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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.

 



Hear Alexander Downer's devastating response to Summit Print E-mail
Written by ACM   
Saturday, 03 May 2008

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The 2020 Summit governance panel endorsement of some sort of republic, by a majority of which Mugabe would be jealous, 98%, was based on an embarrassing misunderstanding of the legal position by the " best and brightest."

 Alexander Downer's response is devastating.  ACM will be offering audio and video material which you can download. ACM's Jai Martinkovits, below,  explains how you can download this speech.   

 

 
Leading independent commentators condemn summit recommendations. Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 22 April 2008

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 ...Andrew Bolt writes....

Andrew Bolt’s blog is bookmarked across the country. He is one of the nation's most respected independent commentators.

On 21 April 2008, he posted the following under “The Republic Con.” 
 

In just a few hours it had attracted hundreds of comments in just a few hours.

 “Professor David Flint, of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, points out in an email a stupidity in the summit’s proposal for a republic:  

“The panel recommends an as yet unknown republic through a two-stage process. The first stage is to end ties with the UK. What the Summit is trying to do is to remove our oldest institution, the Australian Crown, from the constitution, while keeping the Governor-General in place for five years. During these five years, a new constitution is supposed to be worked out.  

“This means two referendums. ‘The first will be to remove vast parts of the Constitution - without putting anything at all in their place. Do the republicans really think the people would ever agree to something so monumentally stupid?’ 

“Flint also notes just how comprehensively the summit was stacked to give a result so strongly pro-republican:

 “‘According to a reliable source, the group within the governance panel has voted that Australia is to become a republic by 2020. The vote was 29 in favour, with one abstention. If we apply the way the AEC counts referendums, the vote was 100% in favour. This is a better result than Mugabe has managed in the Zimbabwean elections.’ 

“And when the summit’s final recommendation for a republic was read out at the final session, it was greeted with huge applause. Kevin Rudd on AM this morning claimed:  “’I think what the summit was saying loud and clear was that there is a big groundswell of support for a republic in Australia.”

 “False. Rudd is treating the views of his handpicked claque as proof of the views of the public - when they are nothing of the kind. In fact, as the Summit briefing papers conceded (see page 11), a republic is backed by fewer than 50 per cent of voters. 

 “The summit was not democratic and not representative. It’s also being used to push a pre-set agenda - and one not backed by most voters who thought they’d already had their say.


...Alan Jones condemns the summit recommendations...



In his editorial on 2GB Monday 21 April, 2008, Alan Jones condemned the Summir recommendations on a republic. 

With by far the top rating programme in the Sydney area, his editorial is heard by hundreds of thousands of people, probably far more than  read any newspaper editorial in the country.
He observed in the course of this:

"...we were told that the governance panel voted 29 in favour of a republic and one abstention, so that's a 100 per cent vote.

"As one writer says this morning, it's a better result than Mugabe's managed in the Zimbabwean elections.

He concluded:
"In the 1999 referendum, the no vote prevailed in all States. And now the no vote doesn't exist, according to the weekend. But how on earth can you say that we're recommending a republic when we don't even have a model. And has Kevin Rudd now got himself into a bind that he's going to have to do something about this. Then we're going to abolish the States and introduce a bill of rights. Good heavens above. Let's get back to reality, I would have thought."    

   

 
 
Criticism of Summit: ABC report Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 21 April 2008

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...ABC reports criticism of Summit governance panel..

“The head of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, Professor David Flint, says the selection of the governance panel at the 2020 Summit was a gerrymander worthy of an African dictatorship, “ reported the ABC in its lead item on the online edition of ABC News on much of 21 April, 2008, (“Monarchist criticises 'biased' 2020 governance panel”) 

“Professor Flint told a Sydney lunch celebrating the Queen's birthday that the governance panel that called for an Australian republic was stacked with pro-republican delegates.

 

“He says the republicans had no idea five years ago, and have no idea now.

 

“Before leaving the microphone and taking an oath of allegiance to the Queen, he warned republicans that constitutional monarchists would fight every step of the way.

 

“’If we apply the way the AEC (Australian Electoral Commission) counts referendums, the vote was 100 per cent in favour,’ he said.

 “’This is a better result than [Robert] Mugabe has managed in the Zimbabwean elections,’ he said, in reference to last month's presidential poll, the results of which Mr Mugabe has refused to release.”


....Alexander Downer addresses constitutional monarchists...


 

“Meanwhile, former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer says the 2020 session's vote on the republic showed it was a left-wing talk-fest.

 

“’There were 100 people there and 98 of them voted yes, one of them abstained and one voted no,’ Mr Downer said.

 

“’I think there is some tokenism there in this summit if there is only one person who opposed a republic in the governance group.’”

 
Summit Vote for republic, 100%. Are they serious? Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 19 April 2008

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When the Prime Minister drew inspiration for the 2020 Summit from Mao Tse-tung's famous observation "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let the hundred schools of thought contend," (The Sydney Morning Herald, "Summit brimming with ideas," 17 April, 2008), we should have realized that the Summit - at least the governance panel - would be run on Maoist lines.

According to a reliable source, the group within the governance panel has voted that Australia is to become a republic by 2020. The vote was 29 in favour, with one abstention.

If we apply the way the AEC counts referendums, the vote was 100% in favour. This is a better result than Mugabe has managed in the Zimbabwean elections.

In 1999, with what Professor Greg Craven told the Summit was a minor constitutional change (we disagree), the No vote prevailed in all states and 72% of electorates.

It is inconceivable that 45% has somehow turned into 100%.

This was confirmed in the plenary session on Saturday, which was run as if it were from a 1960’s vaudeville TV programme.  You know, people sitting on high kitchen stools with a wandering comedian asking the audience questions.

Anyway, one lady from the governance panel volunteered the information that the divisions she had expected did not exist, and that they had all agred on a republic and a bill of rights.


...panel gerrymandered...



This confirms  our critique that the governance panel was obviously gerrymandered.

But when this was reported in The Australian on 17 April, 2008,  the chairman of the governance panel, John Hartigan, countered that it was the failure of the monarchists to nominate that had led to the perceived imbalance.

Mr Hartigan - chairman and chief executive of News Limited, publisher of The Australian - said there had been "no obvious constitutional monarchist" among the 700 prospective summiteers who nominated governance as their first preference.

"We even went back and checked every form again, but to no avail," he said.

"We also looked at all of the delegates to the 1999 constitutional convention - other than the politicians - to see whether any were also nominees for this summit. As far as we could tell, none were.

"We also looked at David Flint's website to identify anyone else who might have nominated. Nothing there either.

"We then came up with a list of other possibles, but all of them were already allocated to other streams

We have just learned that Mr. Michael Hodgman QC, Shadow Tasmanian Attorney- General nominated.

He was at the 1998 Convention, he is referred to on the ACM site. He leads the ACM group in the Tasmanian Parliament.

He fits all of the criteria Mr. Hartigan says would have qualified him.

Yet he wasn’t appointed.

If this were not about a serious issue of governance, it would be slightly amusing.

It is difficult to understand how anyone could continue to be associated with such a disgraceful operation.


...Stop Press....


As a postscript, the governance panel decided by a majority of 75% on Saturday evening 19 April 2008 to recommend a republic by 2010.

And the republicans don't even have a model.

If the Rudd government accepts this, they will have little else to do between now and the next election.

And by the way, the states are to be abolished, and a bill of rights enacted.

 


   

 

 

 
Summit: "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let the hundred schools of thought contend." Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 17 April 2008

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[An ACM newsletter]

 

...Monarchists do defend The Queen...



Monarchists did not stir themselves to suggest it was discourteous to canvass her sacking just before the PM saw The Queen, claims Mike Steketee in The Australian 17 April, 2008 (“Rudd's republic a work in progress”).

This is not so, and I have written to The Australian pointing this out. My letter continues: 

“Our (web) site  includes the considered comment of a prominent Australian of Asian origin, not a known monarchist:

“It was discourteous of Mr Rudd to raise republicanism just before his audience with the Sovereign. I am disappointed- after all he was a diplomat.”

 “As to Mr. Steketee’s claim that we don’t seem to be willing to defend our monarch any more, a most superficial glance at our site, regular journals and other publications would demonstrate that this is just not true.

 “And as to my not nominating ( Monarchists supporters angry over panellists, 17/5), it seems the summit delegates were chosen without even asking them whether they wanted to go. That there could be a governance panel with no one from the other side is a gerrymander of Zimbabwe like proportions. 

  “Frankly, we expected this. Paul Keating started it in 1993 when he chose only passionate republicans (including summit co-chair Dr Glyn Davis) for his republican jamboree.  

“This  won’t fool the public into approving governments spending  millions more in trying to change our constitution  and our flag.”


 

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...Breach of privacy ? ...


Under the heading, “The people that Kevin rejects” a Crikey correspondent reports rity that the identity of all unsuccessful nominees was disclosed in e-mails sent to rejected applicants.

A subsequent message blamed "a human error", and asked recipients to delete the addresses. Crikey believes the government is now dealing with “a seething quagmire of e-mails from various barrow-pushers.”


...critique from the left...


No-one has really thought out how the 2020 Summit is thing is going to work, writes Guy Rundle for Crikey.

It is refreshing  to see a critique of the Summit from the left side of the political spectrum.

He calculates that the average speaking time for each delegate is nine minutes.

As he says, if everyone uses their time to raise their own personal obsessions, the result will be chaos.

Alternatively, he thinks, the topics will be set by cliques. He thinks this will be principally for a republic and increased funding for the bodies represented by the people attending.


Those “keen on advancing causes such as the republic should have committed to the harder yards of rebuilding a republican movement to advocate it, rather than relying on the legup of a state summit.”

From Paul Keating’s Republic Advisory Committee down to the Senate inquiry, republicans have long relied on government and  taxpayers’ funds to do their work.

And from Paul Keating down to Glyn Davis, they have foolishly tried to gag and disadvantage their opposition.

We had expected more from Kevin Rudd whose behaviour seems more similar to that of his predecessor.

To his great credit John Howard did the opposite. The majority of nominated delegates to the 1998 Convention were.... republicans.


As Guy Rundle says, the principal effect of all this will be to delegitimize whatever  contentious suggestions the Summit comes up with.


..."Monarchy supporters angry over panellists" reports The Australian... 



 Imre Salusinszky, The Australian’s NSW political reporter reports (17April 17, 2008) that monarchists  are furious over their under-representation at the 2020 Summit, which they fear could become a platform to relaunch the push for a republic.

 In an interview with Mr. Salusinszky, I said  "It's a terrible gerrymander."  

 "It's extraordinary to me that the only person you see in the governance panel who could have any connection with the no case at the 1999 referendum is (former NSW upper house MP) Helen Sham-Ho - and I suspect she's been appointed for other reasons." 

"There is nobody from the group that actually won the referendum. What I suspect is that they're going to come up with a recommendation for a republic."

 The co chairman of the governance panel and publisher of The Australian, John Hartigan, said it was the failure of the monarchists to nominate, or self-identify once they had nominated, that had led to the perceived imbalance.  

 "We also looked at David Flint's website to identify anyone else who might have nominated. Nothing there either.

 "As far as we know, David Flint did not nominate himself, and was not nominated by anyone else."

The  Australian Republican Movement chairman Mike Keating said: "The summit is about the future and the monarchists are about the past.”

Well. We know what sort of democracy this Australian republic would be.

When the Prime Minister drew inspiration for the summit from Mao Tse-tung's "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let the hundred schools of thought contend" (The Sydney Morning Herald, "Summit brimming with ideas," 17 April,2008) Australians should have taken the hint.


...a now, a republic disguised as a monarchy....



Former NSW premier Bob Carr has turned Walter Bagehot on his head. Bagehot famously described the United Kingdom as a “ disguised republic.”

Bob Carr, who threw the NSW Governor out of Government House, and tried to make the office part time, has called on the Summit to adopt an "ultra-minimalist" republican model.

Mr Carr says deleting references to the Queen from the Constitution, while declaring the governor-general as head of state.

That’s a variation of the old “tippex” solution where you white out such references, a solution abandoned as totally inadequate and facile by Malcolm Turnbull.

This is the  only solution to the “deadlock,” he declared.

What deadlock? The people could not have been clearer in 1999. Don’t you understand, Mr. Carr?  No means No.


"The advantage of simply redesignating the governor-general as the head of state is that you reconcile conservative Australians to the republic, because you remove the nomenclature, 'president'.”

The former politician now clergyman who called for a republic this Easter, Michael Tate[i] has joined Bob Carr in calling for a disguised republic ( “Loyalty greater without royalty,” The Australian 17 April,2008)

On this,  Justice Lloyd  Waddy brought the house down when he commented on a similar proposal at the 1998 Constitutional Convention:

 “This is a Governor-General who is not a Governor-General, and we could not explain it when he was a Governor-General. But now he is not a Governor-General; he is really a president but we do not call him that because we do not dare to.”.
    
 
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