February 9

Republicanism and South Australia

Professor Greg Craven, a leading republican, was the subject of the following letter from Bob Day of Adelaide published in The Australian Financial Review on 6 February 2011.

So Greg Craven thinks the only three certainties in life are death, taxes and the irrelevance of South Australia (“Keep the Constitutional change simple” February 6). Very funny.

This is from the same Greg Craven whose contribution to the 1999 Constitutional referendum was a full page ad with the ‘simple’ message “Who will you put first? YOUR FAMILY or the ROYAL FAMILY”. Not so funny. Or effective.

During the 1891 convention debates, first Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia Sir Samuel Griffith said “We must not lose sight of the essential condition that this is to be a federation of states and not a single government of Australia”.

We all know how that has turned out. Over the course of the 20th century the balance of power between the states and the commonwealth has been drastically altered. The federal government has gained enormous power at the expense of the states – particular states with smaller populations like SA.

It wasn’t that long ago that 20 of Australia’s Top 100 companies had their head offices in Adelaide. SA has above national-average standards of living, below national-average cost of living and its sport, wine making and arts contributions are up there with the best. When it is allowed to compete, SA is far from irrelevant.

SA just needs to get the Feds off its back.


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