April 23

Republic: they didn’t “lose the tarts’ vote”


Kevin Rudd's ideas summit promised to be as big as Moses leading the Jewish people to the Promised Land, wrote Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun 9 April, 2008.

This idea came from Louise Adler, head of the Melbourne University Press, who decided to skip Passover, which Mr. Rudd had unfortunately forgotten coincided with the summit.

"My rationale,” Ms Adler said, ”is that the liberation of the Jews in Egypt is a story of communal travails, collective action and courageous leadership.”

“ It has an obvious parallel with the challenges facing contemporary Australia . . ."

Andrew Bolt was trying to choose the summit delegate who best symbolises what he describes as the various “leftists, rent-seekers, courtiers, string-pullers, patsies and token tame conservatives.”

A little harsh, I thought, as I saw people there like Greg Lindsay of the excellent Centre for Independent Studies.

One journalist described him, inelegantly I thought, as the “libertarian” Greg Lindsay.

This makes him sound like a left over from the Sydney Push.

….the Scarlet Alliance advises Mr. Rudd…

Andrew Bolt was tempted to choose Ms. Adler as the symbolic delegate, but finally decided on one Elena Jeffreys, head of the Scarlet Alliance.

As most of his readers would not know what this is, Mr Bolt explained that it is a “collective of prostitutes”.

The leader of the collective was apparently chosen, says Andrew Bolt, to advise Mr. Rudd on "future prosperity".

“No satirist could put it better.”

While the head of the sex workers’, or if you prefer, the prostitutes’ union, was a delegate, there was no room at this particular inn for the other side (those who won all states and 72% of electorates in 1999) – in what became the principal issue at the Summit- change to an undefined republic.

By their ovation when the promised republican land was announced at their plenary session, the delegates seem to have thought this was their greatest achievement.

(The delegates must not have noticed  the wording of the first of the republican recommendations in the preliminary report. It is unlikely this would have been awarded a pass mark in the first year of law school.)

…the Hartigan criteria…

When the blatant gerrymander of the governance panel was pointed out to the chairman, John Hartigan, he said it was all the monarchists fault ( The Australian on 17 April, 2008).

They had failed to nominate. Never mind that other people were appointed against their wishes.

Mr Hartigan – chairman and chief executive of News Limited and publisher of The Australian – said there had been "no obvious constitutional monarchist" among the 700 prospective summiteers who nominated governance as their first preference.

"We even went back and checked every form again, but to no avail," he said.


"We also looked at all of the delegates to the 1999 constitutional convention – other than the politicians – to see whether any were also nominees for this summit. As far as we could tell, none were.


"We also looked at David Flint's website to identify anyone else who might have nominated. Nothing there either.


"We then came up with a list of other possibles, but all of them were already allocated to other streams.”

Now we know that people nominated who fell four square into what will go down in Australian constitutional lore as “the Hartigan criteria”

One was Michael Hodgman QC, a man who is easily recognized across the Commonwealth.

We do not know whether he received the celebrated emailed rejection which, in breach of every known privacy rule, revealed the names of the many sad souls in who were also rejected.

He did however receive a “ don’t ring me I’ll ring you” message from a certain Vice Chancellor who at Griffith Univeristy was involved in a constitutional futures conference which also saw no need to hear from majority opinion. 

Mr. Hartigan finally conceded that they had really rejected the eminent Mr Hodgman QC, who complied in all respects with the Hartigan criteria, because of a hitherto unknown  gloss on the Hartigan criteria: "we wanted to keep the number of current and past politicians to a minimum".

Politicians at a minimum?  When we saw the Summit we truly pitied the delegates. Not only were there wall-to wall government politicians, the poor souls were subjected to the reading of long texts by po-faced politicians.

We read Mr. Hartigan’s  ruling on Mr. Hodgman he handed down   in The Australian on 22 April, 2008, and wonder whether the noble publisher  could  have kept a straight face when he pronounced it.

“Tell Flint this one,” he surely  guffawed.

Well there’s one good thing that has come out of this.

Unlike Stanley Baldwin, it is clear the organisers have not  lost their republican rulers the tart’s vote.[i]

…verballed on Lateline, refused any right of reply in The Australian…

I was told Mr. Hartigan verballed me, as the lumpenproletariat term it, on the ABC’s Lateline.

He claims  that  I no longer support the monarchy.

He got that distinctly odd idea from Mike Steketee who first placed that furphy in The Australian on 17 April, 2008.

It is of course grotesquely untrue, as the most minimalist google would demonstrate.

Perhaps that’s why the letters editor won’t allow the truth on this to peek out of his page.

I have asked him twice nicely and he ignores me.
 I wonder whether the former presenter of the ABC's Media Watch,Stuart Littlemore QC, one of Her Majesty’s Trusty and Well Beloved Counsel Learned in the Law, would have pity on me in my misfortune and come to my aid.


[i] When Baldwin accused the press lords of exercising power without responsibility, which he described as  “ the prerogative of the harlot down the ages,” a conservative, I think Harold McMillan, said: ”That’s it. He’s gone and lost us the tarts’ vote.’


Monarchists hit back over republic

Samantha Maiden and Imre Salusinszky | April 22, 2008  The Australian

MONARCHISTS have fired their first shot against claims of a new consensus on an Australian republic, warning that the model put forward at the 2020 Summit was unconstitutional.

As Kevin Rudd declared the shift to a republic inevitable, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy yesterday gathered at the NSW Parliament House to hear former foreign minister Alexander Downer condemn the push as a preoccupation of "the elites".

"The summit was meant to bring together 1000 geniuses with new ideas, and the new idea is to go back to Paul Keating and repeat his idea," he said. "I call that a very bad idea."

But speaking on the ABC's 7.30 Report last night, the Prime Minister said "the Australia of the 21st Century will be a republic". He said it was a question of how "we get there", with republicans split over the model in the past.

The plan put forward at the weekend's 2020 Summit was to have a plebiscite to settle the question on whether Australia should sever ties to Britain and become a republic, followed by a referendum on the model.

But Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis yesterday warned that the model was designed to dodge the requirement that a referendum needed a majority of voters and a majority of states on the core question.

"You can't amend the Constitution through the mechanism of a plebiscite, preventing people from expressing an opinion not to change at all," said Senator Brandis, who was a 2020 conference participant. "What you will be doing is effectively getting around section 128 that requires a majority of states. I think that would be unlawful."

Constitutional law expert George Williams, another 2020 summiteer, conceded yesterday that a plebiscite on a republic was "just like a big opinion poll". "There is no law or requirement for a majority of states," he said.

But Professor Williams said the intervening step to decide the model might be a drafting convention, an inquiry or a second plebiscite, which the 2020 Summit did not have time to iron out. In the event of a referendum after a successful plebiscite, voters would then decide on a single model and could also vote no at the referendum, effectively having two chances to kill the republic push.

Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy convenor David Flint, who gathered in Sydney yesterday with other monarchists to celebrate the Queen's 82nd birthday, is ready for a rerun of the 1999 referendum debate. "It's something that is clung to very much by the inner-city elites," he said. "It doesn't interest the rank and file of the nation."

In support of the inevitability of another republican defeat, he cited the Condorcet paradox, named after an 18th-century French mathematician: while monarchists by themselves will never enjoy a majority, they will always be able to form one in alliance with those whose second preference is the existing system.

Mr Downer told the 200-strong crowd the summit had been "a completely political exercise, excluding the view of the great mainstream of the Australian people, putting together a bunch of elites and trying to make it look respectable by inviting a handful of conservatives".

But the co-chair of the summit's governance stream, News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan, said at least one applicant who was a monarchist, Tasmanian conservative Michael Hodgman, had not been invited because "we wanted to keep the number of current and past politicians to a minimum".


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