Ian Purdie's letter to the editor of the Daily Telegraph sent 8th November, 1999 regarding the republic referendum

Letter to the Editor - Daily Telegaph - Sydney

Subject: Letter to the Editor
     Date:   Sun, 07 Nov 1999 08:47:44 +1100
   From: "Ian C. Purdie VK2TIP" <ianpurdie@integritynet.com.au>
       To: Daily Telegraph -- Letters to the Editor <dtmletr@matp.newsltd.com.au>


Never since the Indonesian invasion of Timor in 1975, where Australia sat on its hands and did nothing, have I woken up to feel so ashamed to be an Australian.

On Saturday I manned a voting booth at Budgewoi in support of the YES campaign. Of all the voters who questioned me, only one gained my respect. A small frail lady who was a true monarchist. A lady who articulated a case of the Queen's position denying power to others.

Many voters questioned the need for 69 changes to the Constitution. "Have you read the Yes-No booklet?". No they hadn't. "The electoral officer has a copy inside the booth, ask him for it", I replied. "No that's too boring and I don't understand it" was the universal response.

Other voters were direct election advocates. "Had you watched the Constitutional Convention on TV, as I have, or followed it in the
newspapers?" No they hadn't. "Are you aware that many people of goodwill could not agree on one single direct voting model from among a number presented?" No they were not and significantly, didn't care.

"Are you aware that this present model is minimalist, and a consensus of the convention?" - "No, I want to vote for the president".

"How would you do that when even five constitutional experts and others couldn't agree on drafting a model to present to you, and probably never will at any time in the future?" - "I still don't care, I want to vote for the president, not a politician's president"

I won't bore you with the trivia of how trees would have to be renamed, taxes would rise by 10% to cover the cost of the presidency and how it was all a plot to have the U.S. President take over Australia.

My email friends world wide, notably throughout the U.K., look upon the result with stunned disbelief. It is truly embarrassing.

After working on elections since 1949 I always fancied the Australian electorate was politically astute. As I said, today as an Australian, I am ashamed of the result and, that particular illusion is now gone

Ian Purdie

138 "Bevington Village"
186 Sunrise Avenue,