Australia is not yet a republic, we are a constitutional monarchy. The Queen of England is our head of state. On November 6, 1999 a referendum was held to ask Australians if we wanted to become a republic. I voted no, primarily for two reasons at the time.
- I could see how expensive the American presidential elections were and I thought what a waste of money. We had a perfectly functional system, we are independent and we don’t pay for the costs of the Queen!
- I didn’t like the proposed process for appointing the President of Australia. There was a lot of talk about it being too hard to change the constitution to do it any other way, but I couldn’t see the logic of becoming a republic if the foundation wasn’t sound. If we need to change the constitution, then we need to change it. Let’s do it properly.
The referendum was lost, 55% voting against the idea.
The debate is on again. To be honest, it never really went away. There are many web sites around looking at the arguments for and against. Here’s the first page of Yahoo results! Oh, don’t ask – just thought I needed a change from Google.
There is little doubt in my mind that at some point Australia will become a republic. How and when are the burning questions.
I’m not exactly sure how this happened, but yesterday I was invited to join a group of people thinking about the concepts and supporting the thinking. I found I was in quite an illustrious group of people! There was Malcolm Fraser, giving very sage advice, Malcolm Turnbull and Christine Milne. David Donovan from Independent Australia is also there.
There I am.
This initiative is the work of Steve Irons, who provides his resume at http://www.bloggerme.com.au/background-briefings. Not to be confused with the WA MP of the same name!
Now, Steve seems to want a whole lot of states, whereas I’m not sure we need states at all. For the population of Australia, we have an awful lot of levels of government and an equally awful lot of associated running costs!
I worry that if we drop our ties to England we will become the 52nd state of the USA. I say 52nd because I understand Puerto Rico has already voted to become the 51st! I don’t think Australia being the 52nd state would be cool as much as I think our American cousins are cool.
If we, the great unwashed, otherwise known as citizens (you know, we who pay our taxes to keep the wheels of government in motion) don’t take part in the discussion, we may end up with a republic we don’t like very much. Better to be in it than let it all pass by, paying no attention and complaining later. I dobbed a few other people in for an invitation from Steve: people I felt represented our diversity and who should have a voice in shaping our future. Three of them are or aditenfy as Aboriginal – let us ensure ALL Australia’s people are included, especially our First People.
What exactly Australia’s republic will look like, when it will happen and how we determine a president are all things to come, but let us, as Australians, make sure we participate in shaping our future and the future of our children.
Let us, the people, drive how the Australia of the future looks and feels. Read, learn, speak up. Where ever you decide to do it, just do it! Let’s make sure we get a Bill of Human Rights!
Visit http://myatozchallenge.com to find more countries and articles on the global A – Z Challenge. Check out the A – Z of Australia Menu above for other articles on this site. In this case, you might like to visit P for Politics and Politicians!
I made this part of the Our A – Z of Australia because our political system is a very important part of what Australia is. So this is a personal article as well as an A – Z series article!