December 13

Who should grow up?

The Age says Australians are infantile (“It's time to grow up, and revive the republican cause” 6/11). The last decade has “witnessed a national retreat into childhood”.

The editor is annoyed because he says popular sentiment in favour of a republic “hovers on a precarious 50 to 52 per cent”. Actually this is about 45%, and lower among the young.

The Age makes the charge of infantilism in an editorial posted under an apparently purloined version of the Royal Coat of Arms. That may not be infantile, but is it not a trifle hypocritical?

The editor finds it depressing that the republican politicians want to put off action during the present reign. This is likely to be when most of these politicians are collecting their exceedingly generous taxpayer funded retirement benefits.

In other words this formula of leaving a politicians’ republic until the next reign is putting the question on the”never never”. As one such politician conceded to me, he hopes it happens in his children’s lifetime.

The editor admits that a politicians’ republic will be last thing Australians will want when this reign ends and a new one opens. So they want action now.

The editor cannot bring himself to contemplate that the defeat in 1999 had anything to do with the idea of a politicians republic being unpopular. Instead he says it was the question, and will now accept popular election.He calls for a plebiscite to coincide with the next election.

But unless the prime minister is in need of a distraction, this is unlikely.




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