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.