Mr Dreyfus, who is also chairman of the national policy committee overseeing the development of the platform for July’s ALP national conference, said the plebiscite should be held before the next election, not with it.
Such a plebiscite would test opinion and not change the constitution. Mr Dreyfus said it would not commit the Government to the timing of a referendum and there was “no reason not to have the plebiscite this term. The process needs to get under way. There’s every reason to get on with it.”
He said the plebiscite should ask whether people supported having an Australian head of state and should also ask whether people preferred a head of state elected by the public or one chosen by Parliament.
The Labor platform provides for more than one plebiscite. This would allow the first on the principle of a republic and the second on a model…
Without discussing models first, the Australian public will probably think such a plebiscite is a deceptive trick. I don’t use caps very often nowadays, but for emphasis – THISÂ IS A ***VERY*** HIGH RISK OPTION. If such a plebiscite fails – because the politicians pushing for a yes vote just um and ah about models – then it could damage the republic issue and push a realistic referendum further into the future. Without going into the details of the models such a plebiscite is a waste of time and effort.
First discuss models, arrive at one that is satisfactory to the public, and then with wide public support consider electoral options. This plebiscite process is NOT a cunning plan – it was devised when the republican movement didn’t have a clue on how to move forward.