SA in summary

Posted February 11, 2006 by Mike Pepperday
Categories: General

Under SA the people simply take over the sovereign’s task of appointing the PM’s candidate.  After pondering the comments to the previous post I thought it might it pertinent to post here the last item in the FAQ file which summarises the virtues of SA.   

Q.  In sum, what are the reasons people would vote for Sovereign Appointment? 
– It transfers sovereignty from the monarch to the people which is the proper way to become a republic. 
– It continues the system which has worked satisfactorily for 100 years whereby the GG is the agent of the sovereign appointed by the sovereign, and holds the sovereign’s authority. 
– The constitutional change is extremely simple
– It continues to exclude politicians from the selection of the head of state.  As a result: 
    – It makes the people sovereign without political power upsets
    – It has no effect on reserve powers or on other conventions so no “codification” is required. 
    – It preserves the dignity and predictability of the office of governor-general.
    – It clears the way for rational discussion of a republic. 
    – It has no effect on the prospects for any republic design
    – There is a prospect of real consensus.  About 70% of Australians favour becoming a republic but can’t agree on how to choose the president.  They would all agree with “Sovereign Appointment” for it does not alter power relationships and does not inhibit anyone from promoting their preferred model. 


The elected fantasy

Posted February 9, 2006 by Mike Pepperday
Categories: General

There will never be a popularly elected president in Australia.  For a referendum proposal to pass it needs the support of both political parties but the Liberal Party will never support an elected president.  Probably the Labor Party will not support it either but that is irrelevant.  The Libs won’t.  Never.  Under no circumstances. 
You get people – prominent people like top lawyers and former GGs – who will explain almost with tears in their eyes what a frightful disaster an elected president would be.  They could save their breath.  The pollies know it already and they won’t have it.  They won’t have it because they agree with the central terror of the fearful anti-electionists, namely that whatever the formal limitations they might slap on the president’s power, the national direct election will make the president a powerful politician and a rival to the PM. 
Of course that is precisely what is attractive to a broad section of the people: oh boy, a politician who is on our side.  But it’s a fantasy. 
Enthusiasts for direct election will point out that this or that Labor opposition leader said he was in favour of it.  If he did he was playing to an audience.  Just suppose a Labor leader got himself elected PM with a policy for an elected president (this is already a fantasy, by the way, but just suppose) then there would be some negotiations and said leader would sorrowfully announce that he did his best but sadly the Liberals refused to agree and everyone knows that a referendum without bi-partisan support is a waste of time so it’s all off.  The PM has escaped an elected president (as he knew all along he would) and scored a point over the Liberal spoilers who are preventing the people having their republic. 

All this of course is so predictably simplistic that it won’t come to pass. 

The middle ground

Posted February 8, 2006 by Mike Pepperday
Categories: General

For Australia to become a republic (ie terminate the monarchy), someone has to take over the Queen’s job of appointing the GG.  The well-known rival republican “models” are politicians’ appointment of the GG/president and popular election of the GG/president.  The first was attempted at the 1999 referendum; the second exists in the imaginations of the majority (probably) of supporters of an Australian republic.  These are the two ideas kept in front of the public.  Carefully kept there because although the politicians’ appointment model was rejected by the voters in 1999, the pollies would like to try it again. 

The propaganda has it that politicians’ appointment is “minimal” but this is untrue.  Both models are extremes.  The first is a process of secret dealings by a tiny clique of party power brokers; the second entails the wild hoopla of a national election campaign. 

The moderate middle ground is quite easy to find.  Read the rest of this post »