An embarrassing irrelevance
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Friday, 17 April 2009

The 2020 Summit was an irrelevant  embarrassment at the time, and even more so in retrospect. The Prime Minister declared that it would be a gathering of the “best and brightest.”  But attendance was rigged to ensure a Stalinist like 98% republican vote on the governance panel. Who would take that seriously?

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[ A Mad Hatter's Tea Party ]


Borrowing the words of the communist dictator Mao Tse-Tung, the Prime Minister predicted it would involve an exchange of important ideas. He said "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let the hundred schools of thought contend."

The Prime Minister’s choice of Mao is worrying. Mao’s hundred flowers movement led to half a million people being identified as "rightists.”  A large number were imprisoned, sent to concentration camps, tortured, or murdered.

Then the  Summit failed to address the global economic crisis, of which they seemed blissfully unaware. But Mr. Peter Costello (no friend of ACM since his sudden conversion to republicanism in 1998) had warned of its imminence in October 2004.

The Summit proceedings was so mismanaged the leading republican Professor Robert Manne likened it to a Mad Hatters Tea Party.  

Their key resolution was based on a basic misunderstanding of the constitutional system which should a constitutional law student would have easily identified.

This was that the first stage of becoming a republic would be  to end constitutional links with the UK. The most vestigial and consensual links were ended in 1986, The Queen herself providing a solution which had eluded our warring politicians since 1931.    When we pointed that out the organisers were so embarrassed they surreptitiously changed the record ten days later.



...final report well overdue...



A final report in response to the 2020 Summit recommendations was promised last year. According to media reports, the Government have been sitting on this since Christmas. Apparently they will slip something out soon, probably on a busy news day.

It is not hard to work out the reasons for the delay. Publishing it would remind everyone  how slow the Government were in seeing the crisis. And its Summit would be revealed for its all its irrelevance.

The   Government are expected to issue their standard response on the subject. This is  that change is not a priority. This confirms Mr Rudd’s declaration in London, discourteously made before seeing The Queen, that while Australia "will" become a republic that it is a low-order issue.

And in case the British missed his declaration of inevitability about something he can’t deliver, Mr Rudd went to London twice to deliver it.  No doubt it was aimed as a wedge to go through the opposition.