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THE REPUBLIC: PROSPECT AND RETROSPECT April 23, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Multiculturalism.
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It is strange to reflect now that the decisive issue, a major turning point, in the the republican debate during the Referendum was whether the head of state was to be appointed by the parliament or the people.

If the Liberals win the next election on the balance of probability, the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberal Party are claiming the right to appoint the next President – I mean, of course, Governor-General. So much for the Royal mystique. There is apparently no magic about the appointment. It can now be admitted to be a perk of office, and it would invoke a constitutional crisis if the current government were to make the appointment.

ABC News reports that Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, was keen to deny any intention of appointing former PM, John Howard to the job:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has played down suggestions he would appoint former prime minister John Howard as the next governor-general.

The term of current Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, expires next March.

Mr Abbott has indicated he does not expect Mr Howard will be a candidate for the position.

“I have enormous respect for John Howard, but he served almost 12 years in a very difficult and demanding job and I think he’s really enjoying his retirement,” Mr Abbott said.

“I’m on the record as saying I think former military personnel and former judges by and large make the best vice regal appointments.”

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has warned Prime Minister Julia Gillard against making official appointments for the next term of government.

He says the prime minister of the day should get to appoint the Governor-General.

“This is a government that is desperate to have a hand coming out of the grave, to shape the future of Australia, sadly someone has to stomp [on] it and I think the Australian people will,” he said.

By the sounds of it, Tony Abbott might not be listed among the most diplomatic prime minister when his time comes to end his tenure, and even now that cannot come soon enough. He seems to be somewhat unconscious of what he says and implies. For example, witness his statement respecting who among us is best suited to be head of state. The Prime Minister’s prerogatives, which I believe have no constitutional basis at this point, could conceivably, as in the past, run into the royal prerogatives. Incidentally, for it is worth, I think the former Governor of Queensland has been good.

Senator Lisa Singh spoke to an adjournment debate in the Senate:

The republic is not, for me, about Our Identity. We should be past the identity problem. We are human beings; we live on planet Earth. The atmosphere and the ecosystem of which is a component is part of our global commons. I prefer to go back to the concept of res publica and implied notion of the common good. The fundamental social technology for a republic is democracy. We would thereby move beyond the political compromises that saw the restoration of the monarchy in England following the English Commonwealth. A baby step for an established democracy, rather than a conditioned, myopic and irrelevant nationalism, to deepens out links with other people in the world, including our neighbours.

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