Australians won’t fall for a bandana republic

Australians won’t fall for a bandana republic, by Nick Cater.

Pollster Mark Textor predicts the [republican movement] will fail unless “blokey” men such as Australian Republic Movement chairman Peter Fitz­Simons step aside. …

The 1999 referendum was Brexit and Trump rolled into one, a popular call for common sense and a rebuttal of those presuming to be their intellectual betters.

The republic was revealed as an elitist obsession; the strongest predictor of the vote was education, not income or political allegiance. Blue-collar seats like Banks in Sydney’s west stuck loyally by the Queen while the toffs on Sydney’s north shore sipped expensive coffee salted with tears. …

Bill Shorten:

No political party that aspires to win the middle ground would willingly launch a second round of this contentious debate. Bill Shorten’s agenda, however, is determined by the urban sophisticates, to whom the former workers’ party now belongs. The Opposition Leader must feed their tragic addiction to ­causes, even at the risk of seeming remote.

Cooler heads in the republican movement know that a carbon-copy 1999 referendum would be certain to fail. …

Shorten’s solution is subterfuge. First will come a plebiscite with a high-level yes/no question. Should the result be “yes”, there will be a referendum to decide the type of republic.

Shorten appears to be immune to the charge of hypocrisy. For the record, however, he adamantly opposed the same-sex marriage plebiscite on the grounds of cost.

The offence in Shorten’s proposal, however, is not the unnecessary expense but the cheapness of his politics.

It avoids the hard work of persuading the public that a particular type of republic is better than a system that has functioned remarkably well since 1901.

It displays contempt for the intelligence of voters, who Shorten imagines he can fool with his ­duplicitous plan. …

Appetite for constitutional change can scarcely be detected, outside enclaves like the smug-drenched paddocks of the Byron Bay Writers Festival. …

That Australasia is one of only two continents never to succumb to tyranny or host a civil war is hardly unrelated to our institutions and the system used to settle civic disputes embodied in the constitutional monarchy.

The other continent, incidentally, is Antarctica.

Read it all.