Constitutional Monarchy

About this Item
SpeakersForsythe The Hon Patricia; Dyer The Hon Ron; Nile The Hon Elaine; O'Grady The Hon Paul; Gay The Hon Duncan
BusinessBusiness of the House


Debate resumed from 19th March.

The Hon. PATRICIA FORSYTHE [10.34]: When this debate was adjourned I was discussing the fact that the concept of constitutional monarchy has served Australia well throughout this century. I am reminded of the following words of Sir Robert Menzies in his book Afternoon Light:
      The creation of a republic does not make complete independence more independent. Why should people think it does?

There is no doubt that Australia is in every sense a completely independent country. Those of us who endorse the concept of constitutional monarchy do so from the premise of love of this country and a feeling of pride that is in no sense diminished because we are a constitutional monarchy. One could well ask: has being a constitutional monarchy in any way held Australia back? The answer is no. I said last week that the argument that Australia's being a constitutional monarchy explains our economic position, international trade and international standing has no validity. Certainly, it has not been a barrier to Australia being chosen as home by millions of people from across the world throughout this century. I am very pleased that they have chosen Australia. We are a far richer society today than even a generation ago. Our strength lies in our diversity and in our capacity to absorb much from the cultures of migrants. But in absorbing new ideas and new ways and in extending and diversifying our culture Australia should never deny its history or its British origins. For that matter, nor should we deny our Aboriginal heritage.

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Unashamedly, in our legal and bureaucratic institutions and language, we are the product of our settlement and our development. It makes no more sense to take out one element, that is, the monarch, than it would to seek to change all our institutions. Last night 87,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and millions more watching television had no difficulty identifying with another great colonial hangover. However, no one is seriously suggesting that we cease to play cricket because it is the direct product of our colonial settlement. To use the words of the Hon. Franca Arena, the monarchy is no more a colonial hangover than most of our institutions. The honourable member spoke of modifying our British heritage to construct a new identity. I wonder whether she would be willing to advocate the introduction of a new legal system or a new language for Australia. They too would give Australia a new identity. That is not the agenda. The agenda is not about giving Australia a new identity; the agenda has everything to do with 1975. It is the last hurrah of the Australian Labor Party in responding to the demise of the Whitlam Government.

I acknowledge that at a personal level the Hon. Franca Arena may see the republican movement as being about her own identity within a multicultural Australia, but she and others who see it in terms of multicultural Australia are being used by those whose goal it is to see the power of the Governor-General destroyed for ever. The Hon. Franca Arena said that the role of the republic's president would be purely ceremonial. In other words, the president would have no reserve powers and no capacity to put a brake on government excesses. The checks and balances inherent in the Westminster system would be lost. The honourable member spoke of the president having no more power than the Governor-General. In truth, the republicans will want the president to have less power. If present powers were retained, the president would have more than the ceremonial powers which the honourable member identified in her speech. Worse still, the president would be elected by a joint sitting of both Federal Houses of Parliament and would be under the control of the Federal Government. The president would not be above politics. The Westminster system would be weakened. I support this motion because I support the Westminster system as the most appropriate system of government in all its diversity.

I disagree with the assertion of the Hon. Franca Arena that the republican movement does not threaten our parliamentary democracy. The existence of the Governor-General's reserve powers is vital to our democracy. I reject the arguments put forward by the Hon. Franca Arena on behalf of the republican movement not merely in their substance; I reject the notion that a group of people, having formed themselves into the so-called republican movement, have the right to present to the rest of us their agenda as some sort of fait accompli. We have been treated to the argument that a republic is somehow more democratic. I hope the republican movement realises that to present Australia with its agenda is anything but democratic. Indeed, it is the very antithesis of democracy. It smacks of autocracy. It is no wonder that the majority of Australians endorse the present system. It is not that those of us who support constitutional monarchy fear change. We support the monarchy and we support this motion because such change would not be effected simply and calmly. Rather there would be division, trauma and disruption. Such a change would be fundamental to our society. It is not simple.

The Hon. Franca Arena in her speech said that the republic's president would be an Australian citizen. I wonder how she would feel, for example, if Australia, should it decide to become a republic, then decided to adopt the United States of America model, where to be the President one must be born in the United States of America. Her whole argument has been predicated on a president that fits the movement's model. But since she and the movement talk so much about democracy, she and the movement must
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acknowledge that the will of the people may interpret her model of an Australian citizen to mean only Australian-born. This could indeed happen. I wonder whether her enthusiasm for republicanism would wane should that happen. This motion is positive and constructive and deserves the support of all honourable members. I support the motion.

The Hon. R. D. DYER [10.42]: The Hon. J. M. Samios has moved that this House affirms its support for constitutional monarchy as essential to our Westminster parliamentary system and the stability and cohesion of our multicultural society. On behalf of the Opposition I move:
      That the Question be amended by the omission of all words after "House", with a view to inserting instead:

(a) recognises and respects the historical role played by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her predecessors in the government of New South Wales and the Commonwealth of Australia;

(b) notes that the Australia Act 1986 effectively severed the remaining legal links between Australia and the United Kingdom;

(c) believes that, with the changing character of Australian society, republican sentiment has grown to such an extent that it is probable that a majority of Australians will desire Australia to become a republic;

(d) notes that as a republic Australia can still remain a member of the Commonwealth recognising the Queen and her successors as Head of the Commonwealth; and

(e) notes that these Constitutional issues can be resolved democratically at a referendum of the people of Australia.

The Hon. J. F. Ryan: Treason!

The Hon. R. D. DYER: I thought at first that the Hon. J. F. Ryan said, "Reasons". I assure the honourable member that I shall be giving reasons, but I am certainly not guilty of treason.

The Hon. J. H. Jobling: That depends on who the judge is.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: I would always expect to be judged fairly and in a court of competent jurisdiction, where I am sure I would be adjudged not guilty of treason. As a starting point I wish to attempt a definition of republic. I note that the Oxford English Dictionary defines a republic as "A state in which the supreme power rests in the people and their elected representatives or officers, as opposed to one governed by a king or similar ruler; a commonwealth". The second part of that most interesting definition uses the expression "a commonwealth". This nation of ours is known as the Commonwealth of Australia. Dr George Winterton, Associate Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, writing in the Melbourne University Law Review in June 1988, noted that the word commonwealth itself has republican connotations. It is perhaps a loose English translation of the Latin etymon of the word republic - res publica. Dr Winterton further notes that the term Commonwealth has been used by several republics including the republic of England under Oliver Cromwell. Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile often refers in his utterances to an "atheistic socialistic republic". No one could say that Oliver Cromwell, who was a puritan, presided over a republic that was either atheistic or socialistic.

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Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: Oliver Cromwell is not here in Australia.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: Indeed, Oliver Cromwell is not here in Australia. Apart from there being a republic in Britain in former times, the word commonwealth is used currently to describe various States in the United States of America: for example, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The Hon. Franca Arena: Those States are not atheistic or socialist.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: As the Hon. Franca Arena has said, none of those manifestations could be described in any respect either as atheistic or socialist. The argument dragged up by Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile that a republic would be socialist and atheistic is a red herring.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: That is right, red: R-E-D.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: A republic is a form of government. It has nothing to do with the particular colour of the politics of the country in question. No honourable member, including Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile, could suggest that the United States of America is either atheistic or socialist.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: It is based on Christian principles. Your republic would not be based on Christian principles.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: How do you know? The whole future shape of Australia's Government and whether or not it will be a republic would be decided by the people, as stated in my amendment, at a democratically conducted referendum of the people of Australia. I shall trace through the elements of my amendment to explain why I have moved the amendment in the form presented. The first aspect of the amendment is that the Opposition seeks to give expression to a recognition of our respect for the historical role played by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and for that matter her predecessors as sovereign, in the government of New South Wales and the Commonwealth of Australia. The Opposition unquestionably has great respect for Her Majesty and her predecessors. That is not a matter for debate, in the view of the Opposition. However, progressive development has occurred in the constitutional history of both this State and the Commonwealth of Australia. For example, last century New South Wales moved first to representative government then, a little later, to responsible government. They were major steps forward in the constitutional progression and development of this State.

The developments in this State last century were followed by Federation in 1901, when the Australian States, by agreement among themselves, agreed to federate and become one Commonwealth of Australia. That also was a momentous step and that was by no means the end of the matter. In 1931 the Statute of Westminster was enacted, another major development and progression in the constitutional history of both Australia and New South Wales. In 1908 - quite recently - the Australia Act 1908 was enacted by the Federal Parliament. Complementary legislation was enacted by the Parliament of New South Wales, the Australia Acts (Request) Act 1985. Both of those enactments of the respective Parliaments of the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales had the effect of bringing constitutional arrangements affecting the States of Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia into conformity with the status of the Commonwealth of Australia as a sovereign, independent and Federal nation.

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The essential purpose of that legislation was to terminate the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to legislate for Australia, which had been a remaining power available to the Imperial Parliament in regard to the States, as distinct from the Commonwealth, right up to the enactment of that legislation in 1985 and 1986. That is the last important constitutional development affecting the State of New South Wales to which I can make reference. The Opposition believes that there is a developing change in sentiment in Australia as to what the future constitutional arrangements in this country should be. Government members appear to believe that there is a prevailing sentiment that the existing monarchical arrangements should remain in place. The Hon. J. M. Samios and the Hon. Patricia Forsythe have given expression to that point of view. Admittedly, to this point there has not been as referendum dealing with the precise issue. However, opinion polls from time to time have indicated a continuing trend - I emphasise the word "trend" - towards a desire that Australia should become a republic.

The Hon. J. M. Samios: The last poll was meaningless. Nobody was consulted as to the form of the questions.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: Before the Hon. J. M. Samios gets too excited I say that the Opposition by no means rests its whole case on opinion polls. The very last element of the amendment that I have put before the House is that we believe that a referendum of the people, democratically conducted, can ascertain what the wishes of the Australian people are. That is the important point: that people can decide. What is there to be afraid of? After all, this is a democracy. What more important question could there be for the people to decide at a referendum? I shall refer to only one poll, the Saulwick poll published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 29th February, only about a month ago. There was a preface to the questions as follows:
      There has been some talk over recent years about whether Australia should become a republic. Which of these statements comes closest to your views?

Three propositions were put to the people as part of the poll. The first question or proposition was:
      I would prefer Australia to remain in the Commonwealth with the Queen as head of State.

What could be fairer than that? There is no loading there. The second proposition was:
      I would prefer Australia to remain in the Commonwealth but as a republic.

It is asking whether people wish to remain in what used to be called the British Commonwealth, now the Commonwealth of Nations, but to remain within it as a republic. The third proposition was:
      I would prefer Australia to become a republic outside the Commonwealth.

Three clear, unvarnished propositions were placed before the people. They did not have any bias within them. The result of the poll was that a total of 57 per cent of people said that they would prefer Australia to become a republic. It is interesting to note that when a similar poll was conducted in 1988 only 45 per cent of people were of that view.

The Hon. Franca Arena: Still, 45 per cent was a big proportion then.

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The Hon. R. D. DYER: Yes, only slightly less than one-half of the population. Now 57 per cent of people would prefer Australia to become a republic, either remaining within the Commonwealth or being outside the Commonwealth. Most people who expressed themselves as being in favour of a republican option said that Australia should be a republic within the Commonwealth - 42 per cent. A further 15 per cent had a preference for Australia being a republic outside the Commonwealth.

The Hon. J. M. Samios: But how many times have the political polls been wrong?

The Hon. R. D. DYER: As I said, the Opposition does not rest its whole case on the outcome of a poll.

The Hon. J. M. Samios: It is an aberration.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: Far from being an aberration, it is a clear indication of a trend in one direction. The proportion in favour of Australia becoming a republic in one form or another has increased from 45 per cent in 1988 to 57 per cent this year.

The Hon. Franca Arena: Ask the children in the gallery whether they want a republic or a monarchy.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: Unfortunately, I cannot ask the children in the gallery because the forms of the House do not permit me to do that, but I would be very interested to see the outcome of a show of hands.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: A secret ballot would give a bigger result.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: I will not argue whether it should be a secret ballot. I would like an immediate result to see what the attitude of the schoolchildren might be. I do not have much doubt about what their attitude would be - by a substantial majority.

The Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith: You brought them in for this purpose.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: No, I am quite innocent of that suggestion. There is a surge of public sentiment in favour of a republic which has been reflected from time to time in opinion polls.

The Hon. J. M. Samios: The schoolchildren are leaving. That is how impressed they are with the argument.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. R. D. Dyer has the call.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: I thought the children were listening with great interest to the proceedings. No doubt they are leaving the gallery because they have to visit another place. They are certainly not leaving in disgust. I can see smiles on their faces. The next element of my amendment is that I note that as a republic Australia could still remain a member of the Commonwealth recognising her and her successors as head of the Commonwealth.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: Like Pakistan.

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The Hon. R. D. DYER: The Hon. J. R. Johnson says, "Like Pakistan". I have a long list of Commonwealth nations which are republics but which, notwithstanding that, recognise Her Majesty the Queen as head of the Commonwealth. The list is as follows: Botswana, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Dominica, Ghana, Guyina, India, -

The Hon. R. J. Webster: Never heard of it.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: The Minister for Planning and Minister for Energy says, "Never heard of it". Has he never heard of India - one of the largest and most populous nations on earth?

The Hon. D. J. Gay: We are talking about Australia.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: We are talking about Australia, but it is suggested that if Australia becomes a republic in some fashion we will entirely cut the painter with the Queen and with some irresistible and devastating effect. I will complete this list of nations within the Commonwealth that are, in fact, republics. The list continues: Malta, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe. There are 21 Commonwealth countries within what used to be called the British Commonwealth, now the Commonwealth of Nations, which are republics recognising Her Majesty the Queen -


The Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith is apparently upset about the fact that some of these nations might not be as democratic as Australia is. But that certainly could not be said about some of those nations. To take one example, Malta has just held an election, and the political soul mates of honourable members opposite won that election against the Malta Labor Party. That is a shining example of democracy in practice. I do not agree with the result but it was certainly the expressed will of the electors of Malta. Malta has had a long association with Britain. In fact, as a result of the valour of Malta in the second world war the George Cross was conferred on that island nation as a collective entity. It cannot be suggested that the Maltese are violently anti-British; far from it. Notwithstanding that historical record, Malta is a republic within the Commonwealth recognising the Queen as head of the Commonwealth. To take another nation from that list, India - a nation of hundreds of millions of people.

The Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith: Very stable.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: It is interesting that the Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith makes that mocking interjection, "Very stable". India has been independent since 1947 and, despite the massive problems of that country, despite the different languages, different races, different religions and communal problems, India to this day remains a democracy. The fact is that the people vote in elections in that country and in the States of India and regularly elect and re-elect or replace governments on a democratic basis.

The Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith: What about the assassinations?

The Hon. R. D. DYER: The Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith says, "What about the assassinations?" Has the Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith forgotten that President Kennedy was assassinated in the United States of America, one of the greatest democratic nations on earth. Do not let us hear any codswallop about the fact that because someone was assassinated in India that in some way makes India any less of a democracy. Do not let
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there be any suggestion, as I am sure there will not be, that because President Kennedy in the United States was assassinated that that is any less of a democracy. I am responding to the ridiculous interjection of the Hon. R. B. Rowland Smith that because a Prime Minister was assassinated in India that that in some way diminishes the status of India as a democracy. There are all sorts of reasons founded on instability and even the reaction of a deranged person, which can lead to an attack on a Head of State. I could cite many examples of heads of state and heads of governments who have been assassinated. In my view it has nothing to do with the form of Government in that particular country. Much sound and fury is expressed as to the divisiveness of what is being proposed, as to whether Australia should become a republic. I quote, for the benefit of the House, a short passage from what was said by a conservative person - not a politically conservative person but a justice of the High Court - Mr Justice Dawson who is well known as not being in any sense a radical on the High Court. Mr Justice Dawson in a paper entitled, "The Constitution, Major Overhaul or Simple Tune up", which was published in the Melbourne University Law Review in 1984 -

The Hon. Franca Arena: This was in 1984?

The Hon. R. D. DYER: In 1984; he was well ahead of his time. He said:
      To my mind, the final formal end to the role of the monarchy in Australia, if it occurs, need not mean a fundamental change in our constitutional structure - If it were thought desirable to substitute the Governor-General elected or appointed, as the Head of State it would, I think, be possible to achieve that in a manner which would involve little disruption to the present constitutional set-up and may even serve to eliminate some of the difficulties which still remain in discerning the role of the Crown in our federation . . . The bare change from a monarchy to a republic could be quite simple.

That is very interesting coming from such an authority as a quite cautious and conservative member of the bench of the High Court. So do not let there be any suggestion that there is going to be -

The Hon. D. J. Gay: It is a good anecdotal story.

The Hon. R. D. DYER: It is not a good anecdote at all, and it is not a story. It is a quote from a respected member of the bench of the High Court of Australia - someone who knows a little bit more about the law than the Hon. D. J. Gay, which is not saying very much. The final matter to which I wish to address myself is the manner of change. My amendment notes that the constitutional issues to which I have been referring can be resolved democratically at a referendum of the people of Australia. Earlier in the debate honourable members opposite, with some exception, said that I had been citing a particular opinion poll, and they said, quite justifiably in a sense, that polls can possibly vary from time to time. That is quite true, but I rely on the poll only as an indicator of a trend. If one were to draw a trend line through the polls over the last 10 years, there would be a clear trend in favour of a republic. There can be no doubt about that at all.

Leaving that matter aside, what the Opposition is suggesting in its amendment placed before the House is that the constitutional optional issues that we are talking about - whether Australia should remain a monarchy; alternatively whether it should convert to become a republic either within the Commonwealth or outside the Commonwealth - can be readily determined by a referendum of the people of Australia. The Australian Constitution provides for change to occur as a result of a referendum. As the House well knows, any constitutional change has to be approved by what is
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commonly called a double majority, a majority of the electors of the whole country and a majority of electors in a majority of States. Four out of six States have to vote affirmatively in regard to the particular proposition placed before them, as well as a majority of electors throughout the country approving whatever the proposition might happen to be.

The Hon. Patricia Forsythe: If a State votes no, can it keep its Governor?

The Hon. R. D. DYER: The Hon. Patricia Forsythe asks an interesting question. Mr. George Winterton, in an article entitled "An Australian Republic" to which I referred earlier in my remarks published in the Melbourne University Law Review in June 1988 expressed the view that although it would be an untidy and perhaps incongruous arrangement, there is no insuperable barrier, either theoretical or practical, to a combination of a republican Australia and monarchical States. That is somewhat incongruous and untidy but the view has been expressed by an intelligent commentator that that is thought to be a possible combination. I answer the honourable member's interjection in that way, by referring to what Dr. Winterton said. I certainly do not advocate that course. It would not be a very happy arrangement, but at least in theory it could happen. The Opposition, having placed this amendment before the House expressing respect for Her Majesty; having referred to the constitutional development culminating in the Australia Act 1986, the most recent development; having referred to the changing character of Australian society and developing republic sentiment, and having noted in particular that we can remain in the Commonwealth with the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth, notwithstanding the fact that Australia might choose to become a republic, rests its case on the fact that the matter the House is discussing can be decided by a democratically held referendum by the people of Australia.

What do we have to be afraid of? The people can express their view through the plurality of a majority of electors in the whole country and a majority of electors in a majority of States. That being so I have no doubt the people are in safe hands. They are in their own hands. They can choose the future course and Constitutional structure of this country, as they have always done. From time to time opportunities have arisen for the Australian constitution to be amended. More often than not the referenda propositions that have been put have not been approved, but over the years some have and the Australian Constitution has developed to the extent that the people have approved those Constitutional amendments.Constitutional arrangements in Australian have also developed to the extent mentioned in the last century with representative and then responsible government, Federation itself, the Statute of Westminster in 1931 and the Australia Act in 1986. I conclude my remarks by asking: What is there to be afraid of? The whole matter is in the hands of the people which is where the Opposition is content to let the matter rest.

The Hon. ELAINE NILE [11.14]: I support the motion moved by the Hon. J. M. Samios, a prominent member of the ethnic community and one of the most respected members of this Chamber and the ethnic community. The motion reads:
      That this House affirms its support for the constitutional monarchy as essential to our Westminster parliamentary system and the stability and cohesion of our multicultural society.

I was absolutely disgusted and sickened by the antics of Gerry Connolly as he paraded around New South Wales sending up Her Majesty. A man dressed in woman's clothing is regarded by most normal people as abhorrent but when a personage such as the Queen becomes the subject of fun and ridicule, enough is enough. The word respect has been
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censored out of our society. No longer is there respect for people in the church, the clergy or parliamentary leaders. Everyone is at the mercy of the media sending them up. The clowns who think they are good are putting others down. Those of us who support the monarchy and are loyal to our Queen must have felt ashamed to be Australians when Gerry Connolly lampooned the Queen at the World Cup dinner on 24th March. It is a pity that the whole English team did not walk out, as did Ian Botham and Graham Gooch. I congratulate them for having the courage of their convictions. After all, it is easy to go along with the mob and stand for absolutely nothing. Even the former Australian captain, Ian Johnson, described Connolly's performance as incredibly disgusting. He said, "I was disgusted with the content of the stuff". Many honourable members have probably already read an article which appears today in the Daily Telegraph Mirror. The article reads:
      The Daily Star, which has taken every opportunity to get stuck into the Aussies since Paul Keating accused the British of deserting Australia during World War II, declared Mr Connolly's royal drag act was typical of Australian males.

That is the way it has affected the British. We are all being put down because of people like Connolly. The article continued:
      "Dressing up in women's clothes is expected of Australian men . . . at least it makes the sheep feel safer", the Star's editorial said.

"But, there should be a limit on bad taste - even in a convict colony that has raised oafishness to an art form.

That is what these people are doing to our reputation.
      "Prancing about on stage dressed as the Queen and then poking fun at her recent personal problems is just downright rudeness - especially when England's cricketers are the guests.
      No doubt Paul 'Does Your Granny Come From Ireland' Keating, Prime Minister of this Portaloo in the Pacific, will seize the chance to spout some more anti-British bilge," the paper added.
      The Mirror also carried the story under the headline. "The fast and loose delivery that made Botham and Gooch walk" while the Daily Express had Gooch and Botham retiring "hurt over Aussie Queen slur".
      Today newspaper said Gooch and Botham could give no finer performance on the field than they had during the formal dinner in Melbourne.
      "After the years when there seemed so little pride in this country -

That is the United Kingdom:
      - there is a new spirit which is represented by the success of our cricket and rugby teams", the Today editorial said.
      "Those have been achieved not only through sporting prowess but because the players now feel a genuine national pride when they pull on an England shirt.
      "To mock the Queen in front of them was contemptible. Botham and Gooch were right to walk out."

On 23rd June, 1991, an article entitled "Republic campaign offers lots of latitude" by Peter Hartcher, a political correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald, read:
      The Federal Government will launch a 10-year campaign to persuade Australians to declare their country a republic.

Page 1985
      The Federal Attorney-General, Mr Duffy, had no objections yesterday when the ALP National Conference adopted the idea as policy.

No one spoke against it and it was carried on the voices, although the rather reedy chorus of voices in favour prompted the outgoing national president, Mr Bannon, to declare: "Carried - not very vigorously".
      Two of the party's three factions, the Left and Centre Left, decided to endorse the idea, giving it the support of a clear majority of the delegates.

Mr Duffy is expected to move to implement the new policy in coming months. He does not regard it as urgent.

An article by Michael Cameron was headed "Queen is out for republic". That is typical of the propaganda campaign that is being waged. The article reads, inter alia:
      Under the terms of the resolution adopted this morning, the party will "embark upon a public education campaign culminating in a referendum".

On radio this morning it was stated that the Prime Minister wants to take away the flag and do this and that. As yet, he has not declared himself a republican. It seems that the non-elected Prime Minister is having a bet both ways. The Hon. R. D. Dyer spoke about the schoolchildren in the gallery. He wondered how they would speak if they were asked whether they desired a republican -

The PRESIDENT: Order! Let us have one speech at a time. The Hon. Elaine Nile has the call.

The Hon. ELAINE NILE: Thank you, Mr President. It is very difficult to speak with honourable members interjecting. I would not wonder if the children came out in favour of a republic, because of the Australian republicanism kit, a self-funded 1988 bicentenary education kit prepared by the Coalition of Republican Organisations, CRO, for history and social science students at Australian high schools. Honourable members have discussed the merit of a referendum but perhaps it should be both ways, people should be educated as to what both sides are all about. This school kit describes the policies of the Australian republican party. The Hon. R. D. Dyer said he did not believe the document contained any reference to philosophies but I believe that is what it is all about, humanism versus Christian values. The kit states:
      (1) Humanism: The principles and values of Humanism and Individualism . . . The affirmation of humanism: A Statement of Principles and Values. We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair -

This is an attack on the Christian faith:
      - and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service of others.

This is a definition of humanism: "Humanism is the rejection of religion in favour of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own effort." That says it, by its own effort. The Australian republican party has a policy on the complete withdrawal from the ANZUS Treaty neutrality:
      Let's be the "Switzerland of the Pacific & Indianic Oceanic Hemisphere.

The third policy makes a statement about drugs:

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      Legalising but controlling the distribution of all drugs of dependence.

Honourable members will know that even those who have been involved in the drug scene, who have dried out and are now drug free, do not want to see legalised drugs in this State. That is the policy of the republican movement. The fourth policy deals with homosexuality and abortion -

The Hon. Franca Arena: On a point of order. The Hon. Elaine Nile has misquoted the Australian Republic movement. I want to put it on record that she is talking about -

The PRESIDENT: Order! No point of order is involved.

The Hon. ELAINE NILE: The fourth policy deals with philosophies, the difference in the philosophies of the republican movement and being part of the monarchical system, under a Christian faith, concerning homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia:
      We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfil their aspirations to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.

That is exactly opposite to the Christian belief. The fifth policy is stated as:
      (5) Zero population growth. Very much restricted immigration - a net 10,000 per annum.
      (6) Abolish State Governments:

Honourable members on this side of the Chamber would not be here. The sixth policy continues:
      Constitutional reform: We propose leaner government with no duplication and far fewer politicians: a two-tier system of government - national in co-operation with regional -

Meaning there would be no State governments:
      - unicameral with multi-member electorates determined by proportional representation; deterrence of career politicians; four-year fixed terms of Parliament; non-compulsory voting; a total discontinuance of un-Australian activity - e.g. imperial honours, awards, knighthoods, etc.; non-permitting of the distribution of how-to-vote cards on election days; first class citizenship for all Australians - no swearing of any allegiance to any foreign "Head of State" - purging of "pseudo-patriotism" election of "Heads of State", who are Australian citizens and Australian residents; a REPUBLIC!

I strongly believe that the Australian republican movement and its allies would replace our Christian Queen, our Christian Parliament, our Christian Constitution with a secular humanist and atheistic republic which would reflect permissive, radical socialist views. It is a real choice facing every Australian. A Christian constitutional democratic monarchy, a Christian Commonwealth of Australia versus an atheistic socialist republic with centralised dictatorial powers in Canberra following the abolition of State governments, with a new socialistic flag and a new socialistic national anthem. This debate is about philosophies - Christianity versus atheism. Honourable members have been aware of that in this Chamber in regard to a great many issues. It is about Christian values versus humanism. The Hon. J. R. Johnson should consider this because his party is mainly responsible for a number of changes in this nation and in this State over the years. Australians need look back only a few years for the damaging changes, and their effects, introduced by the Australian Labor Party. In 1973 we fought the Family Law Act
Page 1987
introduced by the then Federal Attorney General, Lionel Murphy. As I have stated in this House previously - this happened at Lionel Murphy's funeral - a very well-known professor commented that never had one man done so much for the humanist cause. It is the institution of the church which has to pick up the pieces from Lionel Murphy - not his monument, but his headstone - because he is literally killing off families. It is still happening now in Australia.


I can remember one very staunch member of the Australian Labor Party, the late Hon. Frank Stewart, who defied his leader, Gough Whitlam. He was a very good man, a Christian man. He crossed the floor and voted against his party because he knew what this legislation would do to the families of Australia. Frank Stewart was relegated to the back benches. That was his penalty for standing up for the families of Australia. In 1979 the Summary Offences Act was repealed in this State by the Australian Labor Party Government. All citizens felt the results of the repealing of the Summary Offences Act. This Government has reintroduced that Act and the Hon. R. S. L. Jones wants to remove the offensive language provisions. There was also the repealing of the Crimes Act by the then Premier, the Hon. Neville Wran. He removed sections 79-81B, which repealed the abominable crime of buggery and or its penalties. Australia is now experiencing the AIDS disease which is killing people, as well as innocent people through blood transfusions.


It has a lot to do with the philosophy of the republican party. In New South Wales a bill was introduced concerning de facto relationships, giving such relationships the same status as that enjoyed by married couples; recognising them as husband and wife and bringing marriage into disrepute. The introduction of that legislation has taken marriage into the gutter.

The Hon. I. M. Macdonald: On a point of order. Given the numerous rulings of the past week concerning relevance, I fail to see how this stream of consciousness about every topic under the sun has anything to do with the monarchy or republicanism. She should return to the subject-matter of the motion.

The Hon. Elaine Nile: On the point of order. The honourable member fails to understand that the monarchy is based on Christian heritage and Christian law. What I have spoken about has happened already.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. D. J. Gay): Order! I uphold the point of order. However, I accept the point the Hon. Elaine Nile has made in her defence. The honourable member has been given considerable latitude and she should now return to the subject-matter of the motion.

The Hon. ELAINE NILE: I began my contribution by speaking about the lack of respect in society today. Gerry Connolly's behaviour is an example of that lack of respect. I was relating that lack of respect to the various institutions of marriage and the family - principles that the Queen and the monarchy uphold. The supporters of republicanism do not want to face reality. They do not want to acknowledge what is happening today. That is where the problem lies. The church, through our Christian values, is left to pick up the pieces. The community, the families and children will suffer because of the policies of those people who want this so-called republic. I shall conclude
Page 1988
by saying that permissiveness is that state of the spirit in which that which once caused shame and revulsion is first tolerated, then accepted, and finally embraced.

The Hon. I. M. Macdonald: On a point of order. I fail to see how permissiveness has anything to do with the motion. Having regard to the history of British monarchs perhaps it could be argued that permissiveness is relevant, but strictly in terms of the topic it certainly is not.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. D. J. Gay): Order! Had the honourable member been paying greater attention, he would have heard the Hon. Elaine Nile say that this is her final statement on the motion. The honourable member may proceed.

The Hon. ELAINE NILE: When this referendum is put to the people the two sides of the debate must be heard. I ask the Minister for School Education and Youth Affairs whether she has read the material that is being distributed to State schools and whether she is aware of the effect will have on students. I pray to God to help the people of New South Wales to understand the underlying inference of this debate, that it will change our way of life and our value systems. I support the motion.

The Hon. P. F. O'GRADY [11.34]: It is often said that one should never let the truth get in the way of a good speech, particularly when the speech will be circulated to one's supporters. Honourable members have just heard an extraordinary diatribe. The Hon. Elaine Nile said that the whole fabric of society will crumble if Australia becomes a republic. That is absolute nonsense. She, and others, claim that society as we know it today will crumble because the Queen of England will no longer be our figurehead. The Family Law Act, Lionel Murphy and the lack of respect in society were other reasons given to suggest that society will crumble.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: And recognising homosexuality.

The Hon. P. F. O'GRADY: That remark is typical of the obsessiveness of Call to Australia, which is completely out of touch with what is going on in the real world. Its members paint a picture based on hatred, fear and intimidation in society.

Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: You are encouraging it.

The Hon. P. F. O'GRADY: No, I am not. The party that Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile leads is responsible for hatred, violence and murder, and one day he will have to suffer the consequences. The republican issue is straightforward. Australia will become a republic. More than 200 years have passed since Australia was colonised in 1788. We are no longer a group of convicts transported from another country. We are a diverse community with many different views. In effect, Australia has come of age. The contributions of honourable members to this debate have not demonstrated why Australia should not become a republic. Not one logical argument has been advanced about why Australia should not become a republic. This topic will be debated with greater passion in years to come. In recent months the republican movement has generated and encouraged considerable debate on this topic. There is considerable confusion about the republican party and the republican movement. If my memory serves me correctly, Peter Constantine is still associated with the republican party. The republican party is not the republican movement as we know it. The misinformation about the republican movement by honourable members in this debate is an absolute disgrace. Peter Constantine is a colourful individual who has been associated with all sorts of political campaigns and objectives. Clearly, there is a difference between the
Page 1989
republican party and the republican movement, and the attempt today to portray the republican movement as some anti-Christian movement is absolute rubbish.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: The Hon. Elaine Nile was quoting Peter Constantine.

The Hon. P. F. O'GRADY: That is what I have been saying.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT (The Hon. Dr Marlene Goldsmith): Order! The honourable member will address his remarks through the Chair.

The Hon. P. F. O'GRADY: The portrayal of the Republican Party objectives as opposed to the republican movement objectives is totally dishonest and further serves to create a campaign based on misinformation.

The DEPUTY-PRESIDENT: Order! I remind the Hon. P. F. O'Grady to address his remarks through the Chair.

The Hon. P. F. O'GRADY: It is a campaign based on misinformation - on pure and absolute lies. The campaign is being perpetrated in the name of the republican movement, while in fact the statements of objectives referred to by members on the other side are those of the Republican Party. These are two very different organisations. Government members and members of the Call to Australia group should be ashamed of seeking to base this debate on mistruths.

The Hon. Elaine Nile: You do not believe in a value system.

The Hon. P. F. O'GRADY: I certainly do believe in a value system. Without a value system, a society cannot exist. I firmly believe in a value system, but I do not believe in the value system which Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile and the Hon. Elaine Nile portray as appropriate for society. The arguments do not support the proposition that Australia should not become a republic. I do not have a particular passion about what flag we have. We should not be arguing about that at this stage. We should be concentrating on the broader issue of whether we should be a constitutional monarchy or a republic. One issue that should be addressed in this debate is the role of State parliaments. In the debate on whether we should become a republic by the year 2000, we should examine the roles of the States and State parliaments. We are hopelessly overgoverned. My view is that State parliaments should be abolished and that there be a national government and regional governments. As I understand it, that is not the view of the republican movement, but it is a topic that should be included in this debate. We should give ourselves the opportunity to examine our system of government. In effect, we should meet the challenges before us.

The Hon. R. J. Webster: I hope you are not going to make it your life's work.

The Hon. P. F. O'GRADY: I am not going to make it my life's work, but parliamentarians and the community should debate this matter. I believe that Australia will become a republic; it is ready for such a move. It is important that debate is sensible and encouraged. The proposition put by some members of this Chamber, that if there is a republic the fabric of society will collapse, is ridiculous. It is not worthy of consideration. Society will not crumble and fail if Australia becomes a republic.

The Hon. D. J. GAY [11.44]: It gives me great pleasure to support the motion of the Hon. J. M. Samios. With the House's indulgence, I read to the House the
Page 1990
affirmation a member of the Legislative Council takes when declaring allegiance to Her Majesty. It states:
      I . . . do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law.

The affirmation is signed before the Parliament. It was that same affirmation that the Hon. Franca Arena, the leader of the republican movement on the other side, signed as the person who wants to pull down the monarchy; a person who has declared her allegiance by way of affirmation in this Parliament. Though the Hon. Franca Arena has fired the first salvo in this argument, she is not in the Chamber. I wish she were here. If she is a true republican and not just a fair weather friend or someone who wants to shock people, she should resign from this Parliament today. She has misled the people whom she purports to represent. Shame on the Hon. Franca Arena and all the lefties of the Labor Party who are prattling on like a mob of chooks. If she had any integrity, she would resign. She should either bear true allegiance or go. A nice young man, Tony Pooley, who formerly worked for the Standing Committee on Social Issues, commenced work with the republican movement. He is the executive director of the Australian republican movement.

The Hon. J. R. Johnson: He is a fine young man.

The Hon. D. J. GAY: Indeed he is. I counselled him not to join such a silly movement, but he joined it. I am sure honourable members would not be surprised to hear that the movement is so successful that this poor young man is now acting in a part-time capacity for the Parliament. That is how much support there is for this movement in the community. Malcolm Turnbull is a fair weather friend. Anyone who saw the recent "Four Corners" program on the takeover of Fairfax would have seen how easily Malcolm Turnbull changes his allegiances.

The Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann: Do you want me to talk about Bruce Ruxton?

The Hon. D. J. GAY: No, I do not want the honourable member to talk about Bruce Ruxton. Opposition members often quote what these people say; therefore, their words should be scrutinised. Opposition members cannot have it both ways.


If the Hon. J. R. Johnson wants to heap scorn on that man, so be it. All I am saying is that honourable members who watched that program would know the position of Malcolm Turnbull. The debate as to whether Australia should forsake the system of constitutional monarchy for that of a republic is notable for the lack of informed argument and the continual suggestion that change is inevitable. To suggest that Australia will come of age, exert its independence and throw off its colonial shackles is as sensible as the suggestion that one should change one's name to symbolise independence from one's parents. Such an argument does little justice to the wisdom and vision of the founders of our Constitution. The obvious reality is that Australia achieved that position long ago.

The suggestion of the inevitability of an Australia republic has always been the favourite ploy of those seeking to impose their will on the populace. It is interesting to
Page 1991
note that the person talking about a republic is Paul Keating. Any sensible and serious debate on that issue should centre on the merits of either system, not on emotion. We should examine the principles that each system tries to embody and the advantages that accrue to the individual. Most important, we should examine the track record of either system to ascertain whether the claimed advantages are imagined or real. Are the claimed deficiencies of our present system real - is it a mess? - or are they merely the irrelevant and nebulous distractions that we are so accustomed to in political debate? Finally, if it is decided that Australia will be advantaged by changing to a republic, would these advantages outweigh the trauma and national division that would surely accompany such a change? We witnessed the appalling situation in Canberra when the Prime Minister set out, in a paper entitled "One Nation", to divide this country. Is such trauma worth the change? Lord Bruce, in his classic Modern Democracies, enunciated a basic principle concerning government when he wrote:
      The tendency of all governments is to increase their own power. Their power is only increased at the expense of individual power and freedom. For government is concerned with the exercise of power, and since man's first attempt to produce government for the benefit of the individual as opposed to the State, he had been confronted with the problem of restricting its power. The most insidious aspect of Government is its gradual monopolisation of power, that at any single point in time the gain is almost imperceptible and difficult to resist, yet reviewed over quite a long period is quite obvious.

In Australia the Federal Government has gradually monopolised State powers. That has happened over a long period at the expense of the States and local government. If Australia moves to a presidential system, problems will arise in that regard. The principle of restricting power is reflected in our monarchical system of government, as it is in the American republican system - and there are other similarities. That is not surprising, the United States of America, which has perhaps the finest ever written Constitution, is the product of the same stream of history as Australia.

The Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann: They had a revolution.

The Hon. D. J. GAY: If the honourable member listened, she might learn something. The reason our respective nations have charted different courses in this respect has more to do with a circumstance of history than with any great philosophic difference. Yet this divergence that has produced perhaps the best of the world's republics enables us to compare the two systems. A number of monarchies still exist but we are fortunate to have inherited the most highly developed of them in the British system. That is a fair comparison between the American republic and our system of monarchy: we are of similar stock, and we moved at the same time. Our system is a product of centuries of organic development among people with a genius for representative government. Its success, reflected in the stability and freedom enjoyed under it, is a matter of history. The most obvious difference between the two systems is that one has a hereditary as opposed to an elected Head of State. That may seem out of step with our idea of a ballot-box democracy, but this form of succession has many distinct advantages, and has a track record that compares more than favourably with that of the republican alternative. The nation is spared the political gimmickry and fanfare that is so much a part of elections, especially American presidential-style elections. The monarch is above party political squabbles, has no need for political pay-offs or for bribing electors for their votes, and as a consequence brings dignity, stability and a great unifying influence to the highest office. There is no political intrigue or power struggle for the position, which has a natural and obvious succession.

The Hon. P. F. O'Grady: What is responsible for Andy's divorce?

Page 1992

The Hon. D. J. GAY: Does the honourable member think that divorce occurs only within the Royal Family? Divorce is not foreign to the Labor Party luminaries who scatter this country. To use that as an example why we should -

The Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann: Divorce?

The Hon. D. J. GAY: Honourable members opposite have suggested that the Royal Family is not above political intrigue because it has become involved in divorce. Those whom the Opposition would like to take the place of our monarch have certainly been involved in divorce. The monarch's position is reinforced by specialised training.


If the Hon. Franca had been interested, she would have been present in the Chamber earlier. The honourable member should listen. Or the honourable member could do the honest thing and resign from the Parliament. She has breached her affirmation to the Parliament. It is time I reminded the Hon. Franca Arena of the affirmation she took before this Parliament, which reads:
      I, Franca Arena, do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law.

The Hon. Franca Arena: It states, "according to law". That is a law and we will try to change it.

The Hon. D. J. GAY: By the honourable member's involvement with a republican movement she has breached her affirmation. If she has any integrity and honesty to the republican movement she should resign tomorrow from this Parliament - or sit quietly and listen.

The Hon. Franca Arena: My loyalty is to Australia.

The Hon. D. J. GAY: The Monarch, however, is not an infallible barrier against dictatorship. So long as the monarch and her representatives function an aspiring dictator can never gain total power. Monarchs have acted and will act foolishly -

The Hon. Franca Arena: What about Grenada?

The Hon. D. J. GAY: Madam Deputy-President I am having difficult getting a point across to the Hon. Franca Arena. She will not listen. However, the record of British monarchs compares more than favourably with that of politicians, and much more favourably with the records of the American presidents and presidents throughout the world. A monarch serves to remind us that the political issues that divide us are of far less importance that the ties of history that unite us. Above all, the Crown exists to provide stability and continuity, which are factors of immeasurable importance.

The PRESIDENT: Order! Pursuant to sessional orders, business is interrupted for the taking of questions.