Crayson’s complaints

Peter Crayson read the FAQs and has some criticisms of SA that have been passed on to me:


Peter Crayson: I think there are quite a few problems.  One of the risks is that its simplicity could lead to constitutional challenges regarding interpretation (especially of conventions such as the PM "writing" to all voters).  Another risk is that establishing a system of electing Governor-General without becoming a republic could actually result in complacency and possibly less enthusiasm for moving to a republic.  Another problem is that since this is not a true direct election (it's more of a referendum on choice of GG), it will be rejected by the majority of the population, who clearly favour a direct election.  Another problem would relate to the outcome of the confirmation vote – what if the vote is lost, or what if the vote is very low or a bare majority?  The legitimacy of the GG would then be in question.  A lost vote could result in a constitutional vacuum.  


    MP: I don’t think it’s possible to mount a constitutional challenge to a convention.  That’s supposed to be their virtue: not justiciable.  Of course, they are open to argument so if you have an argument please state it.   

    Less enthusiasm for moving to a republic?  Than now?  You’re kidding.   

    A majority of the population does not favour direct election.  Even its proponents only claim 65% of republicans.  Republicans form perhaps 70% of the electorate: .65 x 70 = 45%.  That is not a majority and any referendum for an elected president would be the mother of all bun fights, a veritable feeding frenzy of the “scare-mongers”.  It would probably lose but that is academic for such a referendum will never occur – see the “Elected Fantasy” post.   

    Support for direct election is not actually known.  When it is given out as the only option to a politicians’ republic 65% of republicans prefer it – but there is only the choice of these two options.  What support would be given with some sensible alternatives, no one knows.  There is no reason for supporters of direct election to vote against SA.  It doesn’t inhibit them.   

    If the vote for GG were lost it would be a big political issue; the PM would be politically finished and a new GG candidate must be put.  I don’t know what a “constitutional vacuum” is.   

    With, say, 51%, the legitimacy of the GG would not really be in question.  It is common for people to win elections narrowly; they are always thought legitimate.  (It’s when they win without a majority that legitimacy gets questioned.)  To be sure, the 51% would be compared with the previous candidate’s 85% or whatever, and certain conclusions drawn.  But that is the point, isn’t it?  It’s a republic and the people decide and a GG with only a narrow endorsement would be rightly conscious of it.   


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