Sunday 23rd of January 2022

the republic was in good hands...

the republican

It's moving. The support for the monarchy is becoming entrenched in Generation Y. The February 6-7, 2016 Weekend Australian confirmed what the Australian Female Press has been telling us all along. Young people are more interested in royal tits, royal bums, royal bumps and royal bubs than their naughty revolutionary left-wing trotskyist parents. 

Of course, it's easier to believe in fairy tales of paupers marrying princes all over the shop, when this happens once in a blue moon on the other side of the planet, in the house of Denmark, than imagine being part of the Russian revolution. So, little girls dream on with their glass slippers on every night hoping a good fairy will send them their pumpkin carriage. The rats are already there in the cupboard.

The royals are good business for the women magazines. They won't publish anything that could rock the boat — and most of the blokes of generation Y could not care less as long as they are allowed to brew their own beer and fiddle with the carbie of their souped-up V8. When they look at a women's mag, it's only to survey how their female idols of last year now look like bibendums on steroid or a broomstick with no brush — due to diets gone wrong and plastic surgery near misses.

The stars are ever so present in their relationships going bust mostly due to their best mates, while to say the least — apart from the people's princess saga, Diana, the royals are faithful to each others. It's their duty to corner the market of faithfulness for the magazines — and the Aussie mags are the most fetching in the entire planet.

Amongst Generation Y who love the royals, there are those who study "history" we are told by the Weekend Australian, and knows good value in royaldom.

We are also told by Paul Kelly, that Turnbull non-call on the republic was justified by a soft market on republican flags and underpants — due to the "young foggies" stymying progressives' dream. Paul Kelly thinks it's fashion (changing style of underwear because we are told to change by women magazines) and lack of passion. Gus thinks the lack of passion is mostly due to the fact no-one has developed a "republican" App for generation thumb-phone, while there are far too many games with thrones in them.

I also think Malcolm had other ideas. See toon above...

and of course...

And, of course, the republican ideal was never mentioned in the bible... I wonder how the Yanks managed to pull this one. They possibly hated the Poms more than we do now and they did not have a ready made dynasty to lead them out of the Egyptian wilderness. But who knows with Trump bubbling along, one wonders about the empty space between the American ears.


And by the way, young girls in America dream less about becoming "princesses" and more about become "cheerleaders" to a Trump candidacy meeting..

the Great Wentworth Stack...

Another argument against plebiscites is that it makes it harder to find a place for “star candidates”. High profile business people, one senior Liberal told me, want a coronation. They don’t want their reputation damaged by preselection loss.

But perhaps the favourite argument against plebiscites is the capacity to stack branches. This was famously deployed in the high profile fight for the seat of Wentworth, a younger Turnbull decided to have a tilt against Peter King. New members joining Wentworth branches ahead of the cut off for preselection numbered in the thousands. The preselection rules for the Great Wentworth Stack, as it became known, had a higher component of local preselectors.

This week Abbott, as a longstanding enemy of the moderates, wrote a reference for Villatora, a campaigner for reform. Praising Villatora’s work, Abbott wrote: “One particular faction has so come to dominate state executive and state council that good people are discouraged from joining the party or becoming active in it.

“Like John Howard, Barry O’Farrell, Mike Baird and so many others, you have swiftly come to appreciate that the best way to combat the sway of factions – and to encourage good people to join our party – is to give all our members an equal say in the most important job our party does: that of selecting candidates.”

Turnbull famously disagreed that the party was run by factions in an address at the NSW state council soon after he won office.

malcolm in the muddle...

Many were prepared to put up with the first act of Waiting for Malcolm in the belief that somehow, sometime, we were approaching a climax. But the tax debate shows we might be left hanging, writes Mungo MacCallum.

As the Coalition troops file back into their party meetings for yet another indecisive week in Canberra, they could be forgiven for chanting: "One, two, three, four; what are we campaigning for?"

To which their glorious leader and his reluctant treasurer might be forgiven for responding, in unlikely unison: "Five, six, seven, eight; we need more time to cogitate."

Or perhaps the more apposite rhyme might be meditate, or procrastinate, or even vegetate. Not quite as snappy as a traditional Abbott three-worder, but then we live, we are told, in more eloquent times.

But the problem for the party room, and for their long-suffering constituents, is not the fluency but the delivery - or at least a promise they can seriously consider.

The suspicion that the Earl of Wentworth was more into speechifying than action has been simmering for a long time. It is now reaching boiling point - not yet overflowing into open rebellion, but certainly causing real concern as Newspoll, that infallible indicator so heavily relied on by Malcolm Turnbull to assert his supremacy to Tony Abbott, has come crashing to earth, with the election result too close to call and even the popularity of their apparently invincible Prime Minister falling from stratospheric to merely mortal levels.

They were prepared to put up with the first act of Waiting for Malcolm in the belief that somehow, sometime, they were approaching a climax. But we are now well into the second act, and still nothing is happening, or is even being seriously foreshadowed.

The disillusionment with Turnbull is, to some extent, predictable; he could never live up to the hope and the hype. But what is genuinely surprising and alarming is that the disregarded and dismissed figure of Bill Shorten is, almost unbelievably, setting the agenda. Even the Government's most avid supporters among the shock jocks of commercial radio and the demagogues of the Murdoch tabloids have been forced to acknowledge that, however much they dislike the Opposition leader and his policies, at least he has some. The contrast with the dithering on the other side of the chamber cannot be ignored.


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a grown up nation...

A French visitor with whom I was talking Australian history recently asked: “What will Australia be when it grows up?”

That’s easy, I responded. It will be a place that has struck treaties with its first peoples as a sincere step to conciliation; gives all adults who love each other the legal right to marry; engenders a culture of respect for women; is not only tolerant but inclusive of minorities; has politicians who demonstrate genuine compassion to refugees and does not cynically demonise them. And much else besides …

Oh yeah – and, of course, it’ll be a republic.

An Australian republic may not be the issue that burns foremost in our national social and political consciousness. But republicanism is, for many progressive Australians, a fundamental element of the nationhood to which we aspire.

Is it first cab off the rank? Certainly not, when you look at the other aspirations I’ve just run through. But that doesn’t mean it ought be kicked down the road indefinitely or until the Queen pegs out, which, given her apparently stealthy genes, might be decades away yet.

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