Wednesday 23rd of January 2019

the blubber of soft repubicanroyalism as long as I am PM...


IF ANYONE had seriously thought that the year ended well for the Prime Minister, promising renewed leadership, enhanced authority and clearer policy direction, his rapid advance and equally rapid retreat on the republic would have brought them back to ground. The new year had barely begun before the reinvigorated Turnbull, buoyed by the rare success of the same-sex marriage legislation, showed himself to be no different from the previous year’s disappointing model.

On the morning of 1 January, Turnbull surprised everyone by unilaterally declaring his support for a renewed push towards a republic, floating the prospect of a postal survey to gauge popular support. By early afternoon the same day, duly chastised by his internal party critics, he had rescinded it. It was an exceptionally swift political U-turn – even for this Prime Minister – and a brutal reminder of how far the once brash, uncompromising, staunch republican has fallen. In just four hours, Turnbull had revealed the extent of his political humiliation — a leader unable to control his or his party’s agenda and reduced to a supine shell of the man who had promised so much.

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One mistake made by many people is to believe that Trumble "promised so much". He never did "promise anything" else but the same Turdy Abbott hubris, with a different face. He is still soft in the belly despite having lost some weight and not fitting his kerozene blue suits... I felt a bit sad mind you that he got fined for not wearing a life-jacket when launching his 4 foot dinghy. The blokes on The Fishing Show (channel 73?) never wear one of these contraptions anyway... Mind you, they are not there, standing like a stoned mullet...

pathetic mal got his arse kicked once already...

“I mean, how pathetic. No great state has ever had the monarch of another country as its head of state. Australia is a diminished country, diminished by its own hand, maintaining the monarchy and our reliance upon the sovereignty of Great Britain.”

Mr Turnbull declared himself an Australian republican and Elizabethan after meeting with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace last July.

Mr Turnbull said during the Queen’s reign he would not be reviving his campaign for a republic, which he spearheaded during the failed 1999 referendum as co-founder of the Australian Republic Movement (ARM).

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not a leaky bucket but a sieve-filing...


The Cabinet Files reveal national security breaches, NBN negotiations, welfare reform plansBy political reporter Ashlynne McGhee and Michael McKinnon

Updated January 31, 2018 15:40:40

This was not a leak — here's what it took to unlock national secrets


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generous to a fault, to himself...

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is Australia's largest political donor, according to new disclosures published today.

The disclosures, from the period covering the last federal election, have finally been published — more than a year and a half after voters filled out their ballots.

The information includes a $500,000 pledge to the Liberal Party from Ros Packer, widow of billionaire Kerry Packer, and a $30,000 donation to the NSW Labor Party in May last year from Hong Kong Kingson Investment, the company of China-linked donor Chau Chak Wing.

Malcolm Turnbull's Coalition won the 2016 election by securing a slim, one-seat majority in Parliament.

He confirmed last year he donated to the party's campaign, but until now his payments — one of $1 million in October 2016 and one of $750,000 in December 2016 — had not been disclosed. Both payments were not formally made until after the election.

Experts have called for a system of real-time disclosure to improve transparency, however the timing of Mr Turnbull's donations highlights potential flaws within such a scheme.


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Buying the PMship? Of course... Otherwise there would be no point for Malcolm to fork out the cash... Meanwhile:


Advertisements spruiking the benefits of coal and mining were the biggest political expenditure by third-party groups in Australia last year, dwarfing public contributions from unions and GetUp, new data reveals.

The Australian Electoral Commission disclosures for the 2016-17 financial yearwere released on Thursday showing both major parties at the federal level declare more than $30m in donations and other receipts including public election funding.

The AEC disclosures confirm that Malcolm Turnbull was the biggest single donor to his own party, making a $1.75m contribution to the Liberal coffers just before the 2 July 2016 election.


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expensive but as useful as an old non-serrated stamp...

Gadfly has been receiving favourable reports from the Dart on the recently released biography Ma’am Darling, 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret, written by Craig Brown of Private Eye fame. 

One of the angles pursued by Brown is that the monarch is required to avoid saying or doing anything unpredictable, hence the author noted a diary entry by George V: “The poor archduke and his wife were assassinated this morning in Serbia ... Stamps after lunch, bed at 11.30.” 

This may also explain why monarchs such as Brenda converse by asking airy questions such as “How long have you been here?” or “Have you come far?” – which apparently gives the impression of a “radiating common sense”. Brown explains:

“... the Queen has managed to avoid saying anything striking or memorable to anyone. This is an achievement, not a failing: it was her duty and destiny to be dull, to be as useful and undemonstrative as a postage stamp, her life dedicated to the near-impossible task of saying nothing of interest. Once when Gore Vidal was gossiping with Princess Margaret, he told her that Jackie Kennedy had found the Queen ‘pretty heavy going’. ‘But that’s what she’s there for’, explained the Princess.” 


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Time to place the republican model on the front burner...


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when trumble messed up in 1999.....

20 years ago, the last Constitutional Convention was debating an Australian Republic but as a result of its decision, the Republican movement was to slip, stagger and ultimately shatter, writes history editor Dr Glenn Davies.

THERE IS DEFINITELY a retro-culture moment happening in Australia.

The revisiting of Countdown episodes over the past six months on the ABC, supported by the success of the earlier Molly Meldrum mini-series, was so popular that Countdown-era music became the theme of the 2017 New Year’s Eve concert at Sydney Harbour.

It is worth remembering that the infamous Countdown interview with Prince Charles is still the most awkward British royalty moment in Australian television history.

But it is definitely the 1990s that appear to be making a come-back. The Spice Girls are reforming, Oasis music has been re-found as a result of the Manchester bombing, scrunchies can be found again next to bathroom basins around the country and don’t even start me with the re-release of Cadbury Caramilk bars.

Another come-back in Australian politics is the Australian Constitution. The dual citizenship fiasco that has recently engulfed Federal politics has highlighted the existence and influence of the Australian Constitution. The High Court decisions terminating a slather of Australian Federal politicians have sent the message the Australian Constitution can’t be ignored.

The re-emergence of discussions about the Australian Constitution around family dinner tables, on buses on the way to work and at the front-bar in pubs, brings back memories of February 1998, when the daily debates and comments of the 152 delegates to the Constitutional Conventionbeing held in Canberra, were on the front page of national newspapers.

The 1998 Constitutional Convention was held in Old Parliament House, Canberra from the 2-13 February 1998. Its stated purpose was to consider the pros and cons of removing the Monarchy from a role in Australian government and law and changing the Australian Constitution to include a republican form of government.

The Constitutional Convention was convened by former Prime Minister John Howard to discuss issues related to three broad questions about whether or not Australia should become a republic. The three questions identified for discussion by the Prime Minister were:

Whether Australia should become a republic;

Which republic model should be put to the electorate to consider, against the status quo; and

In what time frame and under what circumstances might any change be considered.


If the consensus was "yes", then a republican model was to be decided on, so it could be put to the Australian people in a referendum on 6 November 1999.

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not the birth certificate of a nation...

Romaine Rutnam reviews Dr Benjamin T. Jones' new book calling for a Republic of Australia based on democracy, meritocracy and community.

I DREW BREATH reading the third sentence.

Research Fellow Dr Benjamin T. Jones dedicates his new book, This Time: Australia's Republican Past and Future, ‘to the memory of John Hirst, historian, republican, friend’.

He starts the introduction quoting Hirst’s 1994 first line: ‘Australia was born in chains and is not yet fully free’.

Then, Jones states: ‘Some may cringe at the implications’.

Jones shows – as in his previous publication he co-edited with Mark McKenna in 2013 – collaboration with Indigenous colleagues is essential. He reminds us: ‘As Indigenous academic Anthony Dillon stresses, let’s not become "just a republic" but "a just republic"'.

The author’s new book is satisfyingly balanced. It has two major sections ‘The Past’and ‘The Future’ each comprising four chapters, bookended by an introduction and conclusion.

As a 1969 immigrant to Australia, I found his take on the past useful.

On reading the first four rousing quotes dating from 1854 to 1890, I wonder, with Jones, whether:

Australia’s early republican heroes have largely been forgotten … Perhaps [because] they are an embarrassment also. They remind us that a republic has been on the national to-do list for over 160 years.

Lessons Jones draws from history in his chapter ‘How to lose a referendum’ include:

  • The British ‘bureaucrats of empire’ had learned from the United States revolution. There was no need pressing the issue of Australia’s independence if some democracy was conceded. He suggests that ‘The designation of inevitability … at once legitimises the cause while robbing it of impetus’.
  • The debates in the 1960s on decimalising Australia’s currency and what to call it, as well as debates lasting two decades before a national anthem was decided on by Prime Minister Bob Hawke in 1984 — in time for the Los Angeles Olympics. These showed what Jones calls ‘the schizophrenic nature of Australian identity’. If we were not still British, what were we?
  • The 1999 referendum loss demonstrated that Republicans must unite. They must want change more than they want their favoured model.

Jones addresses the future by offering suggestions, as conversation starters.

In 'Chapter 5, Why do we want a republic anyway?' he shows by quoting the existing preamble in Australia’s Constitution that:

Like the Constitution itself, the preamble has no inspiring language… It is not the birth certificate of a nation but the legal framework of a federated British dominion.

His alternative is simple, short (76 words) and inspiring, beginning: 'We, the Australian people, hold these three dear: democracy, meritocracy and community'.

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time to ditch lizzie...

In Friday the federal court handed down its judgment in my action against the National Archives of Australia seeking the release of the “palace letters” between the Queen and the governor general, Sir John Kerr, regarding the Whitlam dismissal. In a stark decision, Justice John Griffiths held that these historically significant letters, written at a time that he recognised as “one of the most controversial and tumultuous events in the modern history of the nation”, should remain secret. Although Griffiths noted the “clear public interest in the content of the records”, he found that “the legal issues … do not turn on whether there is a public interest in the records being published”.


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trumble remains our best royal republican...

British republicans say they are "disappointed" Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not try to stop the Prince of Wales from being anointed as the next head of the Commonwealth.

At a Commonwealth leaders "retreat" in the grandeur of the Queen's home, Windsor Castle, it was agreed Prince Charles would become the next symbolic leader of the 53-nation club.

During the opening of the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, the Queen declared it was her "sincere wish" her son eventually get the non-hereditary role.


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Time to give Trumble, Lizzie and Charlie the flick... As Palmer used to say: "bye bye..."


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