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

 

 

 

 

WALEED ALY - 2006

SOUNDING LIKE AN ARM FOOT SOLDIER

TOO SCARED TO TRUST THE PEOPLE?

On Wednesday 22 March 2006, Waleed Aly wrote a piece on the opinion pages of the Melbourne Age newspaper

This is a very brief reply:

Why is it so difficult for commentators to grasp the deeper issues in the republican debate? The debate isn't about symbols. It's about the fabric of the body politic. Waleed Aly glibly ignores this question and offers a trite piece of analysis.

That Australians have voted referenda down is not necessarily a sign of conservatism or ignorance. It's a product, many argue, of a considered scepticism about the centralising of power. The conscription plebiscites - 1916/1917 failed for this very reason. The referendum on responsibility for aboriginal affairs went the other way because Australians probably considered it an appropriate centralising of power.

Billy Connolly recently observed on the ABC's Andrew Denton show, Enough Rope, that most outsiders thought of Australia as a republic. Denton was in the midst of trotting out the standard line, 'Australians were too scared to vote for a republic'. It was typical of the condescending mantra of the urban intelligentsia, a class whose ranks is bloated with individuals who appear to have no grasp of why people voted no.

If we extrapolate from Connolly's view we might better grasp the nature of the problem. The argument about symbols failed because it offered nothing bar the centralising of power. It wasn't minimalist; it involved the people abrogating their sovereignty.

What would Waleed Aly have people of democratic persuasion, do? Accept a republic that hands the appointment of the president to a parliament besmirched by branch stacking and the imprint of warlords? A parliament where one party controls

Listening to Malcolm Turnbull on 10 May 2013.

Will these Andrew Dentton, Bryan Brown et al vote for a directly elected president?

both houses?

Is it too much to accept the election of a president, without executive powers? A large slab of the urban middle class/intelligentsia is comfortable with an appointed president. Even a modest grasp of history and the forces of social connection and influence would enable a person to understand why. For obvious reasons, those outside the epicentre want more.

There is a republican gathering in Canberra on 1 April 2006, which includes ARM and direct election republicans. Progress is possible. It is possible to have a president without executive powers - Ireland.

In any case, are GGs apolitical? Has the current GG weighed into political debate? Should the president be nothing more than a ribbon cutter? Can we get the republic we want?

 


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