Australia in 2007 to become a Republic?

Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 07:11 am
'The Australian' reports that Labor Party leader Mark Latham has set out an aggressive timetable for Australians to vote as soon as 2007 to become a republic under a reform program offering voters the chance to transform the Constitution and usher in a directly elected president. The opposition leader favors a direct election for the president but does not believe a constitutional convention is necessary:

Latham offers a vote on republic
By Emma-Kate Symons and Steve Lewis

MARK Latham last night set out an aggressive timetable for Australians to vote as early as 2007 to become a republic, under a detailed reform program offering voters the chance to transform the constitution and potentially usher in a directly elected president.

If Labor won government, a plebiscite would be held 12 months into office asking voters whether they wanted a republic. If the answer was yes, a second plebiscite would be held a year later asking voters to choose their preferred model with a a referendum scheduled for the federal election at the end of Labor's first term.
The Opposition Leader, who favours the direct election of a president, said: "I don't want a constitutional convention or Malcolm Turnbull telling us what to do."

"If we're going to have an Australian president personally I think we should be directly electing that person. The president would belong to us and the people would have a say about that.

"It will be up to the people to decide which model they want but my own personal view and vote would be for direct election of an Australian president."

But David Flint, national convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, hit out at Mr Latham for choosing a plebiscite model instead of an initial referendum.

Professor Flint accused Mr Latham of a "abdication of leadership".

"If he wants a republic he should say this is the sort of republic I want," he said.

"It is silly for him to flop around. I think it's a waste of time going through the plebiscite to do this."

The Australian Republican Movement last night backed Mr Latham's ambitious timeframe. ARM national chairman John Warhurst said he was "absolutely delighted" and he believed Australians would strongly support Mr Latham's approach.

"It's an issue that is popular with a lot of people," Professor Warhurst said.

"The broad thrust of what he is saying is in tune with what the ARM believes."

In 1999 a referendum on the republic was defeated when Australians voted against the model of a two-thirds majority of parliament to select the president. Mr Latham set out his timetable in a voter's forum with electors from the marginal seat of Macarthur, in Sydney's outer south-west, which will be broadcast on SBS tonight.


The Australian Constitution

Infos about Mark Latham (via the Australian Labor Party website)
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Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 07:42 am
Oh, I do hope so.....heard a quick report on the way home - but didn't hear why it was back on the agenda...

Hope the damn Prime Minister isn't Machiavellian enough to sabotage it this time..
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