Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Butler’s outburst a precursor to life in Latham’s Republic.

Download PDFDownload PDF

Senator Ron Boswell National Party - Queensland

Butler’s outburst a precursor to Life in Latham’s Republic Media Release - 5 April 2004

“Richard Butler’s outspoken criticism of US President last Week is a stark reminder of the instability that could eventuate if Australia had a directly elected President,” Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Ron Boswell said today.“Whilst proponents of direct election, like opposition leader, Mark Latham, believe theoretically in the power of the people to decide, the constitutional issues provoked by a directly elected president speaking out on issues affecting the government are complicated and will result in an unstable political environment,” he said.

“Richard Butler has broken convention as Governor of Tasmania by passing comment on President Bush and the US Government. As our constitution currently stands, the government of the day can, and has, rightly request that the Governor refrain from commenting on issues of domestic or foreign policy.

“If Australians had voted to become a republic and replaced the current system of Governors with a directly elected president, the Government would have no powers to moderate the President’s comments.

“The President would believe that they carried a mandate for comment, even if it directly contradicted the policies of the Government of the day.

“Although this seems like an increase in the level of democracy, in reality, it actually hinders strong and effective Government by providing an avenue for constant undermining and questioning of Government policy.

“You only have to observe the political toing and froing of the last week in Brisbane City Council, to see the broader implications of a President being elected, with a different policy agenda to the leader of the majority in the Parliament.

“Australia has enough checks and balances in place already. Traditionally, the voting public have chosen to give the Australian Senate the balance of Power by voting differently in the lower and upper houses.

“A third layer of power would not be productive for Australia in the long term.

“Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham, has declared that the Republic will be back on the agenda, as soon as he becomes Prime Minister. Since becoming Opposition Leader he has also reiterated direct election of a President as his preferred republic model.

“Mark Latham may enjoy the spectacle of constitutional chaos and uncertainly, but I am sure the electors of Australia as well as the international community, which rely on and respect Australia’s political stability will not,” Senator Boswell said.


Media Contact - Paul Leven 07 301 8150