August 2

Republican constiutional law professor warns of dangers in Latham model

The constitutional upset which would result if we grafted an elected presidency on to our Constitution was the subject of an opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review  of 27 July, 2004 by Professor Greg Craven, who is an authority on constitutional law and a leading conservative republican.

The comment was entitled " Fix Is On For The People’s Republic "

He began:" Putting aside the theory that Hitler is 115 and living in Argentina, it is hard to combine a public suicide and a major confidence trick. But Mark Latham and a hardy band of Australian republicans are doing their best"

He says conservative republicans will never support direct election.They believe that the resulting two-headed government would destroy the Constitution. They-both Labor and Liberal -will unite with the monarchists in opposing any referendum.

This is precisely the point Malcolm McKerras made in his recent address to an ACM lunch in Sydney, under the theme, "The Queen’s Inevitable Victory".

 In the meantime John Paul’s letter to the Wentworth Courier, 28 August, 2004 points out that Kim Beazley may well have been thinking along similar lines when he told the 1998 Convention that any republican model would "to some extent rebalance the political process in this country…Any process that changes the appointment and removal procedure…produces a subtle rebalancing…" .

 There could not of course be a greater change than moving to having a Head of State with a mandate bigger than anyone in Parliament ,even the PM! The point is that Mr Beazley’s comments applied also to the convention model rejected in 1999!

 As they say,when it ain’t broke ,don’t fix it.

In the meantime, President Chirac publicly reprimanded his Minister of Finance,and reported rival for the presidency at the next elections, Nicholas Sarkovsky, giving him political advice on TV.

 Not what our present Head of State would even think of doing, fortunately! Ours is above politics


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