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Republic of Oz: report by former Prime Minister on the obstacles to becoming a republic.

BILL HAYDEN: It can be very isolated out here, Bob. One doesn't realise until one gets here. And for Kerr, it must have been an agony of despair and worry, wondering what was really happening over there on the hill at Parliament House - ten minutes away by car, but eons away in terms of feeling, personal contact.

ANDREW OLLE: There's nothing like the threat of a republic to inspire feelings of solidarity in the Queen's representative. Welcome to the program.

Australia's Governor-General, Bill Hayden, makes a remarkable break with tradition, tonight, by speaking out on an issue with enormous potential to embarrass the Prime Minister and his government. Mr Hayden gives his controversial views on an Australian republic in an interview with his political Nemesis, former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke. Mr Hawke also interviews the man who, in turn, overthrew him, Paul Keating.

The three Labor leaders are all on the record as staunch republicans, but the republican cause is unlikely to be advanced by Mr Hawke's report which was commissioned by the BBC to coincide with Paul Keating's visit to Britain. Indeed, when it's shown there tomorrow, it's bound to provide fresh ammunition for a British press corps already salivating at the prospect of the Australian Prime Minister's meeting with the Queen. Here's reporter, Bob Hawke.

BOB HAWKE: 2001 - a new century and an Australian republic, free of the British monarchy. That's what Prime Minister, Paul Keating, wants for Australia.

In a few days, Australia's Prime Minister, Paul Keating, meets Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral. It will be an interesting meeting if, for no other reason than Mr Keating has a reputation in Australia as a passionate republican. He would like to replace Her Majesty with a home-grown president. By stamping republicanism firmly on the political agenda, Paul Keating has provoked a lively debate in a country he hopes to unify.

His special republican committee headed by 'Spy-catcher' lawyer, Malcolm Turnbull, is about to publish their options for removing the Queen. On the surface, it appears simple to achieve this change, but substituting a president for a Queen, is turning out to be a radical step. It may well become Paul Keating's biggest political gamble.

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PAUL KEATING: And even as they walked out on you and joined the Common Market, even as they walked out on you and joined the Common Market, you were still looking for your MBEs and your knighthoods and all the rest of the regalia that come with it.

BOB HAWKE: Paul Keating is known in Britain as the man who touched the Queen. In Australia, he's better known a the man who replaced me as Prime Minister after a bitter contest. There's no great love lost between us, but since he has made the republic one of his causes and I was making this program for the BBC, it was silly for us not to talk.

What would you say is the main argument for Australia becoming a republic?

PAUL KEATING: Oh, to express pride and confidence in itself; to be clear about its identity; to represent itself at home, people amongst each other and to the world, confidently, as Australians; the view that our Australian nation cannot be represented at head of state without an Australian person chosen by Australians. I think that's the main argument.

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COMPERE: And now, on 2BL702, here's Andrew Olle.

BOB HAWKE: Radio, TV and newspapers are covering the republican debate. Almost everyone in this country has a view on the subject, not just the politicians.

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ANDREW OLLE: We're heading for a high of around 15 degrees. A few problems on the roads, although the rain has cleared up. I've been joined by a guest fellow interviewer, this morning, Robert James Lee Hawke. And Penny, good morning.

PENNY: Good morning, Andrew, good morning, Bob. .... to speak to you.

I think a lot of people are terribly fearful at the moment that we're reaching conclusions straightaway, rather than this being a discussion and a debate, and that nothing is finalised yet.

BOB HAWKE: Yes. Okay, Penny, thank you very much.

ANDREW OLLE: Thanks for your call, Penny. Next, good morning.

MAX: Good morning, Mr Hawke.

BOB HAWKE: Good morning, Max.

MATT: I just wonder at this resistance in the country. There seems to be resistance in the country areas against the republic.

BOB HAWKE: Can I just interrupt you there, Max. Frankly, I was a little bit surprised by the extent of support. I mean, I'm not saying it was majority support, but there were a lot of country people, including older country people, who seemed to be supportive.

UNIDENTIFIED: But I would be constructive in saying that I would have a price at which I would be happy to support a republic, and the price would be the American system of popular initiative referendum.

BOB HAWKE: Opinions vary widely, but polls show a majority of Australians want a republic. I'm a republican myself, but experience tells me it isn't going to be easy. Perhaps one of Australia's most enthusiastic republicans is Malcolm Turnbull, famous as the lawyer in the 'Spy-catcher' trial.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I believe Australia and Australians should have a stronger sense of national purpose, commitment, pride, and I believe that the monarchy in Australia is no longer an appropriate national symbol for this country. It simply doesn't represent Australians or Australia.

BOB HAWKE: But the monarchists are determined that the republican movement should not succeed.

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UNIDENTIFIED: Thank God we still have people in this country that care to keep it the way it is and the way it should be.

BOB HAWKE: It may seem strange that on the other side of the world from Britain, there is such passionate opposition to dumping the British monarchy.

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UNIDENTIFIED: We, as citizens, demand equal funding from the Government so there can be a debate, so there can be ....

BRONWYN BISHOP: Our system of governance has allowed every Australian to be free, and in terms of Australia allowing women the vote, to stand for and be elected to Parliament, we are the oldest constitutional democracy in the world, and I'm pretty proud of that, you see. And I can't see one - not one - republic that I want to emulate.

BRUCE RUXTON: I'm a monarchist. But you see, the argument in this country is centring round the royal family, when it shouldn't. It is the institution of the Crown that is important to every Australian. Now, if the royal family get up to antics, which they've been getting themselves mixed up with of late, it doesn't mean anything. The hereditary monarchy will go on and on. The monarchy has survived murders, executions, revolutions, madness, and even syphilis, if you don't mind.

BOB HAWKE: I bet I'm not the only one who is shocked to hear 'God Save the Queen' still being sung on this side of the pond.

I thought I'd heard the last of that when my government replaced Britain's national anthem with our own, 'Advance Australia Fair'. But the legacy of the mother country lives on in this Commonwealth of ours, while republicans live in hope.

MAX GILLIES: Australia has to become a republic. A lot of the people who are against it say nothing much would change if we became a republic, and I say to them: Well, let's make the change. What are we doing with a hereditary monarch who lives miles away as our head of state? It's such an anomaly that it has to change, and of course it has to take place in my lifetime. But here I am, I'm 50, and it should have happened 50 years ago, so whether or not it will, I don't know.

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UNIDENTIFIED: February 1, 1954 - Australia aglow, eager and ready for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.

BOB HAWKE: Australia was traditionally British. It was, after all, an Anglo-Saxon community in the south seas, and did it show.

I remember the first visit of a British monarch when Australians showed unwavering loyalty to Queen Elizabeth. It was a loyalty stretched to embarrassing lengths by Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies.

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SIR ROBERT MENZIES: ... all I ask you to remember in this country of yours. In the words of the old 17th century poet who wrote those famous words:

I did but see her passing by,

And yet I love her till I die.

MAX GILLIES: Bob Menzies was the representative of the royal family in Australia, and years later when I was making a living as a performer and doing quite a lot of political satire, Menzies had left the stage but his values remained, and they had to be exorcised.

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MAX GILLIES (as Sir Robert Menzies):

Well, I'm glad I'm not alive any more,

I'm glad that I'm as dead as a ferret,

Contemporary opinion in Her Majesty's dominion

No longer recognises men of merit.

And it could be truly said:

Better off dead than red,

But he doesn't feel so chuffed,

No, the Commonwealth is stuffed,

Oh, I'm glad I'm not alive any more.

MAX GILLIES: I grew up not far from here, on Brighton Beach, in a street called Pretoria Street. The street down the road was Sebastopol Avenue. All of the names of our streets and our beaches were resonant of the British Empire. They were places that I learnt about from Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia. The films I saw - 'The Red Shoes', 'The Ealing Comedies' were all English. My acculturation was totally English, when I think about it, and what was wrong with all this English stuff was that it seemed to be celebrating the class system. And of course, the pinnacle of the class system was a hereditary monarchy.

BOB HAWKE: Even in the bicentennial year of 1988, the Queen still had a big fan club down under, and no one - not even Paul Keating - mentioned swapping her for a president to me.

I wasn't caught with my hands on the Queen, but I avoided the sycophancy of Bob Menzies.

When I was Prime Minister, I often visited Government House in the capital of Canberra. It's the home of the Queen's viceroy and, in this case, he happens to be Bill Hayden, an old colleague and rival. In fact, I appointed him as Governor-General. He was then a staunch republican, and that's what makes his views, now, so remarkable.

BILL HAYDEN: I'll risk my arm by going a bit further than the Governor-General normally goes and say this: the present system works well; it allows us to have stable government in this country because the head of state is aware of the restraints under which he must function. They are acknowledged all round and they've worked, since Federation, quite effectively.

If we move away from that and there is no restraint, then my apprehension would be that we could go through periods - extended periods sometimes - of quite unstable government. If we get up tomorrow morning at daybreak, Australia having been declared a republic tonight by referendum - but with no other changes, just a change of name - we'll notice absolutely no difference. We are as independent, as free now, as we'll ever be in that respect.

BOB HAWKE: Republicans argue, however, that Australia has a population so diverse in origin that a British Queen and her Governor-General are irrelevant to the Australians of today.

JENNY KEE: We're a multicultural country. We're not Anglo-Saxons. I mean, I am, I guess, the future of Australia. I'm half Chinese, I'm quarter Italian and I'm quarter Scottish, Irish and English. So I reckon I make up a perfect Australian.

BOB HAWKE: It all began in the late 1940s when Australia decided, in the words of the day, to populate or perish.

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ARTHUR CALWELL: The mission on which I am now embarking is vital to the nation. I am going abroad to seek ships for immigrants. If we have no ships, we shall get no immigrants, and without immigration, the future of the Australia we know will be both uneasy and brief. As a nation, we shall not survive. Give me the ships, and I will guarantee to load them with the right type of our future Australians.

BOB HAWKE: At first, they came from Europe, but today, Australia has nearly 18 million people from over 140 countries. Many choose to become Australians, swearing allegiance to a foreign queen they know little about.

BRUCE RUXTON: Well, multicultural means that there's a lot of people of different races living in this country, and that is correct. But it's not that so much that worries me or my organisation - it is multiculturalism . The incumbent government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on multiculturalism which is dividing the country - we are dividing it. In fact, people are - more or less, migrants are encouraged to speak their own language, fly their own flag and sing their own anthem. What we're doing, actually, is becoming a land of tribes.

BOB HAWKE: If new Australians have no great love of the monarchy, the Aborigines have even less reason to like the Queen and the Crown she represents.

TRACKER TILMOUTH: We haven't enjoyed any great patronage or any great benefits by being part of the Commonwealth. We haven't enjoyed anything in relation to being part of the British Empire, so to be part of a call for the retainment of a monarchy, I think, at this stage, would be asking a bit much of us.

BOB HAWKE: For this country's 300,000 Aborigines, Australia's republican debate is a golden opportunity to right the wrongs of history.

LOIS O'DONOGHUE: There's no recognition of Aboriginal people in the Constitution, so Aboriginal peoples, of course, see the debate on a republic as being very significant because one of the greatest issues, of course, that's being raised by the indigenous people of this country is a recognition in the preamble of Aboriginal prior occupation of this country.

BOB HAWKE: Facing up to these historical responsibilities and to our geographic position in Asia and the Pacific has been a long time coming. In the 1980s, I myself led the drive for closer economic ties to Asia. Republicans, however, argue that the world's fastest-growing economies won't take Australia seriously until we become a republic. It's a novel argument.

Paul, would you tell me how you use the argument that becoming a republic would enhance Australia's trading relations with Asia.

PAUL KEATING: Well, I think that a lot of people in Asia are interested in whether Australia is genuinely making a shift, a cultural shift, in seeking to engage with them, both in commerce and trade and culturally. It's an indication, I think, to this region, that Australia is interested to be a full partner in it, as I suppose, one could make a similar point about, say, Britain and the European Community. There would be reference points that Europeans would have which would put a test, if you like, on Britain's bona fides of participation there. In the same way, I think, this is true here.

BOB HAWKE: Do you think, Paul, that they do not understand what is the fact, as you and I know, that in terms of our capacity to make our decisions, we are a sovereign, independent nation? Do you think they don't understand that.

PAUL KEATING: I think that they're looking to see how independent we are. And if we are to perpetuate the notion that a British monarch should be our head of state - that is, in perpetuity - we are not fully or truly independent.

BOB HAWKE: Asian trade is one of Paul Keating's major arguments for a republic. But there are many critics, including his Republic Advisory Committee chief.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I think it's a ludicrous argument. I'm not sure who has put it, but if they did, it's clearly misguided. I also think it's a great mistake to generalise about Asia and Asians. There is no doubt that there's a very high level of interest in China and, indeed, in Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan, in this republican issue in Australia, and the reason they're interested in it is not because they see it as taking Australia closer to Asia or anything like that, but they are interested in seeing the way a largely European settler nation is adjusting itself to its geographical reality of being close to Asia - I'm not saying part of Asia but close to Asia - and the way we are starting to develop more economic and, of course, social cultural links, political links in this region.

MICHAEL KIRBY: The good people of Asia, in their teeming millions, don't really care and probably don't know, in most cases, about the intricacies of our constitutional arrangements, just as the people of Australia, for the most part, don't know and don't care very much about theirs. So I don't think this is really the way to establish our links with Asia, links which I fully support, to modify our arrangements because of that issue.

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PAUL KEATING: In the 1990s, there exists the chance - and, I think, the need - to revisit our Constitution and reclaim it, not for the lawyers and the politicians, but for the people. Read in 1993, it is an uninspired and uninspiring document - complex, legalistic and virtually impossible to relate to contemporary Australian life. It was framed as a routine piece of 19th century British imperial legislation and, of course, by now it well shows its age.

Now, let me conclude by addressing the most common argument against an Australian republic - the one which says 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. In fact, broke doesn't really come into it. We didn't throw out the horse and cart because they were broke. We abandoned them. We affectionately and gracefully retired them when they became obsolete. We took a considered decision to trade up to something that would serve us better.

BOB HAWKE: Keating's speech marked a major policy shift. He switched from arguing simple change to the Constitution to advocating an overhaul of what he described as British imperial legislation.

CHERYL SAUNDERS: I know that the Prime Minister has recently referred to the Constitution as framed as a routine piece of British imperial legislation. There is a sense, of course, in which that cannot possibly be true. One of the most obvious features of the debates here, in the 1890s, was that the Constitution was framed in Australia and it was framed by Australians who had been directly elected for the purpose, even though by a somewhat limited electorate.

But nevertheless, there is some truth, also, in what he says in this sense. As the drafters put the Constitution together, they had an eye on what would be acceptable to the British Parliament and, in fact, you can find passages that say: Oh, well, we must do it this way, not that way, because otherwise we'll be laughed at when the Constitution gets to Britain. So there were those influences on the drafters and on the framers of the Constitution.

BOB HAWKE: The signing of the Australian Constitution was witnessed by visiting royals, the Duke and Duchess of York. It was regarded as a document which would unite Australia. Now, republicans see it as a monarchist charter, carving up power between the six Australian States and the central government. But one of Australia's most senior judges warns against drastic change.

MICHAEL KIRBY: You know, we have a very funny constitutional arrangement. It's one that you probably wouldn't sit down and invent. Like so many things that one has inherited from Britain - like the jury, for example, or like Parliament, for example - it's developed over a very long period of time from something that began quite differently, and you have to be careful, in tinkering with it, that you don't end up with something that is less effective, less balanced, less defensive of individual freedom.

Now, in a number of countries - we can see it if we look around the world - you see a tension between the head of government and the head of state. Unless you combine the two, there is inevitably going to be a tension. Under our system, the head of state has, and should have, very limited powers - to be consulted, to caution and to encourage.

BOB HAWKE: On the face of it, Bill, the Australian Constitution invests the Governor-General with quite sweeping powers. Could you just explain what those powers are?

BILL HAYDEN: Well, first of all, one is Commander-in-Chief, quite explicitly defined in the Constitution of the Armed Services. This means I could dispose of the Armed Services as I saw fit, order them to do whatever occurred to me. I can appoint Prime Ministers and I can sack them, and Ministers; I can open and shut Parliament. What would happen if I wanted to use this enormous authority available to me? Well, I should imagine that the Prime Minister of the day would be very quickly in contact with the Queen pointing out that the letters patent are being withdrawn instantly. The Armed Services, being what they are in Australia, subject to direction by democratically elected Ministers and particularly the Defence Minister, I am sure would absolutely baulk at any suggestion I would be calling them out to, say, shut down Parliament or shut down the Government. And in fact, given the nature of Armed Services, they'd probably form a committee and deliberate on this for several weeks.

BOB HAWKE: The checks and balances stressed by Bill Hayden failed in 1975, however, when a previous Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, sacked the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam.

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GOUGH WHITLAM: Well may we say 'God Save the Queen', because nothing will save the Governor-General.

BOB HAWKE: 1975 was a watershed year for Australians. It made us realise that those reserve powers could actually be used. The role of Governor-General would never look the same again. Sir John Kerr became a bitter and ostracised man, living in self-imposed exile in England.

MICHAEL KIRBY: Well, when Governor-General Kerr dismissed Prime Minister Whitlam in 1975, he undoubtedly exercised the powers which, as the Queen's representative in Australia, he had, but the shock of that action underlies the feeling that most Australians had that that was illegitimate, that it is not legitimate for a Governor-General to dismiss an elected Prime Minister.

BOB HAWKE: Now, a very important question, Bill, and I think there's misunderstanding on this. Let's assume that Australians voted for a republic and we simply replaced the Governor-General with a president. In the absence of any other change, would there be anything to prevent a repetition in those circumstances of 1975?

BILL HAYDEN: Absolutely not. It's been done once and it could be done again. The reason is the concentration has been on what seems to be a fashionable cause, a republic, and not on the machinery of how things happen and what the effects are.

BOB HAWKE: In what respect are we not independent of Britain in the management of our affairs?

PAUL KEATING: Well, I think 1975 demonstrated that, for a start, that the right, temerity of a Governor-General to dismiss an elected government could only be tolerated in a country with a high tolerance level, and this was because of an undefined power which was formerly enjoyed by - and, in the case, still to be enjoyed by - a British monarch.

BOB HAWKE: It is the case, isn't it, that if all we did was to remove the references in the Constitution to the Queen and the Governor-General and replaced it with the term 'President', the powers of 1975 would still be there to be exercised by a president? A president, in that situation, could do what the Governor-General did in 1975.

PAUL KEATING: That's true, but we would then be making that decision ourselves. We'd be making a decision to - and again, that person, though, would only be appointed by the Government.

BOB HAWKE: Well, that person was appointed by the Government in 1975.

PAUL KEATING: It would still only be appointed by the Government, and such a change would be done with our understanding and knowledge in making such a change.

BOB HAWKE: How extensive would the changes to the Constitution need to be to prevent what happened in 1975?

BILL HAYDEN: The Constitution would have to be amended in such a way which declared, quite explicitly and unambiguously, that the Senate did not have that authority to delay a budget. Now, if that were done, then the chances of a repetition of 1975 would be nil - unless, of course, the Senate decided that it would oppose or reject a budget. Now, to do that, of course, another amendment, again, would have to be sought.

It seems to me, though, that the chances of getting these sorts of changes - the first one, anyway - in place are extremely minimal.

BOB HAWKE: Alice Springs in the Northern Territory was just one of the 21 towns visited by Malcolm Turnbull's Republic Advisory Committee. They travelled across the country seeking the people's views on the republic. They soon discovered the debate was about more than just replacing the head of state.

UNIDENTIFIED: I would like to see much more radical things done. I think the States are irrelevant. They no longer represent - their boundaries are completely wrong.

SUSAN RYAN: You'd be very well aware, of course, what the process of constitutional change involves, and it does involve a successful referendum or series of referendum proposals, and I think everybody here would understand how difficult it is to achieve a successful referendum proposal in Australia.

MICHAEL KIRBY: My own view is that the republican cause in Australia has got it completely wrong, that it is attempting to create, in effect, a constitutional monarchy without a monarch, and that the minimalist approach is simply a cosmetic change which keeps a monarchical system of government without making the radical changes that, if I were a republican, I'd be seeking to make in Australia: abolishing the States; securing two levels of government, national and local; and probably an elected president with completely different powers than those of the Governor-General. These are radical and true republican notions.

BILL HAYDEN: The opinion polls show the public - between 70 and 80 per cent of them which is much higher than those who want a republic - want to select the president themselves. There's, inherently, a problem there.

BOB HAWKE: What you're saying is that if you were to have a situation where there was a popularly elected president, that there would be a very real possibility of conflict and turmoil between a popularly elected president and a prime minister.

BILL HAYDEN: Oh, yes. Consider this, Bob. You mentioned 1975 and the problems which occurred then. They were problems between the two Houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate - effectively, the Government in the House of Representatives and the Opposition plus other minor parties in the Senate. It was a two-point problem. This could become a three-point problem, with the president going either in the direction of one or the other, but in his own direction, and those things are things which I think probably need more careful exploration than has occurred to this point.

BOB HAWKE: Tinkering with the Constitution by simply swapping the Queen for a president, is now proving to be impossible. Making Australia a republic has turned out to mean radical change. Even basic questions cannot be answered simply. How will Australia's new head of state be appointed or removed? And how powerful will this president be? And this is just the beginning. It's a Pandora's box for Keating and his committee.

In many ways, Australia is still like six separate countries. Each State has its own Queen's representative, so becoming a republic isn't simply just about removing the monarch as Queen of Australia. It's about getting rid of her as the head of six States as well.

For Keating to achieve a unity of the States, will be as rough and tough as any game of Australian Rules football.

TIM FISCHER: I actually think, in the 1990s, it's not so much the benchmark factor of whether a Liberal or a National Party or both oppose or support the question. I think it will be whether there's a dynamic in the smaller States for or against, regardless of what any grouping of parties say, you must examine the Realpolitik situation in the smaller States. The key to any referendum and the carriage of it is, in fact, that requirement - not just a majority of Australian people. But I'd point out to our British friends it requires a majority of States, four of the six States, and it's that second leg -to use a racing term - which is the most critical one in so many of the Australian referenda.

BOB HAWKE: The States are a political quagmire as I vividly remember. Persuading those who voted no to the republic to give up their links with the Crown is a job I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

PAUL KEATING: It's entirely possible for a number of States to maintain governors who are viceregal figures, but I'm not sure whether Her Majesty would be herself enamoured of the idea, that is, if the nation chooses by a majority - and a majority which is also in a majority of States - to become a republic - that is, to have the head of state chosen here - whether she would herself then feel it was reasonable for her to be maintaining this constitutional link to a number of States.

BOB HAWKE: Well that, I think, with respect, would be a contradiction of our whole position. We can't be asking Her Majesty to make a decision for us. We have the responsibility, do we not, either in the way we shape the referendum question or afterwards ....

PAUL KEATING: Oh, absolutely, and let me make this clear, Bob, that it may be, upon reflection, the referendum proposals make it clear that no such option is allowed to exist, or no such option could remain in the event that the nation chooses to have a republic. But you could also frame a set of arrangements where you make the essential change to an Australian head of state, but where a couple of States do stand out, and ....

BOB HAWKE: It would be more messy than now, wouldn't it?

PAUL KEATING: Well, I think so. I think so. And I don't know whether the communities of those States would appreciate, notwithstanding their vote, such an arrangement.

BOB HAWKE: Those who argue the Republic of Oz is merely a smokescreen to cover up the economic ills of this country underestimate Paul Keating's determination. But that determination could come at a hefty price.

MICHAEL KIRBY: The debate will divide the Australian people very severely as it hots up. It will divide people if they are denigrated because they are of an older generation who don't happen to climb on a bandwagon. It will divide people if they're made to feel that they are less Australian because they hold that our Constitution - our Constitution which we developed - is one suitable for our country. It will divide Australians if we're told that one class of us who are of a particular ethnicity from the British Isles - the Anglo-Celts, the old Australia - are in some way to be divided from new Australians who have some greater legitimacy. It will divide Australians if it's made to be thought that we must in some way distance ourselves and be ashamed of these wonderful inherited constitutional freedoms that we've secured from Britain.

BRONWYN BISHOP: We are opposed to change for change sake. The onus remains on those who wish to see a republic come about to show how Australia would benefit. There is no benefit shown. If there was a referendum tomorrow, those people who are proponents of a republic will lose.

BRUCE RUXTON: If Mr Keating envisages a republic in the year 2001, and there is one, please someone, shoot me the day before the republic is declared. Please!

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Australians have got to start to realise that there is sufficient organised opposition to a republic, that it isn't inevitable and that they will have to work hard to persuade their fellow countrymen and women that this is a desirable goal in order to achieve that goal.

PAUL KEATING: I think the referendum will be carried. It's going to put in the right time cycle, after the right sort of debate. But I think the country will embrace it. Now, in the event that they failed, this would be psychologically bad for Australia.

BOB HAWKE: You're pitching the stakes very high, Paul.

PAUL KEATING: Well, it's not a matter of pitching it high, I don't think, Bob. It's just a saying - if you say to the community: Here is a chance to have an Australian person established as your head of state, and they say, 'No, no, thank you - no, no; I'm quite happy with the monarch of Great Britain', well, I think you would say 'Poor fella, my country', wouldn't you?

ANDREW OLLE: Bob Hawke reporting, and wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall when Paul Keating sees his predecessors, nominal republicans both, cutting down his arguments.

It's also interesting to speculate on how Bob Hawke might have felt if, say, Ninian Stephen had publicly raised doubts about some cherished aspects of his prime ministership.

Incidentally, the Daybreak program on Radio National is running a people's poll over the next two weeks for a head of state. Whether it's Queen Elizabeth you fancy or Elizabeth Jolly, if you have a nomination, just write to: The People's Poll, Daybreak, GPO Box 9994, Sydney, 2001, or you can fax on 02 3331362 to take part in this unofficial referendum.