Letter: Why Australians voted `no'

KATHY MARKS is wrong to claim that "it will take a brave political leader to tackle this profoundly divisive issue [of an Australian republic] once again" ("Australia keeps Her Majesty", 7 November). The "no" camp included many supporters of an Australian republic. The principle of republicanism is thus hardly a divisive one. What exercised most minds was how a future president should be selected. Had the referendum not been muddied by those determined to include what was known to be an unpopular option (viz a president selected by parliament rather than by the people), the "yes" vote would have won convincingly. Even with such doubts surrounding the proposed constitutional model, almost half the voters indicated their approval for a republic. In the future the only brave political leader who courts danger when dealing with Australia's evolution to a republic will be one who tries to stymie it.