Australians value their independence. We value the ability to have the final say on how we live our lives and who we want to represent us in government. Not being an independent country is totally inconsistent with the character of the average Australian.
So, why should be become a republic? Let’s start with 22 reasons:
- We need to ensure that democratic elections are the “final say” on who we want to represent us in government. Legally, Australian elections are a sham because the queen has the power to overturn an election result and appoint anyone she chooses.
- The Queen of England is the Queen of Australia and our head of state. We need an Australian head of state.
- We (Australians) need to decide who the head of state will be rather than inheriting a head of state as if we were still in the stone age.
- Future kings or queens could be mentally unstable, corrupt or just plain stupid.
- The monarchist system for selecting who will reign as the ruler of all of us is blatantly sexist. It’s 2017 and there should be no sexism in the selection of our head of state.
- Giving extreme power to a foreigner reflects extreme weakness of character.
- The Australian military should represent Australia – not a foreign Queen.
- Politicians elected to represent us should start their time in office by swearing allegiance to Australia – not some foreigner (the Queen).
- New immigrants should swear allegiance to Australia – not to some foreigner (the Queen). Under the current system, immigrants come from one foreign country to Australia then swear allegiance to another foreign country.
- The Governor General (the Queen’s representative) has enormous power but is NOT democratically elected AND swears allegiance to the Queen, thereby, unambiguously confirming that he does not represent Australians.
- The Governor General (who must represent the interests of the Queen) has the power to appoint judges.
- The Governor General (who must represent the interests of the Queen) has the power to remove and appoint ministers – regardless of our “so called” democratic elections.
- The Governor General (who must represent the interests of the Queen) has the power to give “assent” to laws passed by parliament. This means that laws passed by our elected representatives cannot take effect until a foregner (the queen) “rubber stamps” them.
- The Governor General (who must represent the interests of the Queen) has the power to appoint ambassadors.
- Changing the constition requires royal assent (approval). Even a referendum or democratic election is nothing more than an expensive poll for the queen to decide whether she agrees.
- To become a “real” democracy.
- To have “real” independence.
- To have “real” freedom.
- We can still be part of the commonwealth.
- Becoming a republic represents one step toward reconciliation with indigenous Australians. At least the land that they inhabited for 50,000 years will be totally governed by citizens of the same land rather than foreigners on some other land.
- It’s one thing to have a ceremonial head of state due to tradition but it’s another thing for that head of state to be from another country and the role of the queen is obviously NOT just ceremonial.
- There are absolutely no advantages to being a monarchy
Australia should become an independent country with an Australian head of state. We can do this by voting in a referendum to:
- Remove all powers held by the British monarchy and its representative (the Governor General) and assign the parlimanent
- Allow the Prime Minister to be the Australian head of state and change his / her title to President.
When it comes to how to elect the head of state, there are some important factors that need to be considered:
- Australia currently uses a political system based on the British Westminster political system. Most Australians believe that this system has served us well.
- The Westminster system works by allowing a political party to elect its own leader and then asking the people to vote for a party in a federal election. The leader of the party becomes the Prime Minister. Therefore, the Prime Minister is not directly elected by the people. My personal preference is that the new head of state would in fact be directly elected by the people. However, in my opinion, this will require a different system of government and the process of developing such system will be very detailed and very difficult. This process would be justified if the current system was terrible. However, although the current system is not perfect, as I mentioned above, most Australians think that it has served us reasonably well.
- My only problem with the current system is that it allows for very frequent turnover of Prime Ministers. Tony Abbott is one of 11 former PM’s that were in office for less than 2 years. One of the most important responsibilities of any government is planning for the long term future of the country. Therefore, it’s impossible to argue that brief Prime Ministerial terms are good for the country because the arrival of a new PM usually triggers a change in long term planning and associated government policy.
- The widely accepted reason for the failure of the 1999 referendum was the lack of clarity about how the head of state would be elected.
Based on the above I belive that the best approach is as follows:
- My suggestion for the Australian Independence Referendum to be held on 1-2-2020 is to allow Australians to vote on a proposal that resolves this issue by simply suggesting that the Prime Minister of the day becomes the Australian head of state. There would be no other changes to the political system so there will be no requirement to explain or debate any changes to the existing political system. In this scenario, the PM will be will be elected in the same way that they are currently elected and will not receive any new power nor have any power taken from him / her. Given that the technical definition of Prime Minister is the head of government, it would be appropriate to change this title from Prime Minister to President.
- We should consider the idea of creating a minimum term limit for the new PM / President. For example 3 years or 4 years. The success of the Australian Independence Referendum is partly dependent on the simplicity of the referendum, therefore, there is an argument for not addressing this issue in the referendum. However, I’m raising this issue now because it’s an important issue and there may be a convenient opportunity to address it in the Australian Independence Referendum.
- We should develop a more comprehensive plan that can replace the Westminster system with a new system that allows Australians to directly elect the head of state. However, in my opinion, this should not be part of the Australian Independence Referendum on 1-2-2020.
What will happen to the power and authority Held by the monarchy?I propose that:
- All designations held by the Monarchy and its representatives will be abolished.
- All powers and responsibilities currently conveyed by the constitution to the monarchy will be assigned to the Australian parliament and where it will utilize its existing parliamentary voting systems to execute these powers and responsibilities, adjust them or abolish them as it sees fit.