|“ Undemocratic ..dictatorial" mayor exaggerates support for politicians’ republic|
|Written by Professor David Flint AM|
|Saturday, 18 October 2008|
The new mayor of a suburban Sydney Council, Ku-ring-gai, exaggerating republican support there, removed the Queen’s portrait from behind her seat in the council chambers less than 24 hours after taking office. The Mayor seems to have acted without the authority of the Council. This is not after all her office, but the public chamber in which the full Council meets.
Not surprisingly, the action was slammed as “undemocratic and dictatorial” by Cr Tony Hall.
“(The Queen) is the Queen of Australia and her portrait has a right to be there,” he said.The mayor’s authoritarian action will only demonstrate to the public the danger in giving some politicians even more power in a politicians’ republic.When questioned by her colleagues, Mayor Elaine Malicki dismissed this by saying they “can put it in writing in a notice of motion.
She told the North Shore Times on 16 October the portrait was “now in the councillor’s boardroom in a position of great honour”. Cr Nick Ebbeck, who was the previous mayor told The Times’ Katrina Adamski “The chamber is public property and I don’t believe any one person is bigger than our community.” “The monarchy debate is a federal decision and it’s well and truly out of our level of government to be intervening she has no right to be making these stands in isolation on behalf of the community.” Cr Malicki, whom The Times says does not wear mayoral robes, said the portrait would be available for citizenship ceremonies and other ceremonial occasions.
“The quality of our leadership does not rely on having a portrait of the Queen as a young woman hanging in the chamber during council meetings,” she said.
“The decisions made are those of the elected councillors and they have nothing whatsoever to do with a leader in England. We have an Opposition Leader (Malcolm Turnbull) who is a republican, and don’t forget that Ku-ring-gai voters were among the strongest supporters of a republic during the referendum. “
Well, of the 28% of electorates which actually voted for the politicians republic in 1999, the Yes vote in the electorates in the area was 55.6 and 54.5%. The area ranked only 23rd to 25th among the 42 electorates which voted in favour.
Extraordinarily, the mayor says “It is time for this minor change and I am more than happy for there to be further debate.”
This minor change necessitated a vast number of changes set out in the 1999 bill.
But of course there can be further debate. But not in the Council chamber, Your Worship.
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