Republicans often declare themselves to be ”passionate”; I have never heard a constitutional monarchist do that. But Paul Daley (“Public passion for a republic waning” The Sun Herald 29/8) says polling shows that passion is waning.
Meanwhile, he says, The Queen's representative Quentin Bryce is “a pivotal figure in determining who should form a government after the election.”
“That is a process that seems to work well enough – a fact that, hypothetically at least, should give comfort to the good old ‘if it ain't broke don't fix it’ brigade of constitutional monarchists who have been the negative face of what was once a vibrant debate about an Australian republic,” he says.
But I have to take issue with this following comment:
“The great irony now is that others in the same corner would seek to undermine the efficacy of the office of the Governor-General by floating the absurd proposition that being the mother-in-law of the junior Labor frontbencher, factional convener and prime ministerial aspirant Bill Shorten, somehow represents a “conflict of interest” for Bryce.”
The claims of a conflict of interest have not come from constitutional monarchists. The principal critics have been a prominent barrister, Peter Faris QC, the columnist Andrew Bolt and an ethicist, Leslie Cannold. To my knowledge, none has taken a strong monarchist position.
The opinion expressed clearly in this column and to the media has been to deny that the marriage of the Governor-General’s daughter to a junior minister, even one seen as a significant power-broker, could in itself constitute a conflict of interest.
On this, it is comforting to find that Mr. Peter FitzSimons approves of the position this column has taken over the allegations of a vice regal conflict of interest. As readers would know, Mr. FitzSimons positions on constitutional or flag change are not in accord with those of ACM.
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We were surprised then to see the following in his column in The Sun Herald on 29 August, “Stay calm! Oh, you are? Excellent. “
This appeared under the heading, “Quotes of week”:
“Professor David Flint supports the Governor-General against accusations of conflict of interest: ‘‘Most of the process from now on will occur in accordance with well-established conventions. The fact that her son-in-law happens to be an MP, I don’t see that is in itself an obvious conflict of interest.’’