the facts.
It was the official Vote No committee ( eight ACM and two independent republicans), appalled by the Keating Turnbull model, who adopted the slogan, “ Vote No to the politicians’ republic” This reflected a widespread view conceded both before and after by some prominent supporters that the model was dangerous in that it concentrated all power in the politicians, and especially the Prime Minister.
While the PM and Opposition Leader would effectively agree on the choice of president, this would be the only republic in the world in which it would be easier for the prime minister to sack the president than his cook – without reasons, without notice and without appeal.
The vast powers of the Crown to act on lawfully tendered advice and occasionally at discretion would disappear and effectively be the prime minister’s.