GOD SAVE THE ECONOMY ... as Treasurer turns his attention to the republican debate, once again
FORGET THE QUEEN...
JOE Hockey – who faces a massive economic challenge – will now take on a constitutional challenge by campaigning for a republic.
The Treasurer’s good mate, author Peter FitzSimons (inset) revealed at the Canberra Press Club yesterday “we are putting the band back together”, referring to a group of prominent Australians who previously campaigned for a republic.
Mr Hockey (main picture) and former ACT chief minister-turned Labor Senator Katy Gallagher will join a new cross-party push for a republic.
The announcement was met with shock by some within the Abbott Government. Liberal Senator and constitutional monarchist Dean Smith urged Mr Hockey to focus on his day job.
“The priority for every parliamentarian is to focus on the national economy and on jobs creation, nothing is more important than strengthening g the economyy and creating g jobs at this s time,” Senator r Smith said.
Christopher r Pyne and Mal- colm Turnbull favour of a re- public, putting them at odds with the Prime Minister. In 1993-1994, Tony Abbott was the executive director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, which led the “no” campaign at the 1999 referendum.
Mr FitzSimons, who is the national chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, said republicans would not win while Mr Abbott was in the Lodge. He said he wanted a national plebiscite on an Australian head of state by 2020.
“My point on Tony Abbott is that ... he will be there 10 days, 10 months or 10 years and I wish him well. If Tony Abbott is there for 10 years, we won’t get this over the line,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Mr Hockey said his views on supporting a republic were well known and had not changed.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was thinking of jobs, not a republic. “I th think in the next 10 years, it is pr probably appropr priate for us to h have that nati tional conversa sation. Right n now, I’m focused on jobs, health, ed education and fa fairness in our co community.”