Hazel says it’s time to grow up

A report from AAP printed in The Australian on 11 October 1999Her Royal Highness

Former first lady Hazel Hawke warned yesterday that it would be “just plain dopey” for Australians to retain the monarchy at next month’s republic referendum.

Mrs Hawke said Australia would be seen by outsiders as irresponsible if the NO campaign was successful on 6 November.

The ex-wife of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke said it was inappropriate for the Queen of England to remain Australia’s head of state and she urged parents to consider whether they would want to deny their children the chance to aspire to be Australian president.

It’s much more appropriate to have an Australian figurehead,” she said in Canberra.

When you think about it, it’s just plain dopey to have a foreigner as head of our country.”

Asked how a NO victory would be viewed outside Australia, Mrs Hawke said: “I think we’d be seen as not grasping and embracing our responsibilities as a nation.”

“We’d just go on in the old system and that just grew like topsy years ago and it’s time we did grow up and grasp it.”

Mrs Hawke and businesswoman, Janet Holmes a Court, have been enlisted by the Australian Republican Movement to promote the YES campaign.

The pair will target women voters, many of whom are undecided.

Mrs Hawke is also promoting the YES campaign to older Australians, who she said were concerned about the workings of the proposal for parliament to elect the president.

“There’s none of that sort of hanging onto it stuff, only thoughts and discussions that they’ve raised, and there’s been lots of them, have been about how it will work,” she said.

Elderly Australians were worried about political upheaval and the wrong person getting the job.

“There’s been nothing to do with letting go of the past – it seems to me they don’t give a stuff about it,” Mrs Hawke said.

There was also concern, she said, about the word republic.

“I think there’s a smell about the word….there are republics that are pretty awful and still are,” she said.

She was optimistic about the referendum outcome. “But I’m not convinced that we’ll win,” she said.