Albo’s republic plans ‘comatose’

by DAVID FLINT – AS A direct result of his massive 61:39 loss in the Voice referendum to divide Australians by race we should, with a certain irony, thank Anthony Albanese. 

As a consequence of rank-and-file Australians overwhelmingly saying No, they won’t have to vote for many a year, if ever, on downgrading our constitution into what Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy warned in 1999 was nothing more than a politicians’ republic. 

Labor believed the 1999 republic referendum was defeated only because the people had too much detail.

This was to tear the heart out of our constitution, one of the world’s oldest, carefully designed by a people’s convention and approved in several pre-federation referendums and re-approved nationally in the 1999 landslide.

The objective of this now comatose republican exercise is to reduce, significantly, the checks and balances on the politicians, making them even less accountable than they are now.

SURPRISED

When the question whether Albanese should put a referendum was recently posed on Sky’s The Jury, presenter Danica De Giorgio surprised viewers by describing the King’s coming visit as a “charm offensive to stave off a republic”.

This assertion contradicts not only the late Queen Elizabeth’s and King Charles’s clear and well-known position that becoming a republic is a matter for the Australian people, but also the King’s declared belief that discussion of this issue is a “sign of maturity”.

That he would stoop to a politician’s charm offensive to stave off a republic is insulting and surely demands at least a correction. In any event, the jury’s verdict on the show was a firm No, eleven to one.

But when juror David was asked why he voted Yes, he brought the house down with his witty reply, “I’d like to see Albanese run another referendum and lose it, so that we can keep our monarchy”.

Another juror, Kerry, said he voted No for the reason that, “When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Others would no doubt have followed Alan Jones’s sound prescription that, “If you don’t know, vote No”.

This is relevant because in the Voice referendum, Labor believed the 1999 republic referendum was defeated only because the people had too much detail.

While it is unlikely that one of our most celebrated opera singers ever said it, Labor’s referendum policy follows the advice attributed to her, “Give them muck, that’s all they understand”.

This describes Labor’s current policy to referendums, a policy voraciously adopted by Labor’s republican arm, the Australian Republican Movement.

LINO politicians foolishly flirting with the ARM-inspired Parliamentary Friends of the Republic and similar ploys, should remember that the ARM is nothing more than a Labor front. Operating through LFAR, Labor for an Australian Republic, they ensure Labor’s national platform mirrors ARM policy.

Thus, frustrated by the lack of action by Labor governments since 1999, they inserted into the platform a requirement that a frontbencher be designated to push the fake republic.

Hence the emergence of a so-called “Assistant Minister for the Republic”.

REVEALING

Returning to the program The Jury, the presentation of the For and Against cases was revealing.

Eric Abetz, appearing as Australian Monarchist League Chairman, responded to the ARM’s central argument that only in its fake republic can we have an Australian as Head of State.

He insisted that governments around the world recognise the Governor-General as our Head of State.

The ARM Chair, Craig Foster, pretended he couldn’t find this in the constitution; in a real court he would have had to admit that the term is not used there.

The best known, best qualified Tasmanian politician with a national profile, Abetz moves from principles fundamental to the Party founded by Sir Robert Menzies.

An experienced lawyer, Abetz brings to the constitutional debate strength, integrity and consistency, along with an excellent understanding of the constitutional position.

The result is that in the unlikely event that a referendum is called, the constitutional monarchist side of the debate will be united.

This does not of course mean monarchists will always agree on everything.

At the 1998 Convention, ACM, by far the largest among half a dozen monarchist organisations, almost alone supported John Howard when he decided that the Keating and Turnbull model should be tested in a referendum.

On the Churchillian theme, followed by Roosevelt, that your enemy’s enemy is your friend, ACM worked with republicans who joined the No case, despite criticism.

(ACM also follows the Palmerstonian corollary that they have neither eternal allies, nor perpetual enemies.)

Returning to The Jury, Craig Foster spoke first, announcing he would not be speaking to the specific question before the jury, but on the non-question, how to get his politicians’ republic

Uninterrupted, he even claimed only eight per cent of Australians supported the constitutional monarchy.

But when Eric Abetz replied and thereafter, Foster constantly interrupted with impunity, talking over an exasperated but impressively calm Abetz, even directly speaking to the jury.

DISGRACEFUL

If this were a real court, Foster would have been warned and, had he continued, sanctioned for contempt.

It was a disgraceful performance.

The result was Foster shot himself in the foot, probably only confirming the worst suspicions not only of the jury but also the wider TV audience.

This exercise demonstrates that the word “republic” is very much a Humpty Dumpty word. As Humpty said scornfully to Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less”.

At the 1999 referendum, the Macquarie Dictionary offered three descriptive definitions of “republic”.

Our current constitutional system easily qualifies as a republic, a crowned republic, under two definitions and arguably under the third.

Former Labor leader and Governor-General Bill Hayden preferred the existing system which he saw as a small-r “republic” over the proposed change to a capital-R Republic.

If there is one lesson in all this, without a detailed model on the table, polling and plebiscitary questions can easily be at best useless and at worse, biased.

An infamous example of the latter has been “Are you in favour of a republic with an Australian Head of State?”

Annoyingly for the politicians, a referendum necessitates a detailed model.PC

David Flint

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Anthony Albanese. (courtesy The Daily Telegraph)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Spectator Australia on February 24, 2024. Re-used with permission.

6 thoughts on “Albo’s republic plans ‘comatose’

  1. I wonder how many Australians are aware that not long ago Prime Minister Albanese described the Constitution as being “archaic”?

    The other republicans have in the past made similar comments claiming the Constitution is no longer relevant?

    Politicians and former politicians who want us to vote without details to give them permission to make whatever changes they want to make. It reminds me of the “Voice” referendum, the election evening promise of “Uluru Statement in full” and reference to “Voice Treaty Truth” but no details provided despite many requests from the Coalition. And 61 per cent of us voted against.

    If it’s not broken then why is there any need to change the Constitution?

    1. I agree with not signing a blank cheque, but our system of government is failing badly. We definitely need to tweak it (big time). I suspect that many people are wary of constitutional change because they don’t trust governemnt to change it “appropriately”. Politicians are content with the status quo because they know how to manipulate the present system. It is disgusting that 250 years on, and Australia still clings to Britain’s skirt, despite all that she has done to us, and demanded of us.

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