March 3

Republican Desperation

 

 

…republican logic…  

It is an indication of the sorry state of the republican movement that they are clutching at straws in their attempts to persuade the government to channel millions more away from hospitals and schools into their attempts to work out some sort of republican model which would be workable. The republicans are entitled to propose a new constitution and a new flag.


This time, why don’t they just pay for it themselves?

 

Only the republican movement could see any connection between Kosovo and our constitution. The letter was not exactly successful. The first two comments were about the foreign policy issue.

“ Why is it that the federal Government applauded the recent declaration of independence and democracy in Kosovo yet we retain constitutional links with the British monarchy? “David McKenna of the Australian Republican Movement ( Williamstown, Victoria) asked in  a letter, “Time for a republic,“ published in The Weekend Australian  on 1-2 March, 2008.

 

He continued: “Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told parliament Australia very strongly supports Kosovo’s independence.

 

“Our rhetoric about independence, democracy and the primacy of parliament should be demonstrated by having an Australian head of state. Having the British Queen as Australia’s head of state is an anachronism that is no longer supported by a majority of Australians.

 

“The Prime Minister has shown us that he appreciates the value of symbolism when he apologised to the Stolen Generations. He showed us the importance of such symbolism for the national psyche.

 

“Kevin Rudd should now turn his attention to the republic and the important national symbolism it represents. The Government is now controlled by a party whose policy is that our head of state should be an Australian who embodies and represents the traditions, values and aspirations of all Australians. The Government has an obligation to implement the policies for which it was elected.

“It’s time we revisited constitutional reform and asked the Australian people what type of republic we should adopt. Let’s get moving. “

…so what has changed since the 1999 landslide?…

So we posted this on The Australian’s site and sent it to the editor. And the following  letters were published in The Australian under the title, "No tinpot republic for us." 

  “Mr Rudd clearly indicated before the election that he would not raise the republican issue in his first term, ”if at all.” ( The Australian 23/11/07)

“No doubt polling and focus groups told Mr. Rudd that Australians are not at all interested in this issue. That has not stopped the republican movement from trying to force his hand.

“It is an extraordinary thing that while they are demanding change, they haven’t the foggiest idea what sort of republic they want. And this after millions of dollars of taxpayers’ funds have already been spent on five separate exercises to advance this folly. Let’s spend this on hospitals and education.

“After all, what has happened since 1999 to justify raising this again? In that year 55% of the voters, 72% of the electorates and 100% of the states said No to the republicans’ chosen model, with the  amendments they asked for and in a question they determined ?

“The republicans should at least work out what they actually want to change in our constitutional system and our flag before they try to force the PM to do their work.”  

…No tinpot republic for us…

“We never hear the downside from supporters of the Australian Republican Movement,” says  Judith McPherson of Toowoomba, Queensland in a letter published in The Australian on 4 March, 2008, referring to  “David McKenna  who wrote “the federal Government applauded the recent declaration of independence and democracy in Kosovo, yet we retain constitutional links with the British monarchy’’. “ 

 “Obviously he knows nothing of Australia’s history or he wouldn’t compare Kosovo’s troubled past with Australia’s journey from a pre-settlement stone-age past in just over 100 years to a federation of civil, well-balanced, federating groups of British settlers who set up a splendid constitution, had achieved a high standard of living and given women the vote.

 “If Mr McKenna looked at the history of South American, African, East European and Asian republics and their tinpot presidents, the constant revolutions – then the terror and destructiveness of the French Revolution -he’ll revere our constitution and the Queen’s role in it.”  

In the same edition, J.A.  Kirkpatrick  of Darling Point, NSW, writes ”  Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he would not go down the republican path during his first term. So why does David McKenna claim that the federal Government has an obligation to turn its attention to a republic?  It wasn’t an election promise.  

"Wisely, the Prime Minister knows Australians are concerned about issues that affect their everyday lives _ and a republic is not one of them. (Would an Australian republic bring down the price of groceries?)  

"Second, why does Mr McKenna think it’s time we revisited constitutional reform? What has happened to put this question back on the agenda since we rejected a republic in 1999?”  

Indeed.  


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