Republicans slam Commonwealth.
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 23 January 2011

 

The republican movement has quite gratuitously slammed the Commonwealth of Nations as a “diminished organisation”, one unlikely to be anything other than a ”second order player”.

Responding to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary William Hague’s plans to return the Commonwealth to the forefront of the debate on global issues, republican spokesman Professor John Warhurst said the Commonwealth had been overtaken by the emphasis on bilateral relations and much newer, more relevant economic and security groupings.” (John Kerin, The Australian Financial Review, 21 January, 2011)

 

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...Commonwealth important...


ACM National Convenor Professor David Flint “Without British leadership, any attempt to reinvigorate the Commonwealth would b every difficult...though no doubt it would be stronger if Britain had not joined the European Union.”

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[ Meeting in 1949; Inida continues ]


He told the newspaper that in many respects the Commonwealth performed at a higher level than  other international organisations, and without the cost associated with them “

“ The Commonwealth maintains it standards. Take for example the case of Zimbabwe, which was suspended from the Commonwealth and then withdrew. Zimbabwe, notwithstanding the appalling record of the government remains a full member of the United Nations.  States with highly dubious human rights records can not only remain members; there are too may instances where they are actually appointed to bodies charged with investigating human right sviolations.”“

 

Countries are lining up to join the Commonwealth. It would be a mistake to think of the commonwealth in terms of CHOGM and the Commonwealth Games only, important as they are.  The Commonwealth is a continuing network of like minded countries with a common language and common traditions and values.


It is surprising that after the republicans’ serious error in not preparing members of the Commonwealth for the change in 1999 that they have not since bothered to try to understand what an important organisation is it and the great potential it has for Australia.



...Republicans totally unprepared about  Commonwealth membership in 1999....


 

During the 1999 referendum campaign, the republican Attorney General announce dthta change toa republic could not affect our membership of the commonwealth and no action was necessary in this regeard.ACM informed a surprised republican movement that the rules of the Commonwealth meant that should Australia become a republic it would  have to reapplying for membership.  Any other member would have had a veto.

(CHOGM agreed that this was the rule in 2007 and amended  it; I suspect the change is ineffective to stop a veto.)

We were surprised that no preparations whatsoever had been undertaken for this, for example, ensuring that all  governments were supportive.|



...republicans claim no Commonwealth rule exists – but the no-existent rule was  amended in 2007....



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[ Continued below] 

    Instead of acting on our advice the republicans became hysterical and declared that I was lying. They claimed no such rule existed.

But s the Secretary General confirmed in writing in 1999 that I was right.

 He said that when he received advice about a change to a republic , he would write to all Commonwealth governments “seeking their concurrence for the change...”

If just one objected, the application would fail. 

The republicans demonstrated they were not only negligent in overlooking this rule. They were also arrogant and untruthful in saying the rule did not exist. If it did not exist why di the Commonwealth try to change it in 2007?This is not the only occasion when the republicans have been careless and unprofessional in what is a very serious matter.  Australians would be well advised to be very careful in considering any of their half thought out proposals.