Just as Senator Brown made his irresponsible proposal that the Australian people cast a vote of no confidence in one of the world’s most successful constitutional systems, official preliminary results indicate that in the recent election, the New Zealand Republican Party improved its vote.
Of over 2 million votes counted, 298 were cast for the Republican Party in 2008, six more than all the votes in 1999. That’s 0.01%, which gives you an idea of the interest and priority New Zealanders give to the question. We thank the prominent psephologist who drew our attention to this.
…Senator Brown’s irresponsible proposal….
Meanwhile in Australia, Greens Leader Bob Brown says he will introduce legislation for a plebiscite on “ a” republic. He gave no details. We are sure the sort of republic he wants is a politicians’ republic.
It is difficult to conceive of a more irresponsible proposal.
Senator Brown should first indicate the flaws in the constitution he has identified and then say how he would cure them.
To try to get the people to throw out one of the world’s most successful constitutions is to invite a long period of constitutional instability while the Senator and his ilk wrestle with some new constitution.
Senator Brown announced this during a major economic crisis. Just as the shadow Treasurer, Julie Bishop chose to deliver the Republican Lecture in the very week when the world financial crisis was at its height (“Perhaps it is the chardonnay,” 11 October 2008) .
We don’t know what Ms. Bishop had to say. No press release was issued, nor is the text on her or the ARM site. Did her Leader, Mr. Turnbull, explain to her what should be obvious – that as shadow Treasurer she should not be seen to be pushing republicanism especially at such a time?
Anyway, Senator Brown told the ABC on 11 November, that it was quite appropriate to revive the republican debate during the global financial crisis.
"I think people have got to have a spectrum of things to be thinking about and looking forward to and the country doesn't stop because of the financial crisis," he said.
"This is a thing about values and how we value our nation.
"It's a stimulus to put the issue back onto the agenda."
"This is a bill to have a plebiscite with the next election in 2010 to ask people whether they want a republic – yes or no," he said.
"That would lead onto a further vote down the line if people vote yes – and I believe they will – as to what sort of a republic."
…NZ PM elect on the inevitable republic, and yet…
Across the Tasman, the National’s multimillionaire leader, John Key, is likely to become Prime Minister the Prime Minister of New Zealand. According to The Times of 9 November, he is an admirer of Tony Blair.
Like his Labour opponent, Helen Clarke, he says it is inevitable that New Zealand will become a republic, although probably not for another decade.
Well I suppose that if it’s inevitable, you don’t need to do anything about it. You don’t even have to tell us about it being inevitable.
“If Australia becomes a republic there is no question it will set off quite an intense debate on this side of the Tasman,” he told the press.
“We would have to have a referendum if we wanted to move towards it. But I don’t think that will happen for some years yet.”
Curiously, he recently said he prefers the old honours system of knighthoods to the present system. "The aspect of titles that I personally liked is that you could celebrate success in New Zealanders and you can't always do that with this [new] system," he said.
He did not expalin how this would work in a republic. Of course many republics grant knighthoods, and Australian republican politicians readily accept them. They just don't like Australian knighthoods.
According to the Sunday Star Times of, 26 October 2008, he said that changing the honours system was not something he would do in his first week but "down the track we could have a look at that, have a review".
This attracted considerable support from some eminent New Zealanders, but not Helen Clark who condemns titles as “aristocratic”.
Sir Richard Hadlee, knighted in 1990 for services to cricket, said Key was "absolutely right, I support it 100%". Titles, he said, were a better way to recognise people.
"It's a tremendous accolade for achievement. You can't take anything away from being a sir or dame."
Dame Susan Devoy agreed. She received her honour in 1998, and said the biggest problem with the present system is that people didn't know who they were.
Opera singer Dame Malvina Major also said the present system didn't work.
"I don't know who has these lovely honours, the recognition isn't there.
"When I go to to Europe and the US people love to know you're a knight or a dame. It's really lovely. I agree with John Key."
I wonder if anyone has asked La Stupenda her views?
A noted retired thoracic surgeon Dr Ivan Lichter, made a member of the Order of New Zealand in 1997, told the newspaper he also supported Key's planned review.
…HM receives new High Commissioner …and the Rugby team..
And in the meantime, Mr John Dauth LVO has been received by The Queen as the new High Commissioner for Australia. A distinguished diplomat, Mr. Dauth was From 1977-1980 Mr Dauth worked on secondment to Buckingham Palace as Assistant Press Secretary to H.M. the Queen and Press Secretary to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.
The foreign Minister, the Hon. Stephen Smith is to be congratulated on his role in Mr. Dauth’s selection.
A frequent untruth made by the movement for a politicians’ republic is that The Queen is only interested in UK athletes. Only an ignorant person or a blatant liar would say this.
On 10 November, 10th November, 2008, The Queen gave a Reception at Windsor Castle for the Australian Touring Rugby Team to mark the Centenary of the first tour by an Australian touring rugby team to Great Britain. It was shown in some TV news.
But next Commonwealth Games, or some sporting event, we will be told again by someone that The Queen is only interested in the UK team.