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A safe republic confirmed by eminent constitutional lawyers, says ARM



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^ T o : Political editor PLS Resource Development

7 October

A safe republic confirmed by eminent constitutional lawyers, says ARM The chair o f the Australian Republican Movement, Malcolm Turnbull, today welcomed the endorsement o f a Yes vote at the November 6 referendum by former Governor General Sir Zehnan and former Chief Justices o f the High Court Sir Anthony Mason and Sir Gerard Brennan.

Speaking at a Victorian Law Institute function in Melbourne, Mr Turnbull said the comments by Sir Zelman, Sir Gerard and Sir Anthony exposed further the silliness o f the scare campaign by No Republic advocates who claim the republic proposal is unsafe and will lead to radical change.

“Now the monarchists will say that Sir Zelman, Sir Gerard and Sir Anthony are wrong - but we should be very carefid to see who is saying that, and to also understand what they are actually inferring,11 said Mr Turnbull.

“When three of the nation's most eminent constitutional lawyers who have been at the centre o f constitutional affairs in this nation for many years say the changes to be voted on next month are safe, and even safer than the present system, and Kerry Jones, Senator Nick Minchin and Professor David Flint say they are wrong, I know who is more credible with the Australian community,77 Mr Turnbull said.

‘‘Scare mongenng by the monarchists that having an Australian instead of the Queen as Head of State will lead to national disaster and dictatorships is farcical, and the comments by these eminent gentlemen today further expose how ridiculous and misleading this scare mangering really is."

“The referendum proposal will give us the kind of head o f state our system of government requires - somebody which is above party politics, and has wide community support and is impartial. Victorians have good reason to understand how important that is.

“Shortly Sir James Gobbo, the Governor o f Victoria, may be faced with Mr Bracks claiming he has sufficient support from Independents to form a government and with Mr Kennet suggesting he does not - and advising a new election be held. Or vice -versa.

“The Governor will exercise his discretion with complete impartiality, but can anybody trust the Governor to do that if instead o f being Sir James Gobbo she or he was the directly elected candidate backed by the Liberal Party or the directly elected Labor candidate for Governor?77

Mr Turnbull also challenged direct electionists who are campaigning for a No vote in November to explain to the Australian people why they want Prince Charles as King Charles ΙΠ to be our next head o f state.

“The reality o f a No vote is that our next Head of State will be King Charles IK,” said Mr Turnbull.

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Australian Republican Movement Limited A.CN. 054 557 505 Telephone; +(61 -2) 92678022 Facsimile: +(6l -2) 92678155 PO Box A870 Sydney South NSW 1235 Level 11,60 Park Street Sydney NSW 2000 Toll free: 1800 80 2000

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“And people like Phil Cleary who want this to be the case by encouraging people to vote No have a responsibility to tell us why this will be better than having an Australian, chosen by Australians, as our Head of State.”

M r Turnbull also challenged Mr Cleary and fellow Vote No campaigners Ted Made and Clem Jones to make public what type o f direct election republic they favoured.

“Under their fuzzy vision for an Australian republic - which we know nothing about and which they seem to want to keep in the cupboard - how will the president be nominated? How will she or he be elected? Will the election include preferential voting? Will election be by simple majority? And i f there are many candidates, will someone with say, the highest vote at 17 per cent, be a unifying and popular president?”

M r Tumbull said if Mr Cleary, Mr Mack and Mf Jones were advocating a $60 million national direct election every four or five years, they need to tell people what type o f republic they are holding out for.

“They are telling us to vote No because they can deliver something better - but what is it, and does a $60 million national direct election every five years really appeal to Australians?”

October 7,1999

Enquiries: Wayne Bums, communications director, 0416 048 567.