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ACM Home arrow 2020 Summit

2020 Summit

2020 Summit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having promised not to raise the republic issue (that is a politicians’ republic) in the first term, this emerged as the principal item on the agenda of the 2020 Summit held in April 2008 by the Rudd government.

Attendance at the Summit was rigged as if we were living in some tinpot dictatorship, and it was then so mismanaged that a leading republican likened it to a Mad Hatters Tea Party.

The governance panel of 100 produced one vote opposed to a republic and one abstention. 

The one person who voted for the retention of the constitutional monarchy, Senator George Brandis, was widely but wrongly  assumed to be a republican.

According to republican one leading republican delegate, it was so mismanaged it became a Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Then the  resolutions passed by the governance panel and approved at the plenary session called for the termination of constitutional links with the UK, links which were ended in 1986.

The record was subsequently changed without explanation to amend the resolutions adopted.

The Summit was an expensive public embarrassment.

 



Summit fails first test Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 29 March 2008

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When Mark Day objected to News Limited’s chief executive John Hartigan chairing the 2020 Summit panel on the “Future of Australian Governance” with former ABC TV presenter, Maxine McKew MP, he let the cat out of the bag.

The panel, he revealed, will be presenting its views on changing Australia into some sort of republic.

Apart from the politicians, the names of that panel have now been released.

It is no surprise that a number of very prominent republicans are included. We can only identify one person who has spoken out as a constitutional monarchist.


...unfortunate precedent for summit...


This is at least an advance on the conference hosted by Summit co-chair Professor Glyn Davis when he was vice chancellor of Griffith University. We referred to this conference  in this column on 20 March, 2007.

That was the “Australian Constitutional Futures Conference”   to restart and broaden the debate about “the” republic and the constitutional framework “we” need for the 21st century. 
 Although this conference was hosted by a taxpayer funded university, no one who was not a committed republican was invited to speak. Davis gave a paper on republicanism rising again.

As we mentioned, the conference papers are no longer accessible on the Griffith University site.  No wonder.

 One speaker ( Greg Barns) referred to the monarchy as “rancid” and “corrupt,” “a menace to democracy” with “ a cavalier disregard for liberal values,”  a  ” corrupt institution ... prepared to subvert the rule of law... and allow criminal activity to go unchecked within its walls.”  The monarchy, he said, has “little interest in anything other than self-preservation and that it will ride roughshod over the rule of law, if necessary, to achieve that aim.” 

No one was invited to present the view which after all prevailed in 1999. Against a mainly biased media, the No case won nationally, in every state and 72% of electorates.

The Summit appears to be following the precedent set at Griffith University.


...not the Australian way...


Many of the names on the panel are unknown to us. We assume that most will have only a general understanding of the constitutional issues. It is inconceivable then that the large number of prominent republicans who are on the panel, together with the politicians, will not have their way.  

Not to have added a balancing  number of those who have some sort of record in arguing for the retention of our existing constitution is not the Australian way.

The Summit has failed the first test.

We suggested in our column that the final communiqué on the issue of a republic could be written in advance.

We remain of this view.  
 
Summit to rule on republic: only one view to be permitted? Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 20 March 2008

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...media to run governance session...  


It has just been revealed that the “2020 ideas for the future summit” in April will consider whether Australia should become a republic. We now have an idea how this summit will operate. And it’s not pretty. It's looking as if it may end up like the Supreme Soviet - one sided. 

John Hartigan, executive chairman of News Limited, is to chair the crucially important governance session.  

Becoming a republic is put in the context of “cutting our ties with Britain” which is of course an entirely different question. Don’t the organisers know all legal authority of the UK in Australia only lasted as long as we wanted it and was ended when the politicians finally worked out what they wanted in 1986? 

 Don’t they know the High Court ruled in 1999 that the Australian Crown is an entirely separate legal institution from the British Crown?

Apart from becoming a republic the session will have a daunting agenda to complete in just two days. This will include whether we should have a bill of rights; “what levels of transparency good government demands,” especially in government dealings with the media; and the impact of freedom of information laws. 

It seems the governance session is to be run by the media. When the government realised it was being politically incorrect and had forgotten about the dated baby boomer issue of gender balance, the former ABC television presenter Maxine McKew MP was added as co-chair.


...call to journlists to stop playing politics...


Inconveniently, News Limited’s flagship  The Australian ( 15 March 2005 “Detachment Matters”) recently called on journalists to stop playing politics and to get out of the political arena.  

Day has seized on this and says Hartigan should have refused Kevin Rudd’s invitation. ( The Australian  20 March 2008 “My boss shouldn't be involved with Rudd's gabfest” )  .

Some more traditional journalists take the view that they should not belong to political organisations. Day says he has “long” argued that journalists should not be joiners, but admits he did not always hold this view.

He changed his mind when he was on Australian Republican Movement’s executive. It all became clear when he argued in The Daily Telegraph in 1998 that the ARM needed new leadership  “less abrasive” than Malcolm Turnbull’s. He was forced off the executive and “nearly drummed out” of the ARM.

Day misses the point.

It’s not so much about joining. It’s about being objective about the facts and declaring any conflicts of interest unknown to readers.

Recently he failed to declare his republican affiliations when he made his  extraordinary claim that the Royal Family leaked the story that Prince Harry was in Afghanistan.

He later backed away from his line that this was based on observing how the Royal Family manipulates the media, and claimed the story was based on...yes,  “impeccable sources.”



...shades of the Supreme Soviet...


In any event, Day has well and truly let the cat out of the bag.

We now know the details of one of the most important sessions at the Summit.

One thing is likely. There’ll probably be no one there speaking for those who voted no in 1999. They won in all states, 55% of the popular vote and 72% of electorates. Only on side is likely to be there.
 

Paul Keating appointed the 2020 summit co-chairman Professor Glyn Davis a member of the 1993 Republic Advisory Committee chaired by Malcolm Turnbull. Keating had made it a strict condition that all members, without exception, be committed republicans, so everyone knows where Davis stands.

 Of course, he’s entitled to be a republican. Its his modus operandi which is interesting.

In 2002, when he was vice-chancellor of Griffith University, the university  The Australian and the ARM,  convened  the “Australian Constitutional Futures Conference.”  This was to restart and broaden the debate about “the” republic and the constitutional framework “we” need for the 21st century. 

Although this conference was hosted by a taxpayer funded university,  no one who was not a committed republican was invited to speak.

Davis gave a paper on republicanism rising again.
The conference papers are no longer accessible on the Griffith University site.  No wonder.

One speaker ( Greg Barns) referred to the monarchy as “rancid” and “corrupt,” “a menace to democracy” with “ a cavalier disregard for liberal values,”  a  ” corrupt institution ... prepared to subvert the rule of law... and allow criminal activity to go unchecked within its walls.”

The monarchy, he said,  has “little interest in anything other than self-preservation and that it will ride roughshod over the rule of law, if necessary, to achieve that aim.”

 Neither the University nor The Australian invited  a contribution from the other side, those whose views , after all, prevailed in 1999. 

So will this be how each of the sessions at the summit will operate? Entirely one sided?  If so they needn’t bother.

They could publish the conclusions now.

 The 2020 summit is looking as if it will be as predictable as a meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

They could go the whole hog. When Stalin concluded a speech, the record would invariably say
“ Prolonged applause, standing ovation, shouts of ‘Long live Comrade Stalin!’ More applause.”
 

[ An edited version of this was included in the  20 March 2008 edition  of the online journal, Crikey 

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Read more...
 
The 2020 Summit: Republicans will rise again? Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 04 February 2008

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...the 2020 summit and its co-chairman...

The 2020 summit on 19-20 April 2008 announced by the Prime Minister on 4 February is to advise government on a range of issues and to set the policy agenda for the next decade. 

One thousand of the “best and brightest” will  be picked by some process as yet unknown, and will be divided into ten groups , one of which will be “ the structure of government.”

The Prime Minister and Professor Glyn Davis will co-chair the conference. It seems Professor Davis will design the conference; indeed it is likely that the summit is his idea.

He is said to be close to the Prime Minister. He was Commissioner for Public Sector Equity in Queensland under the Goss government from 1990 to 1993, succeeding Mr Rudd as Director-General of the Office of the Cabinet in 1995.

In 1998 he was appointed Director-General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to Premier Peter Beattie.

Professor Davis  became Vice Chancellor and President of Griffith University in 2002, and  Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne in 2005.It has been suggested that he is a possible appointee as the next secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 


...Griffith University co-hosts a conference...but where are the papers?


Professor Davis is strongly committed to the Commonwealth of Australia becoming a republic, a fact which became apparent  when he was appointed in 1993 to the Republic Advisory Committee. This government committee was chaired by Malcolm Turnbull, then head of the Australian Republican Movement.

 Readers may recall that the then Prime Minster, Paul Keating, made it a strict condition  that all members, without exception, be  committed republicans.

In 2002, Griffith University, in conjunction with The Australian and the Australian Republican Movement, hosted a conference in Brisbane, the “Australian Constitutional Futures Conference.”

As the hosts said, the conference was to restart and broaden the debate about “the” republic and the constitutional framework “we” need for the 21st century.  Who the organisers meant by the word  “we,” apart from themselves, is not clear.

Although this conference was hosted by a university – a taxpayer funded  university, it should be noted  - no one who was not a committed republican was invited to speak.

Professor Davis gave a paper,  “Republicans will rise again.”  We shall return to that .

The conference papers are no longer accessible on the Griffith University site.  We are not surprised.


...disgraceful attack on the Sovereign...



One speaker ( certainly not Dr Davis) was allowed to launch into a  vile  attack on the Sovereign and the Royal Family.  He referred to the monarchy as “rancid” and “corrupt,” “a menace to democracy” with “ a cavalier disregard for liberal values.”

It was, he said,  a  ” corrupt institution ... prepared to subvert the rule of law... and allow criminal activity to go unchecked within its walls.”


He said that the monarchy has “little interest in anything other than self-preservation and that it will ride roughshod over the rule of law, if necessary, to achieve that aim.”

 We find it extraordinary that such a disgraceful paper would be accepted.

Perhaps the univeristy  had no notice, but once he started on this course, so alien to a university, he should have been stopped frm continuing with this filth.

Having allowed this, it should have dawned on  the University and The Australian how remiss they were in not inviting a contribution from those whose views , after all, prevailed in 1999.

They could have invited a paper to be published with the others, excluding of course the highly offensive and completely unjustified attack on The Queen and the Royal Family. 


....republicans will rise again....


 In any event, the paper from Dr Davis, “Republicans will rise again,” was  essentially a  call for unity between republicans.

Since then there has not been any progress whatsoever on that front.

 The republican movement papers this over by effectively saying they want a republic, but they haven’t the foggiest idea what sort of republic they actually want.

The problem for the republicans is as soon as they say what they want, half of them walk out.


 ...there must be no shameful gagging as in 1993 and 2002... 


So we hope that time will not be wasted at the summit on this tired subject in which, as Mr Turnbull famously wrote in his 1999 diary, “nobody’s interested.”

But if it is, we do hope that the Prime Minister and Professor Davis do the right thing.

The shameful gagging of any dissenting voice by Mr Keating and then at the 2002 Conference by the national newspaper and a public university should never be repeated.  

Not at least if anyone is to take the occasion seriously.
   

 
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