January 13

Republicans sow confusion


The republican movement is in a muddle, caught out by their refusal to accept the people’s very clear decision only six year ago and their embarassment over their plan to change the flag.

Ann Henderson, was on 2GB on the Jim Ball afternoon programme on 12 January, 2006 to attract support for Peter FizSimon’s brainchild –“a mate for a head of state day.”

She is cohosting the Sydney Institute launch next week , at which her husband Gerard Henderson is to be one of the speakers.

The plan behind this campaign is to have Parliament compel Australians to keep on voting on this until they get it right – “republicanism by exhaustion”.

Having already diverted millions from schools and hospitals, they now want Australians to vote three-yes, three- more times on this. (And that’s not counting the votes in the states and about changing the flag.)

The first will be designed to get a vote of no confidence in the existing constitution- one of the world’s most successful.

But then they say they haven’t the foggiest idea what to put in its place!

Unlike the Pope, the UN and every foreign government which has received him, Ann Henderson said she doesn’t believe the Governor-General is the Head of State, a diplomatic term not used in the constitution.

No republican has yet properly answered the detailed case about this which is in Sir David Smith’s submission to that recent further waste of taxpayers’ funds, the Senate Inquiry, and in his recent book. Although she is also a deputy chairman of the republican movement, Dr Henderson must not have kept up with her reading on the subject.

She made the mistake of repeating Sir Anthony Mason’s embarrassing gaffe in claiming a “robust convention” that the Governor-General hands over power and disappears the moment The Queen lands.

Sorry Dr. Henderson.

No such convention exists.

Sir David Smith exposed this "convention" by producing a photo of The Queen and the governor General at a formal function with Sir Anthony sitting in the front row! Special legislation had to be passed to allow Her Majesty to exercise just some of the Governor-General’s powers.

Some robust convention!

We can give Dr Henderson the references if she wishes.

I called in to 2GB, and they allowed me to make some points. Then Jim Ball threw the talkback lines open. Of the many calls , only one supported Dr Henderson’s call to revive the republican agenda.

While hitch hiking in Europe, this caller said he was often asked where he came from. Apparently his questioners invariably thought he was referring to Austria. So he became a republican, the logic of which is somewhat difficult to follow.

So one thing’s clear. The republicans have the donkey vote.

What is going on?

It seems that not only are the republican leaders are ill informed about matters constitutional, this malaise apparently extends to at least one of the official guides in the Victorian Parliament.

Recently one of our subscribers went with his wife to see the Parliament. He joined a group of visitors, many from other countries.

The guide announced that "the Queen is invited every year to do the formal opening of Parliament and every year she declines".

What invitation? There are over thirty parliaments in the Realms. What was the point of saying this-to suggest that The Queen is not interested?

What is the agenda? They were also informed that "the Victorian State Governor can only ever call an election on the advice of the Premier and that his reserve powers to break a deadlock have been revoked".

This could be misleading. While the upper house cannot reject supply in Victoria, but this does not mean the reserve powers have been revoked. If a premier persisted in illegal or unconstiutional behaviour, the governor could , and I believe, should act.

The point is, the governor, who must be above politics, is no rubber stamp.

Surveys indicate that we as a people are not well informed about our system of government. This may be because it works so well, compared with other countries.

That is why ACM has as one of its goals the promotion of the constitution through education.

Until next time,

David Flint

[email protected]





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