The Pickering Post
Tuesday, 11th December 2018

If you would like to be involved or support the upkeep and further development of this site, it would be very welcome no matter how small.


Paul Zanetti

Paul Zanetti is a Walkley award winning syndicated cartoonist with over 30 years in the media. He blogs at


The Australian Republican Movement chairman Peter ‘Fitzy’ FitzSimons assures us that his preferred model for a republic means "nothing will change". That raises the obvious question, “If nothing will change, then why change?”

I’ve taken a look at Fitzy’s republic and it’s built mostly on a couple of negative motivators: fear and loathing. 

Firstly, fear by the ARM that Australians are pretty happy with the way things are, so perhaps unmotivated Australians may not want to change to a republic. The ARM boss has chosen to shuffle along the dispassionate while simultaneously pacifying the nervous herds with a small anaemic republic, to sail it through with as little fuss as possible. Nothing to worry about, folks - just sign on the dotted line. 

Secondly, Fitzy’s comments reveal a personal loathing for the monarchy.

I’m an Itie, son of an immigrant Italian so I have no motivating, historic, cultural or political sentiments for a republic one way or the other. Happy the way it is. Happy to change if convinced it’s for the better. No bias or preference. 

The place is stable and secure, partly because of our political system founded on the monarchy. If a republic contributes to a better place, tell us how and why. Loathing the royals isn’t a reason.

One hiccup I’ve flagged early on is that Fitzy wants a republic without a President. 

He wants us to keep the Governor General as Head of State in place of a President (to avoid scaring the horses). 

Softly softly. Fitzy promises us there’s no difference to what we have now. Just without the Queen. 

We’ll keep her historic representative, the Governor General. Hence why Fitzy says “nothing will change”. 

It’s a Claytons republic. The republic you have when you still cling to traditional ties to the monarchy. A Governor General is the title of an office-holder appointed to represent the monarch of a sovereign state in the governing of an independent realm. The half pregnant model. 

It’s assumed we’re too ‘nervous’ to embrace a republic, so we need to be made as comfy as possible. 

In his address to the National Press Club to launch his re-energised republic campaign, Fitzy referred to the ‘Nervous Nellies’, telling us that historically ‘Nellie’ has been wrong, that everything turns out fine. 

Truth is, the referendum of 16 years ago fell over because it was proposed that the politicians pick the President. 

A politicians' President, not a people's President. 

So the people blew a big fat raspberry at that idea. They will again if they want the Parliament electing the Head of State. 

I reckon Australians are ready for a President in place of the Governor General – as long as we can directly vote for our Head of State. But this model blocks that. It's the same mistake made by Malcolm Turnbull as ARM chairman 16 years ago. 

In the US and elsewhere the people vote directly for the President so why not here? Are we, the people, that untrustworthy? 

The broken model is being sold to us again, only this time without a President. 

The sales spiel is pretty much 'let’s get rid of the Queen because she’s an old aristocratic lady who lives in a palace in a far off land.' 

You don’t sell a Ford by rubbishing a Holden. 

The monarchy is as popular as ever, thanks largely to two young, well respected, royals – Kate and Wills (and bubs). They’re polite, dutiful, in love and let’s face it charming and good looking - perfect magazine cover material. As superficial as that sounds, it counts. 

The question Fitzy wants to put via a referendum is this:

“Do you support replacing the British Monarch with an Australian citizen as the Australian Head of State?”

Of course that will get a resounding ‘yes’ by the majority. 

But it doesn’t tell the full story, and it’s misleading. 

The transparent question would be:

“Do you support an Australian republic with a Governor General as the Australian Head of State, elected by the politicians?”

Not so palatable, is it?

But it’s what you’ll get if you vote yes. 

The transparent question highlights that the pollies get to choose our Head of State, not the people. It also discloses we don’t get a President. What we do get is a Governor General, with strings tied historically back to the monarchy.

It’s a nothing model. “Nothing will change.”

Fitzy is also at pains to tell us, “It is time for us to be entirely self-governing…Australia is mature enough to run our own affairs, and must be seen to be so.”

The flaw in this argument is that it assumes we’re not self-governing already nor are we mature enough to run our own affairs now. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. We have our own elections, at federal, state and local levels, independent of Britain or the monarchy. 

Our laws are made by our elected representatives. We hold our own plebiscites, we have our own referenda, we pay our own taxes to our own sovereign state – no funds are funnelled back to the UK or the monarchy. 

Simply, we’re already self-governing and mature. The Queen or the monarchy have no say over how we run our affairs. The Governor General simply ticks off laws now, and would do so under Fitzy’s plan. Her Majesty just doesn’t stick her noise in, as implied. 

Fitzy explains his model here:

“At the moment the system for selecting the Governor-General is very simple. The Prime Minister, the democratically elected leader of the Australian people, makes his or her choice, and then writes a letter to Her Majesty The Queen, seeking from the hereditary head of Great Britain – occupying the most entrenched position of elitism in the world – her approval for this decision.

I propose a single change, the minimalist model, with no bells, no whistles and no postage stamp.

Everything stays the same, starting with the title of "Governor-General and including the convention that the Prime Minister chooses that person; including their reserve powers, and including the writing of the letter seeking permission.

But, and here is the rub, we simply save the price of a postage stamp – instead of sending that letter external mail to the British Queen, the Prime Minister sends it internal mail to a joint sitting of the Parliament of the people, to seek a two-thirds majority.”

Soooo.....when it all boils down to it, we change our system to save the price of a postage stamp?

Wouldn’t we get the same result if the PM sent the Queen an email? This is the 21st century and I’m sure she has an email account.

And let’s be honest, the PM does not seek ‘approval’ from Her Majesty the Queen for the choice of Governor General . The PM tells the Queen who he’s chosen and she ticks it off. It’s a formality. A non issue.

Her Majesty doesn’t approve, accept or reject the PM’s choice.

Starting to get the picture? The Fitzy sales spin is obscured with smoke, mirrors and opaque notions.

Fitzy pleads that the case of a republic should be above politics, that it should be bipartisan. 

Here’s where I wholeheartedly agree. 

But this plea is empty when it comes from a partisan opinionist who routinely attacks conservatives and this PM, while advocating for far Left causes in his columns and daily tweets. 

If Fitzy truly and passionately believes the Republican cause should be bipartisan, he has no choice but to stand aside as the chief spruiker.


Poor old Fitz played too much rugger bugger without his helmet.

If this fuckwit wants a yes vote all he needs to do is ask if his red hanky makes him look like a cockhead.

Republic vs. Democracy
Rule by Law vs. Rule by Majority
Just after the completion and signing of the Constitution, in reply to a woman's inquiry as to the type of government the Founders had created, Benjamin Franklin said, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
Not only have we failed to keep it, most don't even know what it is.

"In America the People vote directly for the President so why not here? Are Australians unworthy of being entrusted with the election of our own head of state ...? Bit wrong, there. We The (Sovereign American) People do not vote directly for the president. If we did the voters in the couple or 3 states in which the vast majority of the six million, eight-hundred-thousand criminal alien voters that saw to the "election" of the incumbent, Barry Soetoro, would have even more sway. So we vote for the members of an Electoral College and it elects the president. And then there is the other major difference: That We The Sovereign American People are just that: SOVEREIGN! And Australians are not. Australians are either citizens or are subjects. That must be changed! FIRST! -- Dick!

fitzy, like all chardonnay socialists believes his own lies. If you don't agree with them you are abused. traitors the lot of them!

The states of Au have GOVERNORS so the head of state in the Commonwealth is the Governor General. I don't care much how he/she is appointed, but I have a reasonable idea of what the role is. So I would keep the title regardless of the origins and I think the Fitzy model is OK by me. By the way, the Queen was barracking for one of her horses.

There is no good reason for Australia to become a republic.

That picture of the Queen looks like she just won bingo.

What sort of a Governor General would we get if left to the likes of Rudd, Gillard or Shorten to choose? Ee cannot trusy the politicians to make the choice. similarly if left to the popular vote it would follow party lines and risk a similar fate. Leave things as they Congrats

I am all for change that can make Australia a better place for the REAL HONEST HARD WORKING AND TAXPAYING NON-Parasitic Ozzies . BUT The Lefties...and Fitzy is clearly one of those... whose every proposal in HIS Republic drive are typical Left drivel and one can say ..LIES. He does NOT speak for any of the aforesaid Aussies or any 'majority'. Same crap as the Climate Change carpet baggers. BTW! Fitzy may well espouse his loathing ( call it for what it is HATES!! ) of the Queen / Monarchy !! Well guess what ! I for one do not like Fitzy of his like ilk like Mal T. IF they HATE the Monarchy / Commonwealth ? Maybe go live somewhere else ! Go to Tassie and organise a new Republic down there ! Apologies to good type Tassie/ Aussies. Jaquie for El Presidente'

Fitzy is an idiot.........

Better the Illuminati you KNOW than the One you Don't

Has FitzSimons ever said anything that actually matters?

Depending on your view , of course , it seems that the American system is badly flawed ! But then again , I do like Trump's style !!

Yet these drongos never consider the very real cost of changing everything from letterhead to coins over to the new republic crest...

It is most difficult and expensive to put a shine on a turd.

ABC radio pole. Jump on and vote.
Justice Dyson Heydon has decided to stay on as head of the trade union Royal Commission; has he made the right call?
Yes 69%

Fitzsimmons makes idiotic pronouncements on a weekly basis and as far as the republican movement is concerned, this makes him eminently qualified to lead them - and unfortunately - us into a brave new world of `no great changes'. Really? What about reforming a creaking federal system replete with anachronistic tiers of government, a judicial system that reflects only the values of the privileged, where killers get powder puff jail sentences before being let loose on the streets, corrupt union spivs plunder their members while extorting equally corrupt businesses. The Tories are little better. We get the worst representation money can buy, swindle and extort. Reform too hard? Yes, just remove the Queen and make a bandana clad clod happy and the rest of the country can go suck a lemon.

As I said before - why drag this tired old chestnut out again and to coin a slogan so overused by feminists "What part of NO don't you understand?"

Electing the president by popular vote worries me. You could end up with Adam Goodes or Kylie Minogue. It would be better for a short list of suitably qualified candidates was presented to the electors ,selected by parliament and endorsed by both sides of the house. Candidates would have to have suitable academic qualifications preferably in Constitutional Law and definitely not an arts degree in tree hugging!!!!