June 9

Republicans still clutching at straws

During the nineties, republicans would advance the most extraordinary reasons for becoming a republic. Sir David Smith has summarised these in Head of State, a powerful book, which remains unanswered by any republican sage.

These extraordinary reasons have included, from some very prominent Australians, the proposition that their politicians’ republic would result in a reduction in unemployment and increases in trade and immigration.

Sir David writes that former Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason confessed he had  became a republican at the age of eight while watching the bodyline cricket series but waited sixty five years  before revealing it  “meanwhile accepting two imperial honours …from the monarch between conversion and confession.”

…another silly reason…

It is not surprising then that somebody would now argue that because of Sarah Ferguson, we should become a republic. Just what has Ms. Ferguson  to do with the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia?

That this should receive a double page spread in a major newspaper is an indication of the editorial priorities when serious issues are confronting the nation. Perhaps the article could have dealt with the ethical standards of the News of the World which entered into an elaborate scheme to entrap Ms. Ferguson. News of the World journalists have, as we know , committed crimes to write stories to boost circulation.   

No one has yet demonstrated how this constitutional change will improve the governance of Australia. Nor have they satisfied Australians that the politicians’ republic they are proposing is not going to lead to serious problems and endow the political class with more power. 

Remember, in recent years even republican Professor George Williams has conceded there were serious flaws in the 1999 republic.

 As the republicans still refuse to say what sort of republic they are proposing, we thought Ms Sarrah Le Marquand of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph could tell us after her two page spread extolling the advantages of some sort of politicians’ republic.

So we sent the following letter to the editor.   We were too polite to ask her if she had forgotten or was unaware of the fact that in 1999, the people had overwhelmingly rejected the best model the republicans could devise. They did this nationally, in all states and in 72% of electorates.

…letters to the Telegraph..    

"Could Ms. Le Marquand (8/6) indicate what sort of politicians’ republic she is proposing to replace our crowned republic?

How will it affect the Westminster system? How will it replace the oldest institution in our constitutional system, how will it provide leadership beyond politics, and how will it replace the Crown in its many functions, including that of constitutional guardian.

Given that in the current super profits controversy, the minerals are vested in the Crown in the right of, say Western Australia, Queensland or New South Wales, how will this work out in her republic?

Or will the minerals be handed over to a new republican centralist government?

Yours etc."

Beverly Watts of Moss Vale summarises it well in this letter in the Telegraph on 9 June :

“Thank you Sarrah Le Marquand , but I’d rather have my taxes pay for a monarchy than “snout-in-the trough” politicians and their afterlives- not to mention the cost of becoming a republic”

One comment. We do not pay any taxes to support the monarchy- nor indeeddo the British. The monarchy pays for itself, although the British politicians over the last decade  have  refused to hand over money which belongs to The Queen to be spent for public purposes, suchas maintaining heritage buildings.



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