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ACM Home arrow 2020 Summit arrow Summit: "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let the hundred schools of thought contend."

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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