December 5

Repetition and republicans

Repeating over and over something which is palpably untrue does not make it true.

Republicans constantly say that the referendum and the referendum question in 1999 was manipulated by John Howard.  For example, in The Sydney Morning Herald of 3-4 December a Mr Patrick Sayers manages to bring in "John Howard's tricky referendum on a republic" to a letter on the totally unrelated subject of same sex marriage.

…the facts, dear republicans…

The facts are clear:

  • the convention was half elected and half nominated;
  • of those nominated a large number were ex officio members of the federal state and territory legislatures; 
  • of those in the gift of the Prime Minister, all were chosen either for imminence or to represent groups not otherwise at the convention, for example, the indigenous and youth; 
  • the result of those nominations was that a very large majority of the nominated members in both classes, ex officio and in the gift of the Prime Minister, were republican;
  • the Keating-Turnbull model chosen by the majority of republican delegates at the convention was that preferred by the Australian Republican Movement;
  • the legislation was drafted by a committed republican Attorney- General.  It was approved by both houses of parliament in each of which about two thirds of the members were republican;
  • notwithstanding an attempt by Mr Turnbull to remove two words from the question, "president” and "republic”, the question was approved by those two houses,and,
  • it must be stressed that two thirds of the members of each house were republican.

So why do Republicans continually insist that there was something wrong or tricky with the referendum?  

Do they think that if this untruth is repeated over and over again people will eventually accept it?

….the letter….



"The conscience vote on gay marriage looks like a device to defeat change in the Marriage Act, as was John Howard's tricky referendum on a republic. But there is one plus. It will reveal those politicians who might be described by some as motivated by homophobia. I will not be surprised if they are also the people who oppose decriminalising euthanasia despite the strong support from the general public on both issues.

Patrick Sayers,

To read the context go to:


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