I was there in '98/ '99 and left just before the referendum. I remeber being aghast that people weren't jumping all over getting rid of the queen being the head of state, but then when I read that the plan was to replace her with a government appointed President I could very much see why the republican movement wasn't happy with it. Isn't it essentially true to say that's what you currently have?
Althought the queen appoints the governor general isn't the recommendation made to the queen by the government? It's not as if she gets one of her mates a cushy job.
Yep. Technically she could appoint one of her mates into a cushy jub however, in practice, the GG is chosen by the PM. The Queen appoints him/her based on the PM's recommendation.
Isn't it entirely possible that Johnny bumhole, knew exactly what he was doing and knew that it would be defeated?
What Johnny bumhole did is set up a process where a constitutional convention would be held, and a bunch of elitist mongrels would choose a constitutional model to be proposed in the referendum. The groups invovled in making the decision included a number of monarchist groups. There is a common misconception that the monarchists voted for a model that is most likely to be rejected, and that that is why we ended up with this model. However, the record shows that none of the monarchist groups voted for the proposed model.
The model proposed is the kind of model you'd expect from a bunch of elitists who distrust the voting public. Some of the wankers on the republican side were claiming that if they allowed the public to elect a president, we'd end up with a media celebrity as our head of state.
After the convention, the republican side split in two. One side who wouldn't accept any model other than a directly elected president and therefore joined the no campaign. The basis of this campaign was a promise that after the referendum, the republicans would re-group and propose a new referendum. We were told to reject this referendum so that we'd later have an opportunity to vote on a better constitutional model.
In reality, Howard's unethical conduct in the whole affair is limited to keeping his mouth wired shut on the issue of whether there would be another referendum until the results came in. He then announced that Australia had made their choice and there wouldn't be another referendum.
We then had to wait until 2007 before we managed to get rid of Howard and by then the national mood had changed to the extent that most people were more worried about the cost of a referendum than the fact that our head of state is an unelected foreigner.
In 2009, on the 10 year anniversary of the referendum, the Australian Republican Movement managed to get a debate started again, but it was hosed down by Kevin Rudd. Despite being a republican, Rudd said it wasn't on the agenda for his first term. The ARM have suggested that the next opportunity for debate will probably be when the prince of piffle is inaugurated.
That said, I did some reading on the Gough Whitlam affair while I was there and the mere thought of a foriegn appointed head of state sacking the prime minister made my skin crawl, although I'm aware there was more to it than that. Rumour has it that he was about to deny the US the renewal of the lease on land that they own not far from Alice Springs. And the US put pressure on to get Whitlam sacked. Don't know how true that is.
As an aisde, on that note. I was in Alice Springs and I'm told occasionally people from the base nearby come into town or are picked up on the road. Anytime anyone from the base is asked what they do there, there answer is always the same: 'I'm a janitor.'
I was born 2 years after the whole Whitlam thing so I can't speak from experience. My understanding is that there was a situation where the Labor party had control of the lower house and the Liberals had control of the upper house. Because of this, the Liberal party (lead by Malcolm Fraser) wanted Whitlam to call an early election. Whitlam's refusal to do so Lead Fraser to create a blockade in the senate until an election was called. They literally blocked every single bill that passed through the lower house.
Fraser then called for the GG to disolve parliament and Whitlam called for some other kind of action to stop the blockade in the senate. The GG went with Fraser and disolved parliament, appointing Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister.