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Australian press comment on their referendum to decide whether the country should become a republic
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The Independent Culture
Sydney Morning


Change in Australia, a simple adjustment to reality, is made to appear impossible. It is made to appear impossible not by rational argument but by playing on false fears and by misrepresentation. These centre on what has become the great spoiler in the referendum debate: the manner of choosing and the security of tenure of the president. There is widespread support for the direct election of the president. The possibility of a directly elected president cannot be ruled out but requires more examination of constitutional implications than has been articulated. The great deception practised by those monarchists who have exploited the natural enthusiasm for a directly elected president has been to divide the republican vote. They have succeeded in persuading many republicans to vote "no" on the spurious suggestion that there would then be an opportunity to vote for a direct-election model republic. In reality, the defects in the presidential model now proposed are more imagined than real. The risk of a "politicians' president" would be greater under a direct election model. The case in favour of the proposed republic and an Australian head of state is as strong as can be. Australians who care for the future of their country and its growth in independence and maturity should not let fear and misinformation deflect them from voting "yes".

Canberra Times

In general people are in favour of replacing the Queen and Governor-General with a president; having a president with powers like those of the governor- general, and electing the president. They are against a president with powers like the US President, or running the country day to day, and they are against having the president selected by the PM or elected by Parliament. The opinion is consistent with a nation-wide desire to directly elect the president, with the added dimension that people want to directly elect even if the president is to be purely ceremonial. This indicates that people want a direct election for a ceremonial president, but will accept the indirect election on offer in order to get a republic.

The Daily Telegraph

The debate over the republic has been both laughable and bitterly disappointing to intelligent people on either side of the argument. But what is clear is that those likely to be responsible for the defeat of the referendum are dissatisfied republicans, not monarchists. Regrettably, the republic model Australians are being asked to consider on Saturday is a clumsy, ill-constructed beast that fails to meet the expectations and aspirations of those who are proud of their nation, its culture and its history."

(Piers Akerman)

The Australian

The perpetrators of the great hoax have no shame. The likely defeat of the republic this weekend will be delivered by republican voters who think that they will get a second chance soon. It is a grand delusion. People who say the issue won't go away should realise the republican idea has been around for 150 years. Its great flaw has been the assumption of inevitability - an assumption that has always undermined the immediate prospect of progress. People who think another referendum will be put if this question is convincingly defeated are kidding themselves. Australia is trapped between a legally imposed compulsory voting democracy and an impoverished civic culture that has little regard for its political institutions and little inclination to sustain education about them. (Paul Kelly)