While the republican movement still refuses to say what sort of republic they are planning, their leader has made a startling revelation. In an about face in the video embedded below, the republicans now say the president should only be removed after a strong vote in both houses.
But they went to the referendum proposing that Australia should become the only republic ever known in which it would be easier for the prime minister to sack the president than his cook. In this outrageous model the republicans actually wanted a republic in which the president could be sacked by the prime minister without notice, without reason and without appeal. This would have vastly increased the power of the prime minister, beyond anything acceptable under the Westminster system.
This is an admission that the model which the republican movement took to the 1999 referendum was fundamentally flawed, as we argued. Prominent republican Professor George Williams has also recently strongly criticised this aspect of the 1999 model.
This admission was made in the major debate broadcast by Sky Television to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the landslide defeat of the republican referendum. The debate was between the proponents of republican change and Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. This was beamed across the nation on 6 November.
The republican leader also seems unaware of the fact – or is unwilling to acknowledge it – that the rules relating to the succession are the subject of a significant proposal for change to be discussed by Commonwealth leaders this month. This is likely to be approved.
[In the debate Tony Abbott, ACM’s first executive secretary and now a prominent parliamentarian joined the current ACM national executive director, Thomas Flynn against Greens leader Senator Bob Brown and chairman of the republican movement, Major-General Keating. This is the third part of the debate.]