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The Tampa affair
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 07 November 2001

The following was oublished in the Australian Financial Review of & Novemebr, 2001.

Clearly constitutional monarchisits will not have one view on these matters- no should they. But many suporters asked me my view, which was the subject of this opinion piece . In offering this, I stress it is not ACM's view-it is the view of one ACM supporter.


There were two reactions to the government’s handling of the Tampa incident. 
One was the overwhelming support of the public.  The other was the overwhelming
condemnation of the nation’s opinion leaders."

Read more...
 
Gough Whitlam still campaigning
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 05 November 2001


I like to say in speeches that all of Australia’s great Prime Ministers were monarchists, and that apart from two, all were monarchists in office.

 I shall let the reader decide into which or both categories Edward Gough Whitlam falls.

 In a recent wide ranging opinion piece, he called on the Herald’s journalists to write on one particular matter relating to the constitution, one which Mr Whitlam has been relying on as an argument for a republic. (As if some journalist needed any encouragement!)

I replied  with this letter:

Read more...
 
Reject the Beazley proposal
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 03 November 2001

4 November, 2001

At the 2000 ALP National Conference, the Hon. Kim Beazley said: “We need a  process which gives all Australians a greater sense of ownership and genuine involvement in any proposal for a republic. As I have said publicly, this could be achieved with the three-step
consultative process which would begin with a plebiscite on the threshold question: Do we want an Australian as our Head of  State.  If a majority of people agree, a second plebiscite would follow to determine the preferred mode of selecting the Head of State. Finally, a
constitutional referendum would be held based on the outcome of the two plebiscites.”

Subsequently, in Perth on 7 October 2000, Mr. Beazley indicated the first plebiscite would be held in conjunction with the Federal election following his first term as Prime Minister. If Mr. Beazley were to become Prime Minister in 2001 in the normal course of events this would be in 2004.

Read more...
 
Lessons For Australia From Commonwealth Countries: The Pacific Region
Written by Justice Ken Handley   
Monday, 20 August 2001
 Print E-mail
 
 
Fiji


Fiji became an independent nation within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970 with a Constitution on the Westminster model which provided for a Constitutional Monarchy It was governed by the Alliance Party, led by Sir Ratu Mara, until the general election of April 1987 when a coalition of the Labor and Federation Parties led by Dr Bavadra, a Fijian, was elected. The Federation Party drew its support from the Indian community, while the Labor Party was supported by western Fijians and urban workers of both races. Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, a former Alliance politician, and a High Fijian Chief, was Governor-General.


Fiji for its size had quite a large Army, dominated by ethnic Fijians, and largely paid for by the United Nations which employed Fijian troops in Lebanon and the Sinai. On 14 May 1987, while Parliament was in session in Suva, Lieutenant Colonel Rabuka, in a bloodless military coup, arrested and detained Dr Bavadra's entire Cabinet. Colonel Rabuka suspended the Constitution, and declared himself the Chief Minister of an interim ruling council.

 

 

(Continued below)

 
Read more...
 
The Governor-General
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 18 July 2001
Last week (13 July) I questioned whether a Governor-General should be a sort of national guru, offering opinions on all sorts of issues. This seems to have begun with Sir Zelman Cowan, who coined a truly memorable description of the Governor-General’s role. This was, he said, one of “interpreting the nation to itself”. At first glance, this seems admirable. On reflection, I wonder whether it is appropriate. I do not think that previous Governors-General saw this as their role, nor do I think The Queen does. There is a time for the Governor-General to speak, but the themes must never be political. As I said last week, if this role of national guru is associated with the novel proposition that a Governor-General should have an agenda or even a platform, however worthy, it is wrong in principle. Why? Because a Governor-General should have no other aim than that of doing his or her duty – which is to act as the constitutional head of the Commonwealth or of a state. That in itself is onerous enough, without having an agenda. This is another reason for appointing a person who is distinguished but whose career has reached its end. The incumbent should not be ambitious for further office, otherwise his or her judgement could be affected by the desire to be appointed to some other office at some time in the future.
Read more...
 
Sir William Deane
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 12 July 2001

Sir William Deane, whose term as Governor-General ended on 30 June 2001 is by any measure a most distinguished Australian. He has been alternately praised and criticised for his passion for Aboriginal reconciliation and for the plight of the disadvantaged. Unfortunately, the republican movement tried to conscript him to their cause. An extreme version of this involved some journalists effecting a form of post-modernist beatification or canonisation, which no doubt embarrassed him. To his credit, he never once came out to promote the republican cause.

It was with some surprise that the high republican newspaper, The Australian, editorised against him on two recent occasions, saying he had exceeded the constitutional limitations on his office. This is more surprising because as The Australian would know, presidents of parliamentary republics are notoriously free of the conventions which invariably apply to the Governor-General here, or in Canada, New Zealand or the United Kingdom. It makes me think, yet again, that many of our republicans just don’t understand the dangers of the fire they are playing with.

Read more...
 
Queen's Birthday Stunts
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 05 July 2001
In recent editions of 'Hot News' we referred to that annual event, republican stunts staged for the Queen’s Birthday weekend. Obviously a lot of effort goes into these – a pity they didn’t put the same effort into developing just one workable republican model over the last decade.

One of this year’s stunts was that the Queen “return” the Tom Robert’s painting on permanent loan in Parliament House Canberra. What was truly remarkable was that someone persuaded the Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks
to join in and rush off a letter to The Queen demanding she “return” the painting.

Read more...
 
Republican Stunts
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 20 June 2001
The Queen’s Birthday brought out a series of republican stunts. One was the ownership of the Tom Robert’s painting, Federation. So we sent this letter to the Herald Sun, which has not yet been published, was a reaction to Premier Brack’s letter to The Queen requesting its return.
Read more...
 
The senator and the "last" Governor-General
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 10 June 2001

Surely it was all settled in 1999. Notwithstanding all the money, resources and propaganda that the new establishment used to browbeat the people – Australians clearly prefer their constitution to the alternative.

 And that was the best – and second model – that all the talent brains and money of the Australian Republican Movement could produce. They had a decade, and they had millions and millions of your – not their – money. But you can’t keep a good republican down. 

 Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, the Democrats new national leader, filed an opinion piece for Australian Financial Review, on 26 April 2001. It was provocatively headed “The Last Governor-General does not speak for contemporary Australia."

 The Financial Review published my letter in reply on 27 April. 26 April 2001:

"Sir,  

It must be galling for Senator Stott-Despoja (Australian Financial Review 26/4) that Australians overwhelmingly rejected the republic. Clearly for two reasons. The model for which she so vigorously campaigned had serious defects. In fact, she enumerated them in her powerful ten-page dissent to the parliamentary report on the Referendum Bill!

The other reason was, people couldn't see the need for change. Or as Malcolm Turnbull wrote in his diary, four months before the vote "we have Buckley's" chance of winning - nobody is interested.

When the Senator launched a Law Foundation paper on the referendum on 9 June 1999 at Government House Sydney, she startled the audience by asking why Australia had not become a republic?

After all, said the Senator, Canada had!

The Senator is equally misinformed in her belief that the Governor-General is responsible to the Queen of England. Not so much that there hasn't been a Queen of England for about three centuries!

The point is the Governor-General was not appointed by the Queen of the United Kingdom. He was appointed by The Queen of Australia.

This is a distinction of such importance that the High Court removed another Senator for not understanding this and not renouncing her allegiance to the Queen of the United Kingdom.

 In any event, having appointed the Governor General, The Queen cannot reverse any of his decisions, as was famously pointed out by the Palace in 1975. The point is that no one has yet devised any other system other than Australia's (and Canada's) which consistently ensures we have Heads of State above politics.

Yours etc,

David Flint "

 

The Senator has since maintained a discreet silence on the question of a republic.

 
The Australian editorialises for a republic
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 10 June 2001

Just after the announcement of the appointment of the new Governor-General, The Australian’s editorial returned to the question of a republic.

I responded with this letter;

"Sir,

I hope you will allow the following  response from Australians for Constitutional Monarchy to the very strong editorial in the 28-29 April edition.

You are right to editorialise (28-29 April) that we neither chose the new Governor-General nor indeed our Sovereign in the sense of electing them. But in 1999 Australians did indicate their overwhelming preference for our existing constitutional system. And this was against a strong campaign overwhelmingly supported and argued by our nation's rich new establishment.

 It is clear from the history of referenda that the Australian people will not allow any tinkering around with the constitution.

They are right in this, witness tinkering with the reserve powers in Sweden, and with the electoral system in New Zealand.

The point is that if Australians decide at some time to move to a republic - I stress if - they want two things. First, they choose the President and secondly the President have real powers - and not just in a crisis. How this would work with the Westminster system is anybody's guess. In that situation, the American system seems attractive - if you like wall-to-wall politicians, that is not only in the executive legislature but also in the judiciary. There is no leadership beyond politics in their system and the nation is consumed with adversary politics. That may seem very democratic, but there is an unanswered question about the US constitution. Why, unlike ours, has it never been successfully exported?

Yours etc,

 David Flint "

.

 
Keating v. Menzies
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 10 June 2001

In April, a wartime letter from Robert Gordon Menzies to our High Commissioner in London, Stanley Bruce was “found”. It formed the basis of an attack on one of the greatest and certainly most successful Prime Ministers.

Most of the letter had in fact been previously published.

Paul Keating, never backward when he can drag Menzies reputation down, thundered that this was proof of Menzies cowardly policy of appeasement.

That Menzies was an arch royalist no doubt explains much of Keating’s hatred – but both Curtin and Chifley were monarchists too. In fact Curtin recommended a Royal Duke as Governor-General!

I sent a response to this letter to the Sydney Morning Herald: 30 April 2001 :

Read more...
 
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