Cabinet papers show Turnbull pushed hated republic model

Malcolm Turnbull may have sabotaged Australia becoming a republic in 1994 by putting forward a hated model where politicians instead of the public would choose a president.

Two decades before he became Liberal prime minister in 2015, Turnbull was a multi-millionaire Sydney investment banker who was appointed by Paul Keating's Labor government to head the Republic Advisory Committee.

Cabinet documents from 1994 and 1995, released on Monday, reveal Turnbull had proposed a republic where a president could only be appointed or removed if two-thirds of parliament agreed.

Malcolm Turnbull (pictured in 1998) proposed a republic in 1994 with MPs choosing president

Malcolm Turnbull (pictured in 1998) proposed a republic in 1994 with MPs choosing president

Paul Keating's cabinet in 1994 considered advice from Malcolm Turnbull on a republic

Paul Keating's cabinet in 1994 considered advice from Malcolm Turnbull on a republic

The papers, unveiled by the National Archives of Australia, showed only 16 per cent of the public supported this model. 

Support for a directly-elected president, to replace the Queen as Australia's head of state, stood at a staggering 91 per cent. 

Turnbull's minimalist republican model was endorsed by a Republic Convention in February 1998, two years after the Keating government was turfed out in a landslide.

It was taken to a national referendum in November 1999, when it was defeated 54.87 per cent to 45.13 per cent, after the Yes case ran slogans such as 'A Resident for President' and 'Give an Australian the head job'.

Malcolm Turnbull's input led to republican side to a resounding defeat in November 1999 

Malcolm Turnbull's input led to republican side to a resounding defeat in November 1999 

Every state and territory except the ACT voted against the push for an Australian president

Every state and territory except the ACT voted against the push for an Australian president

The minimalist republic sunk in every state and territory, except the ACT, despite having the support of former prime ministers Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating.

Liberal MP Tony Abbott spearheaded the No campaign with the support of then prime minister John Howard, a fellow monarchist, while treasurer Peter Costello was the highest-profile backer of the Yes case.

'We don't need to dump the Queen to be a great country. Republicans will never win by running Australia down,' Abbott tweeted on Sunday.

The No case had the support of republicans who wanted a directly-elected president, including country crooner James Blundell who recorded a catchy 'We'll vote No in November' jingle which ran on television. 

Paul Keating (pictured in 1994) has slammed Malcolm Turnbull failure to achieve a republic

Paul Keating (pictured in 1994) has slammed Malcolm Turnbull failure to achieve a republic

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