Plans by Malcolm Turnbull to attend a fundraising dinner for the republican movement this weekend have been branded "provocative" by monarchists.
The Australian Republican Movement (ARM) has confirmed it will host Mr Turnbull at a dinner on Saturday night at Sydney University.
"It is a provocative move because he's thumbing his nose in the eyes of the majority of Liberals who support a monarchy," chair of the Australian Monarchist League Phillip Benwell told The World Today.
But ARM chairman Peter FitzSimons said he was "absolutely thrilled" to have Mr Turnbull speaking at the dinner.
"It is an occasion to honour those who've got us to this point and the Prime Minister is, of course, at the forefront of our founding fathers and mothers," he said.
It is believed to be the first republican event Mr Turnbull has agreed to attend since becoming Prime Minister.
A former leader of the republican movement, Mr Turnbull has, as Prime Minister, avoided attempts to progress the issue.
Mr Benwell said Mr Turnbull's attendance at the dinner would be a sign he had switched to "actively supporting" a republic.
"This is something that we've been fearing because he's obviously looking for issues that will establish his credibility and the republic is obviously one of them and we would caution him on proceeding along that pathway," he said.
Once again our fearless legislators have combined their collective might to destroy democracy in order to save it.
A ring of steel, with spy cameras and border guards, will be deployed to encircle the citadel of Parliament House. This is not, as some might have hoped, to keep the politicians in, but to keep the people out – a worthy objective in a system which has always prided itself on its openness and inclusiveness.
The excuse is, as always, security – who knows when a terrorist will attempt to hurl a custard pie at Cory Bernardi? There have not actually been any terrorist attacks, and none are anticipated, but you can’t be too careful. And the bonus will be that it will help to keep away the riff-raff – those who would dare to disrupt the solemn processes of the deliberations of their betters.
This, of course, is what happened just a fortnight ago: a group of protesters tried to superglue themselves to the public (as it used to be called) gallery and shouted messages about the detention camps of Manus and Nauru. And in the process they interrupted question time in the House of Representatives. The sacred ritual was delayed for nearly half an hour before the protesters were forcibly removed, after which both sides excoriated the hiatus as an attack on democracy itself; members vied in hyperbole about the outrage.
No one came close to the former Liberal Attorney General, Billy Snedden, who once described anti-war demonstrators as “political bikies pack-raping democracy”, but the current lot did their best.
And indeed, they were right to feel that the work of our elected representatives should not be compromised by slogans, bluster, insult and abuse – that, after all, is the job of the honourable members themselves.
The daily 40 minutes devoted to question time has long since devolved into an unedifying cage fight – which is, perhaps, why the ring of steel has become an appropriate metaphor. Nothing of substance or interest is allowed to intrude in the tirades and ranting of the proponents.
Answers to questions are no longer accorded even token relevance, which hardly matters as the questions are generally equally without value: constant predictable baiting from the opposition and a stream of pre-packaged Dorothy Dixers for the government.
The Coalition's tenuous hold on the Lower House has been shaken by a Liberal National Party malcontent's threat to quit Government.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting Liberal National Party MP George Christensen has again threatened to resign, citing Federal Government inaction in a dispute between a foreign-owned sugar mill and cane growers in his north Queensland electorate.
The ABC has confirmed Mr Christensen penned a "letter of demand" about the sugar industry stoush to the Prime Minister.
The ABC understands Mr Christensen contemplated threatening to resign in the letter to Malcolm Turnbull. But he decided not to send it.
Mr Christensen has refused to comment, but an LNP source said his commitment to the Government appeared to be a "day-by-day" proposition.
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