Malcolm Turnbull Says The Postal Survey Was Such A Success That We Might Just Have Another One
Malcolm Turnbull says public enthusiasm for an Australian republic could be measured by a postal survey or plebiscite, because this is how the government works now, I guess.
An outspoken Republican who led the Yes campaign during the unsuccessful referendum in 1999, Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Monday that the question as to whether Australia should become a republic would likely be revived once Queen Elizabeth’s reign comes to an end.
“The first thing you would need to do is have an honest, open discussion about how a president would be elected,” said Turnbull. “Whether the president would be chosen by parliament in a bipartisan two thirds majority — as proposed in ’99 — or directly elected. That is the rock on which the referendum floundered in ’99.”
“You’ve got to have that discussion and it may be that a plebiscite, maybe even a postal survey, given the success of the marriage postal survey, could be one way to deal with that,” he added.
It should be noted that the Prime Minister is being fairly generous with his use of the word ‘success’.
This isn’t the first time Turnbull has spoken about a postal vote in relation to the republican question. In an op-ed for The Australian back in 1997, Turnbull wrote that voluntary postal voting “flies in the face of Australian democratic values” and that such a process would likely disenfranchise large sections of the community.
So yes, he does appear to have softened his position ~ever so slightly~.
— Llewellyn Griffiths (@llament) January 1, 2018
Transitioning from a constitutional monarchy to a republic would require an amendment to the constitution, which would need to be put to the Australian people via a referendum.
Turnbull’s recent remarks came after he was lambasted by former Prime Minister Paul Keating. In an interview with The Australian, Keating said Turnbull had “little or no policy ambition” and “no system of prevailing beliefs”, and questioned whether his position on the republic was just “another chameleon act”.
Turnbull responded by calling Keating’s comments “barely coherent”.