April 28

“Republic plebiscite: just a costly show of hands”

Under the heading "Republic plebiscite: just a costly show of hands," Ronnie George of Bardwell Valley wrote this in a letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald (28/4):

 Those who are pushing for a plebiscite on whether Australians want a republic should know that the cost of this useless exercise is more than $10 million, an amount better spent elsewhere in these difficult times. A plebiscite is simply an indicative vote on an issue. A "show of hands", so to speak.

It has absolutely no constitutional value. In any case, the last legitimate referendum on the issue showed most Australians were against a republic. Even 44 per cent of ALP members are against it.

Of course the 20-20 summit delegates voted for a republic – possibly all 1000. But we should note that there was not one "pro-monarchy" person invited. If you invite 1000 Catholics, say, to a meeting on whether they agreed in general with the Pope, would you expect them to vote other than "yes"? 

Our system of constitutional monarchy has served us well for over 100 years – if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Would any thinking Australian sign a contract without first reading it and considering the pros and cons?

But we are being asked to change our whole system of governance by being told that "only our head of state will change". What rubbish. Much, much more than that will change. Wake up, Australia. You are being led by the nose.

…republican law professor defines plebiscite….


Philip Gibson wrote to the Herald in response to Ronnie George:

 Ronnie George (Letters 28 April  “Republic Plebiscite”) asks:-

“Would any thinking Australian sign a contract without first reading it?”  I ask Mr Rudd:  “would you sign on a new staff member without first finding out all about her / him?”  We feel sure, Mr Rudd, that your proposed republic model would be better for ALL of us and therefore one you would shout from the rooftops.  If so, forget a (or two) plebiscites which no one understands anyhow, and put your model straight to a referendum, saving millions, and as provided for in our constitution.   

"The person who DOES understand what a plebiscite is, is leading and respected republican constitutional expert Professor George Williams who, in Hansard April 2004 (Bolkus Senate Committee) said: “A plebiscite is a glorified opinion poll; it does not have any constitutional significance whatsoever.” 

….Gosh that’s cheap…..

June Beckett wrote in  the Daily Telegraph (28/4)

Senator Bob Brown believes that the cost of holding  a plebiscite to find out what the Australian people think about a republic would be only $ 10.5.  Gosh, that’s cheap.

And this at a time when people are losing their jobs and homes. Of course pensioners who look like missing out on their promised $30 a week might have other ideas.

Funny, isn’t it, how there is no limit on the funds we can find for spending on frivolous, unimportant matters at a time of severe global crisis but we can’t look after a group of vulnerable people who can barely afford a good meal a day.

But I doubt whether Bob Brown or Kevin Rudd would know what that feels like.

….Politicising Anzac Day…

Jonathan James, Brisbane, Queensland wrote in a letter to The Age (27/4):  

Your attempt to politicise Anzac Day by linking it to the republic issue (Editorial 24/4) is disgraceful. Anzac Day is hallowed and above partisan politics.


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