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Keating: the monkey on the Republican back



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JOHN HOWARD, M.P.

MEMBER FOR SENNELONG SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING

IR 052/93

KEATING: THE MONKEY ON THE REPUBLICAN BACK

Much as it may irk Mr Tom Kenneally and his fellow cultural dietitians, the republican movement is stuck with the Prime Minister.

He is Australia's best-known republican. Think of a republic And nnA inpvitahly thinks of Paul Keating.

Although he didn't exactly say it, Mr Kenneally was obviously inferring yesterday that the recent slide in support for a republic was due to the Prime Minister's heavy-handed, arrogant involvement in the debate.

While I am certain that Mr Keating's interventions of late have damaged the republican cause, Tom Kenneally and his -•

colleagues would be deluding themselves if they thought that the gathering resistance to the republican push simply reflected negative feelings towards the Prime Minister.

As the debate has gone on, the merits of Australia's existing constitutional arrangements have become better understood. In particular, more Australians are realising that current arrangements are the most effective in delivering a non-political head of state.

The absence of a coherent and convincing statement of the benefits for Australia in becoming a republic is also working against the Keating/Kenneally campaign.

Next week, the report of the Republican Advisory Committee, chaired by Mr Malcolm Turnbull, will be published.

There is a heavy onus on that Committee to persuade an increasingly sceptical Australian public that the -republican alternatives the Committee espouses will not in fact fulfil the prophecies of political instability recently made by the current Governor-General, Mr Hayden.

SYDNEY 1 October 19 9 3 COMMONV/EAl.TI-1

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY