Vive la Republique

The release yesterday of the John Kerr letters, and the confirmation biased interpretations of many, yet again reminded TAFKAS why he supports an Australian republic and why he believes we will never get on.

Yesterday’s release brought back, yet again, 2 particular things that particularly irk TAFKAS.  That Whitlam was a democratically elected Prime Minister and that he was sacked.

Whitlam was not a democratically elected Prime Minister; at least democratically elected in the generally accepted way.  And neither were Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull democratically.  They were elected to parliament by their local constituents and selected by the caucuses/party rooms of the group that had the majority in the lower house.  And this selected individual is recommended to Governor General to be commissioned as Prime Minister.

While Whitlam and these other not so talented executives were democratically elected to their seats, to suggest that their selection to be Prime Minister was democratic is just risible.  Apart from the obvious that the Senators who select the Prime Minister nominee are not themselves elected in the general accepted sense, the disproportionate role of the party factional heads in getting people into caucuses/party rooms is also far from democratic.

Further, whilst it would not be ideal, the Governor General does not need to take the recommendation of the party which holds the majority in the lower house when commissioning a Prime Minister.  This is the trick that good old republican Mal tried to pull when suggesting the Governor General should not commission Peter Dutton to be Prime Minister should the Liberal party room select him.

It is also not the case that Whitlam was not sacked, at least in a semantic sense.  He was demoted.  To be sacked implies you lost your job, income and were required to leave the building.  This was not the case for Whitlam.  What happened was that the Governor General terminated Whitlam’s commission and gave it to someone else.  Whitlam was demoted, Fraser was promoted.  This act of demotion/promotion was well within the purview of the Governor General.

But all this is history and the ramblings of, frankly, losers.  More timely is the incomprehensible incompetence and ignorance of the leadership of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) and why Australia is unlikely to get a Republic in the foreseeable future, if ever.  The ARM can’t agree on a model, and Peter Fitzsimons has had his head in too many scrums.

One of the essential issues for a Republican governing model is how the Head of State, President, selected in an Australian Republic, whether by general election or by bipartisan selection of the Parliament.

The model taken to the 1990 something referendum had the President selected by the Parliament.  This helped sink the referendum because many republicans, TAFKAS included, did not want or trust the political class to select the Head of State.  TAFKAS for one did not and still does not trust a cabal of self-serving and self-interested politicians to select the head of state.  If Australians are mature enough to have a republic, they are mature enough to pick their own head of state.

Yet Peter Fitz-knucklehead pretends his 2 stage approach will solve the problems.  No it won’t.

He wants to first have a yes-no plebiscite to become a republic and then a parliament selected-citizen elected referendum.  This will never happen, this will never work.

And this is why, much like quality of the laws our parliaments pass, demonstrates why our elites are not very elite and why Australia is unlikely to every have a Republican model of government.

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43 Responses to Vive la Republique

  1. Pyrmonter

    And may it continue. Gray Connolly’s suggestion elsewhere today that Fitz is in truth an undisclosed sleeper agent of the Deep Start elements of the court at Windsor is more credible than Jenny Hockings’ imaginings about Kerr.

    GSTQ

  2. Lee

    It doesn’t help the ARM’s cause that it is saddled with a very a divisive and ignorant Peter Fitzsimons as a figurehead.

  3. Kerr unilaterally made us a republic.

    He’s a hero.

  4. Professor Fred Lenin

    How does thw ARMchoose its spokesmen ( yes men .) not very good atvpicking the right people are they? I wouldnt let them choose the wine for dinner .

  5. Carpe Jugulum

    The great stumbling block with the ARM is they can’t give any reasonable pathway to have a president. Compounding this is they have no coherent reason why the status quo should change, (using the QE11 is a poopy head is not an argument it is student level agitprop)

    Happily, pirate pete will be mouldering in his unvisited grave knowing at the end his life dream was a waste.

  6. Carpe Jugulum

    Kerr unilaterally made us a republic.

    He’s a hero.

    He’s a hero but not for your reasons. He go rid of shitlam, a low level curruptocrat. Granted the replacement was underwhelming, but que sera.

  7. stackja

    Donald Trump could be the first Australian republic president in 2025.

  8. That would have Bandanaman bleeding from his eyes.

  9. Professor Fred Lenin

    No doubt the quality of political representatives will improve dramatically with a Peoples Decromatic Republic ,wont it ? If not ,why not ? If they remain the same type of tosser s they are today , why bother ?
    It would be an excercise in futility ,and another costly one .

  10. EllenG

    Tafkas nails this. My solution to the head if state issue is that we make PM head of state. In other words: what is the role when the UK head of state is removed?

  11. dopey

    The blocking of supply could happen again, no matter who was head of state.

  12. Boambee John

    EllenG
    #3514268, posted on July 15, 2020 at 7:31 pm
    Tafkas nails this. My solution to the head if state issue is that we make PM head of state. In other words: what is the role when the UK head of state is removed?

    My solution is that the PM/President is popularly elected by the nation voting as one electorate. He sits in the House of Reps, and selects a Cabinet, partisan or bi/multi partisan, from members of that House, and governs while the Cabinet has the confidence of the House.

    Should the Cabinet lose the confidence of the House, the PM/President has 30 days to select a Cabinet having that confidence. If unsuccessful, there is an imnediate double dissolution election.

    Senators cannot be Cabinet members, but operate to review legislation and hold ministers accountable for policies and expenditure.

  13. JohnL

    Donald Trump could be the first Australian republic president in 2025.

    Not “Australian Republic” but 51st state of the US of A.
    I wish!

  14. Professor Fred Lenin

    51st state ? Oh God No ! I dont think we want to be associated in any way with the dysfunctional mess the communists have made of US politics . Our mob are corrupt and useless but we at least know who they are can you imagine Australia with a pack of totally corrupt arrogant wankers like the US decromats?
    They would make our mobs few Aldi bags of cash look small potatoes you must be carefull what you wish for .

  15. NoFixedAddress

    As constituted, ultimate power resides in and with the Septemvirate of The High Court of Australia ™

    Even the Governor General is guided by its direction.

  16. Nob

    dopey
    #3514272, posted on July 15, 2020 at 7:36 pm
    The blocking of supply could happen again, no matter who was head of state

    And can be resolved by calling an election. Except Whitlam refused to call an election.

    What happens then?
    What happened in 1975 was that an unelected, but appointed by elected politician (Whitlam) , governor general forced an election to break the impasse.

    What would happen in a republic?

    I’d guess an unelected, but appointed by elected politicians, individual or body (High Court or whatever) would make the same decision.

  17. dopey

    Malcolm Fraser seems to be the forgotten man in all this carry on. At the time the left despised him as much as they did Kerr.

  18. Nob

    dopey
    #3514397, posted on July 15, 2020 at 9:13 pm
    Malcolm Fraser seems to be the forgotten man in all this carry on. At the time the left despised him as much as they did Kerr.

    “Kerr’s cur” they called him.

    Fraser, Reagan, Thatcher – these were all the left’s Antichrists.
    “Ditch the bitch” was a frequent chant heard at demos in the UK in the 80s. I know, I was there.
    Feminism, my arse.

    Now they try to pretend it never happened.

  19. Pyrmonter

    @ Boambee, @ Legalise. @ TAFKAS

    The answer to replicating the current finely balanced arrangement, if it is necessary, is to form a small college of electors – say the former G-Gs and the two most senior state governors, and allow them to vote on nominations by the PM. Anything more radical would inevitably erode the federal nature of the parliamentary compact by diluting the power of the Senate to refuse supply. Some radical leftists (Tony Abbott is one) wish to demote the Senate into nothing more than some elected version of the AAT. That will happen over the dead bodies of the last Tasmanian, South Australian, Western Australian and Queenslander.

    (States, it might be noted, whose governments have performed rather better at suppressing Covid 19 than NSW or the basket case south of the Murray)

  20. Infidel Tiger King

    Or we could keep the world’s best and most stable political system and start electing better politicians.

    1975 showed what a great system we had. It operated perfectly.

  21. a reader

    There is NO justification for an Australian republic. Kerr’s actions prove that. He played it exactly as he was required to do by the constitution

  22. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    In 1970, in a speech in the Senate, Senator Lionel Murphy claimed that the Labor Opposition had tried to use their and D.L.P. numbers over a hundred and thirty times, in twenty years, to block Bills in the Senate, and force the Liberal Government to the polls…

  23. Nob

    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
    #3514505, posted on July 15, 2020 at 10:33 pm
    In 1970, in a speech in the Senate, Senator Lionel Murphy

    I saw that yesterday and looked for the source – I don’t have much time to scutter around on the internet but what I found was Reg Withers moving to bock supply in 1975, and citing Labor’s previous defences of this tactic on several occasions, both by Murphy and Whitlam himself.

    Worth reading and listening to the speech extracts:
    https://whitlamdismissal.com/1975/10/15/withers-moves-deferral-of-supply.html

  24. Ed Case

    Labor were playing politics, challenging the DLP to vote with them.
    Anyway Whitlam himself had no issues about Fraser blocking Supply, at least he later said he didn’t, his issue was that he didn’t get a heads up from Kerr.
    The entire thing was dodgy, particularly Kerr’s condition that a Fraser Government initiate no inquiries into the Whitlam Government. To this day, there’s been no inquiry, yet the Hocking charade demonstrates the necessity of a Republic?
    Gimme a break.

  25. Entropy

    bJ

    Senators cannot be Cabinet members, but operate to review legislation and hold ministers accountable for policies and expenditure.

    This is probably do more to improve parliament that’s just about any of these other dreams. The only refinements I would be to reduce the number of senators to say, two or three per state (yanks only have two), to ensure they only have time for reviewing legislation and ministerial decisions.
    And my remaining, out there suggestion is that senators get randomly drawn out of a ballot of say, recently retired citizens for a three year term. Sorta like the Greeks back in the day.

    That will happen over the dead bodies of the last Tasmanian, South Australian, Western Australian and Queenslander.

    True. The mendicant states for sure. WA would probably prefer to succeed, as would northern Queensland.

  26. No, Kerr created the Australian Republic.

    He’s a great man.

    He told Gough and the monarchy to sod off.

  27. The answer to replicating the current finely balanced arrangement, if it is necessary, is to form a small college of electors – say the former G-Gs and the two most senior state governors, and allow them to vote on nominations by the PM.

    There’s no balance in the current system. It impliedly runs on Parliamentary support. The 1999 referendum model was actually a perfect analogue.

  28. Boambee John

    Entropy

    The only refinements I would be to reduce the number of senators to say, two or three per state (yanks only have two), to ensure they only have time for reviewing legislation and ministerial decisions.

    The barriers there are the requirement (IIRC in the Constitution) for states to have a minimum of six senators, and the concept, also in the Constitution, of senate numbers being approximately half the number of MHRs. There is also the issue of half senate elections.

    Change these? See Pyrmonter earlier:

    That will happen over the dead bodies of the last Tasmanian, South Australian, Western Australian and Queenslander.

    One way around that is to have more states, each with only six senators. Unfortunately, that does not meet your requirement to keep them too busy to be pests. It would also eliminate any real possibility of having senators not from the major parties.

  29. Iampeter

    One of the essential issues for a Republican governing model is how the Head of State, President, selected in an Australian Republic, whether by general election or by bipartisan selection of the Parliament.

    That is not an essential issue for a Republican governing model.
    The Australian Republican movement and it’s supporters don’t seem to understand what actually is essential.
    This is why you will not get a Republic and it’s probably for the best.

  30. Careful what you wish for before you dismantle one of the most successful political systems in the World.
    A head of state has, or has the potential for, enormous powers, especially if he is elected by the people.
    Those powers can be turned against the people very very quickly. There are endless examples.

    When Turkey became a republic in the 20’s, the president had limited powers and duties. This went well for 80 years while all the presidents upheld conventions.
    Then came a very popular islamist, who used that popularity to gather more and more power and authority for himself. Now he is a tyrant that only violence can remove.

    Same in Russia with Putin. President for a while, then Prime Minister. Then transfer of powers from PM to President and now he is a life long dictator.
    Lots of other examples.

    Many British Commonwealth nations recognise this potential gathering and abuse of power. So they took those powers and put them in the hands of a sovereign who resides half way around the World and who would never use those powers against the people. SMART MOVE.

    Just because a bunch of virtue signaling elites want to be able to appoint a disabled transgender lesbian aboriginal as head of state doesn’t mean we should dismantle a terrific and safe system.
    Bandana head can get fvcked.

  31. Careful what you wish for before you dismantle one of the most successful political systems in the World.
    A head of state has, or has the potential for, enormous powers, especially if he is elected by the people.
    Those powers can be turned against the people very very quickly. There are endless examples.

    When Turkey became a republic in the 20’s, the president had limited powers and duties. This went well for 80 years while all the presidents upheld conventions.
    Then came a very popular eezlamist, who used that popularity to gather more and more power and authority for himself. Now he is a tyrant that only violence can remove.

    Same in Russia with Putin. President for a while, then Prime Minister. Then transfer of powers from PM to President and now he is a life long dictator.
    Lots of other examples.

    Many British Commonwealth nations recognise this potential gathering and abuse of power. So they took those powers and put them in the hands of a sovereign who resides half way around the World and who would never use those powers against the people. SMART MOVE.

    Just because a bunch of virtue signaling elites want to be able to appoint a disabled transgender lesbian aboriginal as head of state doesn’t mean we should dismantle a terrific and safe system.
    Bandana head can get stuffed.

  32. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Any so called republic we get foisted on us (and make no mistake, like homosexual marriage, it eventually will be), will inevitably be inferior to our current system of government – which is unfortunately functioning in a less than ideal manner given the useless idiotic corruptocrats that two thirds of the electorate insists on voting for.

    That is why I am currently a reluctant defender of the status quo. However, once HRH Betty Windsor departs this earthly realm I will become a rabid republican as anyone who follows her onto the throne will be an irredeemable inbred imbecile and hypocritical posturing collectivist – most notably Chilla “the tampon” Big Ears.

    Look out FitzSimians or whoever follows you as head of the ARM, when that occurs. You’ll be very quickly consigned to the nearest garbage skip I can locate.

  33. Tim Neilson

    That is not an essential issue for a Republican governing model.

    OK, we’ll have a “Republic” where the head of state is a Governor General appointed by the reigning monarch of the UK.

    Problem solved.

  34. Pyrmonter

    @ Tim Neilson

    David Solomon suggested as much in the 70s in ‘Elect the Governor-General’. It is referred to dismissively by Kerr in a letter to Charteris in August or September of ’75.

  35. Karabar

    “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them”.
    George Orwell

  36. Careful what you wish for before you dismantle one of the most successful political systems in the World.
    A head of state has, or has the potential for, enormous powers, especially if he is elected by the people.
    Those powers can be turned against the people very very quickly. There are endless examples.

    There is nothing to dismantle.

    The Queen has no power to refuse any request by the PM or GG.

    We are a republic in all but name. It is absurd that judges wear 17th century frocks, the Queen could well be an effigy or a grandfather clock.

    Also as state legislative powers are abused and the High Court runs away from plain meaning application of the constitution, we should be wary of any idea that *we have the best constitution in the world*. That had never been true. So much of your rights now are underpinned by human rights law and indirectly by judicial independence.

  37. Bob

    I almost feel sorry for Peter FitzKnucklehead.
    This was his last great hope at emerging from behind the voluminous skirts of his voluminous wife, whose connections have kept him employed for years. As a member of the illiterati, that propped him up beyond any reason.
    But now – like Joe Biden eyeing-off a bottle of Adderall pills to mask his dementia – Peter FitzK. thought these letters were his ticket to fame. They turned out to be a nothing-burger. Which is rather apt, as that word will surely be the epitaph of that faux-Leftist buffoon.

  38. Pyrmonter

    @ Legalise

    Our constitional arrangements are imperfect; but the faults don’t lie in the relation between the federal executive and the bi-cameral legislature.

  39. The BigBlueCat

    With the release of “The Keer Letters” the 1975 “Constitutional Crisis” is now no longer a compelling reason to move to a republican democracy (if it ever was) – our effective head of state is the GG, who represents the Queen of Australia (who is also the Queen of England and other British Commonwealth nations) – a Queen that has no executive power over Australia.

    What model is the ARM offering? What are their reasons? Fitzsimons has had his bandana on too tight for too long. Unless and until the ARM puts forward a model that is somewhat acceptable to enough Australians, we will stay the way we are. But if the ARM model means a comprehensive overhaul of the Australian Constitution, I fear there will be (more) fighting in the streets …. and for what?

  40. Bar Beach Swimmer

    Spurgeon Monkfish III
    #3514757, posted on July 16, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Any so called republic we get foisted on us (and make no mistake, like homosexual marriage, it eventually will be), will inevitably be inferior to our current system of government – which is unfortunately functioning in a less than ideal manner given the useless idiotic corruptocrats that two thirds of the electorate insists on voting for.

    That is why I am currently a reluctant defender of the status quo. However, once HRH Betty Windsor departs this earthly realm I will become a rabid republican as anyone who follows her onto the throne will be an irredeemable inbred imbecile and hypocritical posturing collectivist – most notably Chilla “the tampon” Big Ears

    Unlike the homosexual marriage plebiscite, any change to the Constitution requires a compulsory vote by all Australian electors and what in effect is a fail safe mechanism, that of a double majority: a majority of electors in a majority of states.

    (Btw the Queen’s title is not HRH, it is HM).

    As to the ascension of the next heir, Prince Charles has been apprenticed for the role for decades and has his mother as exemplar and his royal forebears as touchstones to guide his behaviour and demeanour. I doubt he’d be happy to be remembered as another George III losing the American colonies or his namesake Charles I demanding absolute power over the parliament and the people, both of whom were not modern constitutional monarchs.

    While he may not have the Queen’s level of support and love in the community yet, that will grow as has the Queen’s over her reign. Add to that the clear line of succession to William and then George, I think our constitutional monarchy is in good health. And so far the ARM has taken a trick!

  41. Tim Neilson

    Bar Beach Swimmer
    #3515434, posted on July 16, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    I’d like to think so BBS.
    But Charles has had about 70 years to master the art of non-self-beclownment (a simple matter of not shooting his mouth off about issues which a Royal shouldn’t butt into) and has yet to attain basic competence at that discipline.
    Perhaps when he’s in the big chair he’ll experience a transformation. I certainly hope so.

  42. Bar Beach Swimmer

    Tim Neilson @ 7:45pm
    Perhaps when he’s in the big chair he’ll experience a transformation. I certainly hope so

    Tim, it was quite remarkable to see Bill Hayden go from a confirmed republican to understanding and having real regard for the current arrangements when he became the GG.

    Prince Charles should have much more of an understanding of his current and future roles to think that all will be ok. And as I said, above, does he really want to be equated with those earlier incumbents of which I spoke.

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