Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Australian republicans should put away the Champagne and the Chardonnay

Prime Minister Rudd calls for bi-partisan support on a new Australian republic, now that Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the republican side in the 1999 referendum, is leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in Oz. Can you say, wishful thinking?

r206663_788081The thing is, the membership of the Liberal Party, which Mr. Turnbull now leads, is still predominantly monarchist. David Flint, leader of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, is onto the new reality in a big way Down Under (the bold are mine):

"The accession of Malcolm Turnbull to the leadership of the Liberal Party, and thus of the Opposition, does not mean that the Constitution will soon be changed.

Mr Turnbull has made it very clear that the any move against that integral part of our constitutional system, the Australian Crown, is unlikely unless three conditions are fulfilled.

First, it cannot take place during the present reign.

Second there must be a consensus among republicans on the model. But almost a decade after the 1999 referendum, such a consensus is not even close.

Third the opposition must be minimal.

Opposition will be at least as great as in 1999, when over 50,000 volunteers worked to defeat that model.

There is one other matter. Mr. Turnbull is categorically opposed to the direct election of a president.

He is a very conservative republican.

The republican movement should put away their champagne, or indeed their chardonnay. They have nothing to celebrate in the fact that Mr Turnbull is now Her Majesty's Leader of Australia's Loyal Opposition.

This will in no way accelerate their agenda."


James said...

Ugh. Every time I see Kevin Rudd's face I can only think of him as a self-aggrandised, self-appointed saviour of the Australian people. In my eyes, that "I'm so happy to just be one of you" smile of his is just a cover for his delusions of grandeur. As David Flint, I think, put it after Rudd chose not to give his allegiance to the Queen as her prime minister: Kevin Rudd answers to no-one.

Bolingbroke said...

No kidding. Republican Rudd was just using the opportunity to rain on Turnbull's parade. He absolutely knew that he couldn't afford to declare war on Aussie monarchists, but he goaded him anyways.

Neil Welton said...

Surely the longer the Rudd waits, the more it plays to our own advantage.

For as Rudd slowly becomes increasingly unpopular over time, so will his rather "dud" policy of republicanism.

That is why republicans want him to "do a Blair" - that is, to call a referendum on constitutional change within months of taking up office (enabling him to cast all his opponents as "the usual suspects" who do not believe in a "new Australia" that is progressive, tolerant and fair).

It usually works as conservatives are often too dim to see it. This is especially true after an election defeat when conservatives are tainted and tend to "lurch to the Right" for the quick answers. That is why it is so important for monarchists to attack his republicanism policy. Whatever you do, do not attack Rudd personally or any of his other political policies (immigration, race and sexuality). For it will backfire and he will eat you.

However, I was most heartened by Lord Best's recent revelation that support for Monarchy in Australia (as in Britain) is increasing amongst young people - again plays to our own advantage in the much longer term.

David Byers said...

Rudd’s pathetic, transparent attempt to push a republic agenda and thus split the Liberal Party has backfired “big time” as they say. Mr Turnbull is obviously not going to fall for it and neither are the Australian public. In fact I believe Mr Rudd has hurt the republican cause by doing this.

Viscount Feldon said...

What irks me the most is that any national vote against a republic is never going to be seen as the last word on the matter. The republicans will always be expecting to have another vote a few years later, but if and when they do get their way the monarchists will be expected to accept it and shut up.

Lord Best said...

Republicans like to dismiss the Morgan poll showing low support for a republic amongst young people, but Morgan, despite its left bias, has proven to be the most accurate in the past few elections.
The simple fact is the republican movement is not ready for a referendum, the public do not care and Rudd is just using it as a wedge which is very dissapointing.
Whatever happened to ARMs pledge to disband after the 1999 referendum, regardless of the otucome? Maybe I imagined it, I was only 14 at the time.

Neil Welton said...

"The republicans will always be expecting to have another vote a few years later, but if and when they do get their way the monarchists will be expected to accept it and shut up."

Well spotted, Feldon. The same is true here in Wales and also in Scotland. They have one vote on devolution and then they want to have another vote on even more devolution less than a decade later. That's right, you've guessed it. By 2020 they then want to have another referendum on independence and the end of the UK.

One caveat - in some ways the greatest threat is from the Turnbull. Under his referendum, as in Tony Blair's referendum, it will be expected that supporters of his Party will back him (you know, my Party right and wrong and all that). This could then serve to reduce our votes.

Whatever way you look at it - there is a referendum. Though it be pleasing (as it now appears) that they both cannot agree (as republicans) on the best way forward for their cause. Some things never change.

Mind you, Her Majesty could still be with us in 2025. By which time - no Rudd. By which time - also no Turnbull. Funny that. The here today, gone tomorrow politicians.

Beaverbrook said...

The Queen will easily outlive Turnbull's turn at the helm, even if he lasts a decade in the job.

David Byers said...

"The Queen will easily outlive Turnbull's turn at the helm, even if he lasts a decade in the job."

Michael, this is exactly what I think might come to pass. Hope Turnbull does not go back on his word!

Shaftesbury said...

Loyalist Liberal - yes.

Conservative - no.

There is no such thing as toryism in Oz.

Lord Best said...

Turnbull will not be there a decade. The simple fact is he is not a good politician, he is not popular, he is not trusted, even by his own party. He may make it to the next election but I doubt he will win.

Andrew said...

I think that the elevation of Turnbull to the leadership of the Liberal party, whilst not a great thing, is a momentary blip on the republic radar (so to speak).

As a member of the Liberal party I cannot say that I am at all pleased by his election as leader; I personally would've preferred Dr Nelson to continue or Tony Abbott. However, as has been pointed out in various media reports here, the grass-root membership of the Liberal party is Monarchist. Turnbull will surely not seek to divide and destroy the Liberal party by using this issue. He may be an egotistical self-promoter, and a poor politician, but he can't be that foolish.

Rudd the Dudd was trying to use it to divide the Liberal' didn't happen. If the Lib's have any chance of regaining Federal government then they won't let Rudd's petty games divide them in public.

Besides that a republic in Australia is far from "inevitable". Even if we forget the fact that more and more Australian youth are becoming Monarchists, or are more likely to support the Monarchy over the alternative, the republican movement can't:

- explain what sort of republic they are hoping to force onto us (including the powers of the president, prime minister and government in relation to their current powers)
- explain how a republic is better than the Monarchy (and not fall back onto their usual "head of state" argument)
- explain how a republic will better the average Australian's life (and not just how it will better the politician's lives)
- explain how the transition will occur (simply replacing Governor-General and Queen with president in the Constitution is dangerous and won't work)
- tell us the truth about what they will do to our Flag
- tell us how much it will cost (to change, cost's of elections, cost's of the president and ex-president's) etc

Until they can explain to the Australian people all this (and the more explain it the more people will baulk at it) there will be no hope of a republic any time soon. And indeed when they do explain it there will be less of a hope. Sadly we will still have to hear the same old "head of state" and "independence" argument's.