Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Julia Gillard...Republican?

No, no, no; not that kind of Republican. An advocate of Republican government, as opposed to a constitutional monarchy.

I don't have a dingo in this fight, but I'd be interested in hearing what my Australian readers have to say on the subject.

Update: Splendid comments, folks! Thanks for taking the time.


bruce said...

Changing our system of govt would be quite radical. For example Russia where there is a President and Prime Minister but who runs the country?

The Rep's here try to embarrass us minimalist conservatives by calling us 'Monarchists' ie 'Queen-lovers'. But it's not about this queen or even Charles who may succeed her - they have little real power anyway.

It's about not changing a system which works well.

'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

Skeeter said...

Having grown up with a picture of King George VI on my classroom wall, stood and sung God Save the King at the end of the pictures (movies) on Saturday afternoons, and served for 7 years in his daughter Elizabeth's Royal Australian Air Force, this elderly Australian reader says God Save the Queen and long may she reign over us.

Australian "republicans" should really be called anti-monarchists. They can't agree among themselves on what form an Australian "republic" would take or how the head of state would be determined if we abandon the constitutional monarchy.
That is why our referendum for a republic resulted in a No decision.
The anti-monarchists cannot point to a successful republic on which to model our new utopia. Apologies to my American friends, but no thinking Australian would tolerate a head of state having the level of power held by your President.

Ms Gillard wants us to "cut our ties with Britain". With just the tiniest bit of good luck, when we wake up next Sunday morning, Ms Gillard will no longer be Prime Minister and we will be able to cut our ties with her.
Let's encourage her to return to her birthplace and convince the Welsh to secede from the United Kingdom.

bruce said...

Rudd would love be President.

bruce said...


Rudd would love TO be President

TimT said...

Not surprised, but this is probably just another commitment to non-commitment from our dud Labor Government. Former Labor PM Kevin Rudd specialised in making grand-sounding promises that he would never have to be answerable for because he set a ridiculously long date on them. (For instance, 'we'll make a 50 per cent cut on carbon emissions by 2050'). This gave him several advantages - he sounded visionary, committed, got him headlines, and allowed him to avoid actually making pragmatic commitments that would happen while he was in power.

Gillard has said we should become a republic once the Queen dies. Well, whoop-di-do. The Queen Mother only died relatively recently, now how long is the Queen likely to stick around for? Another 10 years at least?

Gillard has no intention of doing anything on the Republic front. More of the same from Labor, then.

Merilyn said...

Feel that Julia wanted a "unicorn moment", [she learned well from the master Rudd], because she had been caught out in a lie [the no-notes at her launch], so came up with the old chestnut, the Republic.
Would not like Australia to become a Republic under Julia, she is to much of a communist bent.

Anonymous said...

In her wet dreams Comrade Julia (AKA the crimson commie cow) probably has in mind the Venezuelan republican model.

This is basically more of the usual lies, spin and bullshit this hopeless pack of wastrels vomits out in volumes that would make Mr Creosote (of Monty Python fame) blush.

Regrettably, it looks as if the worthless buggers are going to be returned.


Richard Sharpe said...

The Australian Republican Movement (as opposed to the US type) represents change simply for change’s sake. It is also a move towards greater power in the hands of politicians rather than the people. This may sound counter-intuitive. How does an Australian Head of State take power away from the Australian People? It goes something like this; in the current model, the Australian Head of State is the Queen of Australia, HM QEII. Her representative in Australia is the Governor-General, a position filled by a prominent Australian appointed by the Government. The role of the GG is largely ceremonial. They sign Bills into law but have no power to refuse to do so, swear in the elected government but have no say in the make-up of that government, dissolve Parliament at the request of the Prime Minister within the timeframes dictated by the constitution or at their own volition again within the constraints of the constitution, and most importantly, signed my commission on behalf of Her Maj. The only real power vested in the GG is to dissolve Parliament. This then requires a General Election to replace it. This has happened only once in our history, in 1975 when Whitlam’s Labor Government was in power. The GG dissolved both houses, and the subsequent General Election saw the Labor Party soundly thrashed. This still upsets the lefty set, and they have been actively campaigning for a change to the system ever since.

The great beauty of our system is that our Head of State lives in another country and is completely disinterested in the internal political machinations of both major parties (and the minor ones for that matter). Our Head of State is not a politician. She does not stand for election and therefore is not beholden to any agenda or promises made in order to hold the position she does. She has only one real power, to hold the Government accountable to the people. By contrast, an elected Head of State must by definition appeal to enough of the population to win an election. An elected President is therefore by default a politician with an agenda and desire to be in the job. If we had an elected President, executive power in this country would rest in the hands of a politician who may or may not be aligned to the Government of the day. This means that the Head of State would have an active interest in the success or failure of a political party, depending on what platform a President had run on to gain power. By contrast, the GG is an apolitical appointment, constrained by the Constitution to interfere only when governance has failed and with only one option when that happens – to go back to the people at a General Election. Power therefore rests with the people, not a politician.

By way of disclaimer, my oath to defend this country was made to HM QEII, her heirs and successors. I take that seriously.

Boy on a bike said...

The problem the republicans have is that they've never really worked out that you can't just replace the GG with a president. You need to create an entirely new system of checks and balances. The system we have now works well - it's had 100 years to bed in. If we are to have a president, then we also need to rejig the existing relationships between the judiciary and the parliament, because a new centre of power will create all sorts of instabilities before long.

mojo said...

I wouldn't want to be one of Crazy Charlie's subjects either.

Yojimbo said...

Sorta sounds like "republican" is the new "Collingwood".:)

Robert Blair said...

John Howard, a staunch monarchist, has said that Australia is unlikely to remain a monarchy under King "Barking Mad" Charles ...

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments here,but actually it is one of the few things to come out of the Ranga's mouth with which I agree.

Australia like many other Anglo colonies has developed into a stable and properous country under the system of a constitutional monarchy and with Queen Elizabeth as that monarch since 1952. I have great respect for the way she has kept her nose out politics.

The system seems to have worked fine through the few crises we have experienced and there is much affection for her in this country.

But when I think of that idiot son of her's being the Head of State of this country, I think it is time to seriously look into what other options we have and be ready to jump when she falls off the twig.


Paco said...

I think Australia should consider paquismo. I will gladly serve as benign despot for a reasonable fee (emphasis on "benign"), and will agree to be guided by a council consisting of Australian members of the Paco Enterprises Comment Academy. So, we're talking me, Skeeter, Robert Blair, Boy on a Bike and a few others. Should be a whole lot cheaper than monarchs and governor generals and senators and representatives, which means huge tax cuts right out of the gate.

Think it over.

Brett L said...

Republicanism sounds fine. Would that we would return to it in the US. We could start by repealing the 17th Amendment, and convincing people that state constitutions don't need to be amended at the drop of a hat to 1) provide a light-rail system between Orlando and Tampa or 2) rush in a constitutional ban on oil and gas drilling that is currently outlawed by legislation -- just to take two examples from Florida.

The whole point of a Republic is to insulate the government from the whim of the people, while bending to their will. So if you crazy Aussies want one, pick a better model.

Anonymous said...

I think you are onto something here Paco.

It would be modestly called the Peoples Australian Consubstantial Oligarchs

You would of course be required to wear a crown and ride in the back of an EH ute on state occasions.


Michael Lonie said...

If people are worried about King Charles III to come (and what can he actually do, besides make an ass of himself, since the monarchy has no actual power?) perhaps you could skip over him and go with King William V right off the bat. As for Charlie being an ass, if the monarchy could survive Prinny surely it can survive Charlie.

I'm not sure the Paco Administrative Committee of Oligarchs is such a good idea. What role will Wronwright play? Even if he's not an Aussie, he does control the Tardis, and that is likely to be significant. Anybody contemplating this innovation ought to take that into account.

Skeeter said...

Paco, your offer to lead us as benign despot is a splendid idea.
However, I should remind you that during our recent, aborted attempt to set up a Republic, Edward de Bono made us some offers that you might like to match.
He offered to take over from QE II as King of Australia, and thus allow us to continue as a monarchy without worrying about what might happen to Charlie. This would save us from the condiserable expenses of changing all the coats of arms, statues, signs, stationery and names of everything in the country that that has a crown or the word Royal in it. As the letters H M can stand for His or Her Majesty, even a gender change can be accommodated.
EdB's candidature was enhanced by the fact that he already owned a large and valuable island property off the coast of Queensland, and therefore was able to demonstate substantial and healthy Australian roots. As well, his independent means allowed him to offer his service to Australia without pay, although he did expect the usual retirement rewards.
I have a niggling memory that you have a heritage that allows you to claim most of Queensland.
It might be timely for you to now refresh us on that part of your family history.
Of course, a successful monarch must offer some certainty that his descendants will be fit and proper persons to continue the line of inheritance.
As I recall, Edward de Bono solved this problem by offering to hand over the Crown as soon as Australia had established a satisfactory gene pool. Perhaps we can convince ex-Tasmanian Princess Mary of Denmark to hand us over one of her lessser princes or princesses. She is expecting twins shortly so there will be plenty to choose from.

Merilyn said...

That's not a bad idea Paco, but you will have to bring a few from your country over to, sort of help with the administration.
Mick, keep forgetting about Charlie, but let's face it, he is very easy to forget.

mojo said...

Wow, Paco. Great idea!

Hey, can I be head of the Secret Service? I could call myself "M" and have all kinds of cool gadgets. Plus, I know lots of people who like guns, so we won't have any problems keeping the serfs in line... I mean, um, we'd be sitting pretty.

Yeah, that's it.

Old Sailor Man said...

"I think Australia should consider paquismo. I will gladly serve as benign despot for a reasonable fee (emphasis on "benign")," says Paco.

Bullshit Paco...emphasis on "fee" I will accept.

Paco said...

OSM: Heh! Saw through the smoke, eh?