June 4

Republicans irreconcilably divided: Part 2

As we reported in our last column, republicans are as divided as they were in 1999. The latest skirmish was the surreptitious change to the record of the 2020 Summit.

This ensured that the commitment made by Kim Beazley for a plebiscite on the choice of a republican model will not be part of the process to persuade Australians to accept the politicians' republic.

We shall continue to publish the list of republicans who are opposed to the people electing the president.


NO        Says Republican Sir Anthony Mason, former Chief Justice of Australia

University of Wollongong Video 1997 “Millenium Dilemma”


NO        Says Republican Amanda Vanstone

“It would be complete folly to have an elected head of state whose political power may tempt them into using that power.” University of New England Earle Page Lecture, 21 May 1997


NO        Says Republican Prof. George Winterton – Constitutional expert

“Popular election would almost guarantee the election of a politician.  Do we want a succession of millionaire entrepreneurs as President?” (‘Republican Monarchy’ University of Queensland  p. 22 )


NO        Says Republican The Late Richard McGarvie Former Governor of Victoria and

Victorian Supreme Court Judge wrote:-

“Each of these models [Popular Election and Parliamentary Majority] ‘would ruin our democracy’” –

(The McGarvie Papers, p. 60)


NO        Says Republican Professor Greg Craven – then Professor of Constitutional Law, Curtin University W.A, and now Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University.

“All direct election models will fundamentally disturb the Constitution.” 

(The Australian 20 November 2002 p 11)


NO        Says Republican Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE former Chief Justice of the High Court.

“The model of direct election could be adopted only at a price, namely the virtual elimination of eminent non-political citizens for the Presidency.”

(Fourth Geoffrey Sawer Lecture, 18 July 2001)


NO        Says Republican Sir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO QC

“I believe very strongly that such a mode of election (direct election) is unwise and inappropriate.”  It poses “a potential challenge to the Prime Minister who does not have such a base … The direct election of a President would ensure political outcomes.”

(Williamson Community Leadership lecture, 31 May 1995)



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