Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : Politics Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

 

 

PARLIAMENT - NOT THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC - OVERBOARD

In the Melbourne Age on 2 March 2002, associate editor Shaun Carney asked whether the Hollingworth affair hadn't blinded us to 'a far more critical debate'.

The following is an abridged version of an article I submitted to the Age Newspaper. They chose not to publish it:

 Had Shaun Carney (Age - Insight, March 2) stumbled across Chairman Mao's 'mass line' he might have found a way through the troubles of the Australian republic. When Mao talked of 'saying to the people clearly what they said to him confusedly' he captured the inherent failings of much that claims to interpret the collapse of ARM republic.

While many republicans now accept that a direct election model offers the greatest hope of bringing about a republic, too many republicans dream about what might have been. To argue, as Carney does, that Tony Abbott and his Monarchist mates were responsible for the 'no' vote is only partly true. Outside the rusted on Tory constituency there is not a sliver of interest in Abbott's view of the world.

Although there is overwhelming evidence that people want to elect their own president, many media commentators cannot cast off their antiquated paternalism and say they trust Australians with the vote. Rather than dwelling on the shortcomings of the 'no republic' case and Howard's role in its success, commentators should be trying to articulate what kind of republic it is that ordinary Australians want.

The 'no' vote in 1999 did not put an end to the debate nor doom the republic. In fact, the public debate in Canberra and the subsequent referendum only sharpened our understanding of what kind of republic we want. As Carney acknowledges, Howard has not won the real battle. With the Queen and Prince Phillip looking increasingly like some historical relic, and Howard's Governor General unable to meet community expectations, where does the PM go now?

Whereas Shaun Carney argues that Australians are indifferent to the head of state, nothing could be further from the truth. Indifferent to the Queen or some puppet plucked from the old boy network, yes. But not to the possibility of fashioning a role for a president that symbolizes modern Australia.

The young aspiring nation about which Shaun Carney talks can do better than leave the selection of the president to the parliament or its mates. Neither the cunning John Howard nor the swaggering Tony Abbott can save the Monarchy. The question is, can they and the minimalist republicans save the parliament from a president elected by the people. I hope not.

 

 

 

 

 


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