From The Punch:
When I was in my first year of university I consented to attending some forum where politicians talk to young people about politics and spirituality. This was achieved through a combination of hassling by my parents, and an idea that I may be able to pick up some attractive young female leader type impressed with my attendance at such a deep thinking event.
Having entered the room and scanned through the earnest polar fleeced mini-lawyers, I quickly realised this was an asexual event more concerned with signing up for the Liberal or the Labor Right, and as such, planned to quietly head back down to the bar where the demarcation between male and female was more obvious and less sober. Unfortunately I was spotted by a friendly tutor who was happy one of his students had turned up, so I stuck around and we were introduced to that week’s guest speaker: Tony Abbott MP.
I can’t remember much of what was said, except for the fact that afterwards at dinner Tony and I got into an argument about the prospect of an Australian republic.
It was only a year since the failed referendum of 1999 and it was still something students would bother talking about. Abbott was impressive as much for the fact that he wasn’t condescending when arguing with a student - he just let you have it like he would anyone else.
Abbott’s arguments for maintaining a monarchy in Australia haven’t changed over the years. They are best summed up as “if ain’t broke don’t’ fix it.” At one point Abbott said to me: “I’m a Manly fan, becoming a republic makes as much sense as switching the team I go for.”
Besides wanting to point out that Manly are team for tossers, it struck me that Abbott’s argument for not becoming a republic also summed up this man’s brand of conservatism. I disappeared into the night, smug in the assessment that my support for a republic was evidence of a more open mind.
But ten years on I am really having doubts about my desire for a republic, and if yesterday’s Fairfax poll is anything to go by, so are most people.
Full article here.