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Address to National Party by Mrs. Kerry Jones Saturday March 1 1997



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ADDRESS TO NATIONAL PARTY BY MRS KERRY JONES

SATURDAY MARCH 1 1997

I'm delighted to be here today and tell you why my colleagues and I do not want a republic for Australia. The reasons we feel are obvious and clear. Unfortunately they are not yet very well understood by most Australians with reports* showing that 80% of us don't have a clue how our current system of government works.

And that is what this debate is about. Republicans in Australia are full of a lot of emotion, but not a lot of fact. "Tolerance and mutual respect" and even "symbols" actually have nothing to do with the debate, yet republicans try to hijack the debate with emotional rhetoric regarding perceived ties to England or Womens' weekly

stories such as Princess Di selling her dresses for charity!

Do not be fooled! This debate is about Australia only. These republicans have to be made accountable by you, the people of our nation. These republicans must be able to irrevocably show you a republic is better than what we've got, can offer the same

safeguards as what we have now, that they can come up with a better constitution than what we've got and that they can guarantee control of a political president, and a future Australia

with the stability and unity that we take for granted.

And what of our values and symbols? Our tolerance as a nation? Let them evolve and grow as they have to make us modern Australia. Let us be proud of being the sixth oldest working democracy in the world. Evolution not revolution!

NOW FOR THE FACIS:

1) Australia is a totally independent and sovereign nation with our own Australian head of State, our Governor-General. Our forefathers in 1901 united the disparate colonies through Federation. They took the best from a number of constitutions around the world to give us what I believe is the best through a

series of conferences and acts culminating in the Statute of Westminster and the Australia Act we became totally independent.

2)The very best part of our system is it guarantees us a non political head of State, a referee, an umpire above politics who keeps a check on the politicians.

3) Any republic will give you a politician as president. Through whichever means of appointment that president will be elected and

* Civic Experts Group Report commissioned by the Keating Government, 1995.

with very real powers such as power to dismiss the prime minister

and/or the parliament that president will become not only another politician Australia can't afford but also an extremely powerful one.

4) Rewriting the nation's constitution is extremely complex. All the interest groups will want their say. Currently the constitution evolves and grows with the times as part of a complex system including the government and the judiciary.

5) And for the emotional misinformation the republicans so often sprout? A republic will not improve trade or relations overseas; it will not address the pressing problems such as unemployment, the environment, and health issues. It will cost us a lot both financially

and emotionally with the potential to divide us as Australians. It is not even something we ever rate in the top ten issues of priority. And the inevitability argument? Well nothing is inevitable!

And finally the republicans cannot agree on what they want! There is no such thing as an Australian republic! There are 116 republics in the world and I believe not one works as well as Australia. Why risk it for your future and future generations?

Remember, power corrupts. A powerful political president in Australia will always have this potential. History has , shown time and time again that presidents often don't work. On the other hand non political heads of State, in Australia our Governor-General, are

the best thing we can find to protect all the people not those who may have voted for them.

I believe the members of the National Party, like our 16,500 Supporters of Australia's Constitutional Monarchy, recognise our system of government as probably the best in the world. Why should we even fall into the trap being set by people with

republican agendas, and discuss alternative systems of government, all of which guarantee getting rid of the non political head of State and replacing the institution of the Crown with a powerful Australian in the job of powerful president.

If it Aint broke don't fix it?.