Prime Minister John Howard has accused NSW Labor Premier, Bob Carr, of undercutting Federal Opposition Leader, Kim Beazley. Carr yesterday said that he would prefer the existing constitutional arrangements in preference to a directly-elected president.
Carr said: “I would rather live with all the disadvantages of the Queen as head of state than insert into our Constitution all the instability and uncertainty that would flow from an elected presidency that becomes, over time, an executive presidency.”
Kim Beazley has indicated that he would be prepared to consider in government another referendum on directly electing a republican president.
In his statement today, Howard said:
“The New South Wales Labor Premier Bob Carr has completely undercut Kim Beazley’s promise to hold a second referendum for a directly elected president if the Yes vote wins next Saturday.
“Mr Carr, the most senior and successful Labor leader in the country, has flatly opposed any suggestion of a directly elected presidency.
“In the process he has exposed Mr Beazley’s humbug.
“His strong opposition reinforces the point that if the Yes vote wins on Saturday there will be no second bite of the republican cherry. The parliamentary appointment model will be there for good.
“Mr Beazley’s panicky opportunism has been starkly revealed by the NSW Premier’s stance.
“The promise of “Yes and more” injected into the debate at the eleventh hour is a complete illusion. If the Yes vote wins on Saturday there will be overwhelming opposition within all political parties to any move toward a directly elected president.
“Bob Carr has had the courage to call it as it is.”