(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

Summer must be here, and there is birdsong over the culture war trenches because the Australian republic is back in the news.

Peter FitzSimons is bobbing up again — the, well, king of the Australian Republic Movement these many years past, and its public face. The bandana is gone, but the army marches on. What’s he on screen for now? To announce unconditional surrender? Turn up the volume and it’s “a list prepared from nominations by all Australian parliaments which the public vote on”.

And, well, noooo. The ARM has got together and come up with the worst designed program for major constitutional change since, god, since the Voice to Parliament, I guess. The ARM wants to get out of the trap that became visible in the 1990s, whereby the republican establishment wanted the president elected from Parliament, thus creating a mates’ shonks presidency, while the republican rank-and-file overwhelmingly wanted a directly elected president.