When The Australian implies that republicanism in a politician is a sure sign he or she is out of touch, we have clearly moved on since the nineties.
During the nineties, a large number of politicians jumped onto the republican bandwagon. They thought they were on a sure thing.
In Twilight of the Elites, I argued that republicanism was just another project of the inner city elites.
What is now gradually dawning on an increasing number of politicians is that if they continue to endorse elite projects such as republicanism, they are perceived by the rank and file as being out of touch with the real aspirations of the Australian people.
It is surprising that so many politicians were so slow in realising the way the rank and file are thinking. This is even more surprising in those politicians who are obsessed by polling and focus groups.
They are wasting their money. They should not think that the letters columns of The Age or the Sydney Morning Herald will tell you what people are thinking.
All they need do is listen to commercial radio talkback, which is closest to the way the nation is thinking about politics.
In its editorial of 25 August, 2005, The Australian continues to turn its back on the obsessive republicanism and elitism former editors campaigned for in the nineties.
The editor points out that if Labor wants to claw its way back,it must appeal to the Centre.
The editor says Labor cannot afford to remain captive to the public service unions and the welfare lobby.
And we could add that Labor cannot also remain captive to the minuscule and declining Australian Republican Movement, from whose favourite project even Liberal Senator Marise Payne, an ARM leader, has famously and publicly dissented.
In particular, Labor will only indicate that it is completely out of touch if it endorses, for a third time mind you, the ARM’s demented plan to achieve a totally unworkable republican model by forcing the Australian people to keep voting on it until they get it right.
Yet on Channel 9 on 28 August, the Leader of HM’s Australian Opposition, Mr Kim Beazley, told republican presenter, Mr Geoffrey Robertson, QC (that means he is one of Her Majesty’s Counsel) that that if he were Prime Minister, he would put a referendum on some sort of republic. He did not say which sort of republic, nor whether it would be preceded by not one but two plebiscites as the miniscule republican movement insists.
Perhaps Mr Beazley should speak to the new Labor Premier of NSW, Mr Morris Iemma. In the NSW Parliament on 27 October 1999, he said:
“IF THE NO CASE WINS THAT WILL BE IT FOR A REPUBLICAN SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT FOR A VERY LONG TIME, IF NOT FOREVER”
Well said, Mr Premier!
Until next time,