The most bitter dispute at the 1998 Convention was not between republicans and monarchists. It was between republicans.
There was even a threatened walk out by one side. It was only through a mediation by the monarchist leader, Justice Lloyd Waddy, that this was averted.
The same dispute surfaced when the 2020 Summit the record was surreptitiously changed after a ten day delay and without any vote. In its place now is a call for a plebiscite.
This was not only to get around the embarrassment of relying on such an elementary error of law and fact. It was also used to score a stunning victory over the “direct elect” republicans who want the people to elect the president.
The “direct elect” republicans haven’t notice this yet. When they do, they will be screaming.
This change in the record eliminated Kim Beazley’s second plebiscite to choose the form of republic. The slower conservative republicans hadn’t quite grasped the fact that this second plebiscite guaranteed the referendum will be on the direct elect model.
One time monarchist, Australian Catholic University Vice Chancellor Greg Craven has been taking them aside for years to explain this.
But rather than producing the “wrong” republic, he says a referendum on the “direct elect” model will only delay any republic.
Once the people see it will produce serious instability, he says it would result in an even bigger defeat than in 1999.Not only King Charles III but also King William V will reign over this land, he predicts.
…republicans who say No to direct election…
As we mentioned in a recent column, we have been provided with a list of republicans opposed to direct election.
As we saw at the 1998 Convention, and at the 2020 Summit, the conservative republicans are at war with the direct elect republicans and never miss an opportunity to damage their cause.
NO Says Republican Malcolm Turnbull
“Nothing worried me more than the direct election argument … that a direct election would start off with high support but be destroyed by concerted opposition from the coalition and all other credible figures who would point to its fundamental contradiction: that it would turn the Head of State into a political partisan.”
(Fighting for the Republic p189 Hardie Grant Books 1999)
“This would give us the worst of all worlds.” (The Australian 14 June,2002)
NO Says Republican Paul Keating
“Paul Keating and I both agreed that direct election … would turn the Head of State into a political partisan.” (Malcolm Turnbull, Fighting for the Republic, Hardie Grant Books, 1999, p 189)
NO Says Republican Neville Wran
“As a matter of tactics, those who want a republic in place must take the direct electionists head on – the principle of popular vote – is a recipe for chaos and confusion.”
(The Case for Yes, Federation Press 1999, p. 22)
NO Says Republican Bob Carr
Agreeing “Most Labor Leaders are opposed to a directly elected President.”
(Weekend Australian 16/17 June, 2001
NO Says Republican Peter Costello
And “Adamantly opposed” (The Australian Jan. 14 2001, p. 11)
“I don’t think you can run a Westminster system with a US-style presidency, so I think he’ll have to do some work on that” he said (ABC News Online Asia-Pacific, 11 December, 2003.)
(To be continued)