|Republicans split again - 1999 official spokesman declares war on radicals|
|Written by Professor David Flint AM|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2012|
It's official. The republicans are rent by yet another civil war.
In a declaration of war on republicans who would have a general election for the president, he warns that his republican opponents will be the only beneficiaries of such a destabalisation of the monarchy.
Once a constitutional monarchist, he moved to support the McGarvie model at the 1998 Constitutional Conventionto which he had been appointed by the Prime Minister, John Howard. ( In fact most of the appointed delegates were republican, a fact which demonstrates that the story he rigged the convention is completley untrue. Another lie is that he rigged the question.)
During the referendum I debated him in Perth. I was in a team consisting of former Governor-General Bill Hayden, and former Senator Withers. He was with the then Federal Attorney General, Daryl Williams and Democrat leader Senator Stott-Despoja.
As with many conservative republicans, he is strongly opposed to a directly elected presidency. So much so he prefers the constitutional monarchy to such a republic.
In a piece in the Australian on 13 June, “Conservative Republicans must bow to the crown,” he says “there is no point in conservative republicans further destabilising the monarchy if the only beneficiaries are those who wish to destabilise the Constitution.”
“A Queen in the hand is less trouble than the Constitution gone bush,” he concludes.
In my view, he exaggerates the attraction of the directly elected presidency. This is the model which the Morgan poll offers to respondents; it only manages to obtain 34% support. And this is without a public debate in which the perils of elected presidency would be argued both by constitutional monarchists and by the conservative Republicans. Remember, most Republican politicians fall into the category of conservative Republicans, and this is also probably true of most of the Republican commentariat.
If the directly elected presidency were to get past the Republican politicians – which is extremely unlikely – support in the referendum would probably be in the 20 percentile range.
One particular truth has dawned on Prof Craven. This is something which ACM has been talking about since before the referendum. The young are less interested in a Republic than the middle-aged inner-city elite.
He adds, “...the plain fact remains that, just now, the monarchy is not merely tolerated in Australia, it is popular. In any referendum, a republic would not lose, the Queen would win.”
“It is amazing what 20 years can do. In the 1990s, the monarchy was a joke not told in polite company.”
“ From an Australian perspective, it was a wondrous horror that one of the world's greatest parliamentary democracies - us - could be hitched to the stumbling constitutional nag of the house of Windsor.
“Yet look at us now. While our parliament is a chamber of prurient schoolchildren swapping insults, and our leaders crack champagne if their personal popularity soars into the mid-teens, an ageing Queen sails majestically forward. How the mighty have risen.
“Indeed, it can hardly be coincidental that as the organs of our own democracy increasingly seem to function below the waist, the daggy serenity of Her Majesty correspondingly appeals to a politically jaded populace."
“All of this has grave implications for republicans. Especially for conservative republicans who want to see the monarchy replaced but without stalling the Constitution itself.
“Until now, these moderate republicans have had only one thing in common with their radical, direct-election siblings.
“They are prepared to join in a general bagging of the monarchy, on the basis that once we have toppled the corgis, we can start fighting about which republic we actually want.”
So Professor Craven offers constitutional monarchists a truce. Not exactly from a position of strength.
Constitutional monarchists are no doubt delighted to know that conservative republicans will no longer bag the Royal Family unfairly.
But we should explain one thing.
If in a future referendum, some republicans were urging a No vote, of course ACM would cooperate.
What does this all mean? It means Australia's republicans are now openly split and are at war. To repeat what was said above, the attempts by the republican movement over the last 13 years to paper over these irrevocable divsions have failed totally.
|< Prev||Next >|