The monarchists need to work harder on getting their story straight. On
24 June, David Flint wrote that the 1999 referendum question, although
“defective,” “did contain two words Mr Turnbull wanted deleted:
‘president’ and ‘republic’.” But yesterday David Elliott, former
National Campaign Director for the monarchists, says: “Nowhere between
popping champagne corks at the ConCon in February 1998 and crying in
their beer on 6 November 1999 did republicans say anything about the
actual question.”

Personally (and this from someone who voted for it)
I think the model was more of a problem than the question. But this
time, Flint is right. Malcolm Turnbull and the republicans did object that the question was
designed by Howard and Minchin to provoke a “no” answer (have a read
of Turnbull’s book, Fighting for the Republic). They didn’t want it
to mention election by parliament, just as the monarchists didn’t want
it to mention the queen. But what did the republicans expect? They knew
Howard was a monarchist all along – why did they insist on putting it
to a vote on his watch?

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey