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The reluctant Republic



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No:1/97-

- 4 February 1997

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SENATOR THE HON NICK BOLKUS SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE LABOR SENATOR FOR -SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

THE RELUCTANT REPUBLIC

_ " The Prime Minister has been forced by public opinion to keep his election promise on the Republic," Shadow Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Senator Nick Bollcus said today. "And it is public opinion that will keep this issue alive until the Republic inevitably comes about."

"Mr Howard is being dragged along, step by stubborn step, towards the Republic that he clearly doesn't want. Today's mean-spirited acceptance of the need to keep his promise on the People's Convention demonstrates that."

"The tabor Party is also concerned that the Goverment is not even treating its own proposal foi- -a:People's Convention seriously. The idea of electing candidates via a voluntary postal vote is simply a mickey-mouse approach. Matters of constitutional change, including the Republic, are matters of the utmost seriousness and importance," Senator Bolkus said. "Such matters deserve to be treated more seriously than the Logie's or the People's Choice Awards."

"_The Prime Minister haS repeatedly said that he is Concerned about the division- this issue, can cause. But the Prime Minister could put an end to such concerns if only he Would welcome theprocess and embrace change."

"if-theiPrimeMinister=is_ p rep ared:ta_to=the.right.tiung.then_the Labor Party will giv .0_hirn the:=-bil:fiartisanIsupportttus process deserves," Senator Bolkus said "The historir_ofconstitiitional iréform-anAukralia-has‘- shóri that it is-essential for the. Government ofthe'daYtor:take'a- _ _ _ - - = - bipartisan approach-. -I call upon the Government to consult widely with both_the Cothrnimity . _ and_other political parties to ensure the People's Convention has broad public support:" "But Labor has other concerns about the process. The Labor Party believes that a-People's

Convention is not the best way to decide whether or not We want to have aft Australian as our Head of State. The best way it that can be done is if the decision is made by the Australian people themselves. It must be a result that each and every Australian believes they have

participated in. :.Only _a plebiscite or a referendum can achieve that goal."

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