April 1

Republicans attacking… republicans

Some republicans just cannot accept the peoples’ clear decision in 1999 (“Republican minister's blistering attack…on republicans,”, 29 March 2010 ) .

“The behaviour of John Howard, Tony Abbott and the monarchists during the republic debate was shameless,” writes republican Peter Cain of Greystanes in New South Wales ( The Sydney Morning Herald  1 April) “The shameful behaviour came from Ted Mack, Phil Cleary and their fellow direct-election advocates (Letters, March 27-28). They call themselves republicans, yet they did as much to ensure that we remain a country with a foreigner as head of state as any monarchist ever did.”

“Mack says, ‘It was simply an attempt to concentrate power in the two major parties by appealing to the racist and sectarian elements of society.’”

“I cannot recall reading anything so patently ridiculous on the letters page in a long time.”

 So I sent the following letter to the Herald:

Dear Editor, 

To accuse Ted Mack of being "full of hot air" as Lindsay Tanner (25/3) does or of shameful behaviour is unworthy of the republican movement. (Peter Cain 1/4)

Ted Mack is one of the most honest men ever to go into Australian politics. He resigned from the NSW Parliament two days before he would have been eligible for the politicians extraordinarily generous taxpayer subsidised superannuation scheme, of which he strongly disapproved. He later resigned from the Commonwealth Parliament for the same reason.

The 1999 republican model would have established the only republic in the world where it would have been easier for the prime minister to sack the president than his cook.

It could be done without notice, without reasons and without recourse which could lead to restitution. Professor George Williams, the prominent republican recognizes this serious flaw.At Corowa in 1999 for a debate on the referendum, I asked Ted Mack  whether the proponents of the Turnbull –Keating 1999 republic realized how vastly it would increase the powers of the prime minister and the political class.

Delivered in his dour style, his answer was chilling:  “Not only do they realize it, that is precisely what they want.” 



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