March 17

Republic inevitable over monarchist corpse “if need be,” says leading republican

…republic inevitable over monarchist  corpse …”

Mike Carlton repeats the myth that John Howard “rigged’ the 1999 referendum question. He rejoices in the fact  that  John Howard is no longer Prime Minister, or as he so elegantly puts it, “in history's dustbin.”

Accordingly, he predicts that  progress “towards the inevitable Australian republic can resume in an orderly fashion.” 

This “progress” is apparently to  take place ” over the stiffened corpse of Professor David Flint if need be.” ( The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 2008.)

But if a republic is inevitable, why is the demise  of one person necessary?

The Herald published the following letter on 17 March 2008, under the title “Any old republic will do,” and with an accompanying cartoon:


"Putting aside Mr. Carlton’s call for my demise, (15-16/3) he should have a better grasp of the facts before he comments on an issue.

“His comment on republicanism is replete with error.

“John Howard did not rig the referendum question. It was the republican movement which tried to do that. Unbelievably they tried to have the words ‘president’ and ‘republic’ removed. It was obvious what their polling and focus groups were telling them. The question was finally settled by a committee dominated by republicans and on a model chosen by them.

“Carlton talks of ‘the’ republic. The republicans now admit they haven’t the foggiest idea what sort of republic they want. The want “a” republic, that is, any old republic.“When Carlton says a republic is ‘inevitable’ he forgets that when he was young, people like him were saying socialism was inevitable. We all know what is inevitable;  Carlton has in fact already issued my arrêt de mort.“And there was no “rational debate” before the referendum. As the eminent media authority, Lord Deedes said of the referendum campaign (London Daily Telegraph, 8 November, 1999):

“  ‘I have rarely attended elections in any country, certainly not a democratic one, in which the newspapers have displayed more shameless bias. One and all, they determined that Australians should have a republic and they used every device towards that end.’

“Yours Sincerely,

David Flint,

not from Waverley Cemetery,

but from Bondi Beach….etc”

[The Herald prudently did not publish the reference to Waverley Cemetery…]

…what Mike Carlton actually wrote…

These were Mike Carlton’s actual words:

“There was no 'pointless debate about our identity'.

"There was a rational debate about monarchy and republicanism which Howard contrived to derail with his rigged referendum question back in 1999, much to the fury of Malcolm Turnbull, if you remember. 

“With Howard now in history's dustbin, progress towards the inevitable Australian republic can resume in an orderly fashion, over the stiffened corpse of Professor David Flint if need be.

 “It is true, though, that there is a stronger sense of national pride. I, for one, am proud that fairness and decency have returned to our national affairs after an absence of 11 years.

 [email protected]    


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