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Contemporary Issues In Australian Politics Essay

3559 words - 14 pages

This essay will critically analyse four propositions, each a key issue in contemporary Australian politics. Each question will be answered with a short response to develop relevant arguments that are reflective of my personal political position.Should Australia become a Republic?The idea that Australia should become a Republic was passionately debated long before the 'dump the Queen' referendum (Australian Republican Movement, 2008) which was held in November 1999. Dividing a nation with 45.13% of voting Australians favouring a newly elected Head of State (Australian Democracy Magazine, April 2007) , the rest of the country preferring to retain the status quo.Previous to studying this unit, I did not realise how much power the Queen has over Australia and its institutions and I am uncomfortable with the fact that the Queen has more power in Australia than in Britain (Butler, 1973, p.28) where she both reigns and resides. An example of how the Queen's power can be used would be the double dissolution of 1975, when the then Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam government due to the disagreement over a bill between the senate and the House of Representatives (Whitlam, 1983). My parents voted for the Whitlam government and yet the Australian constitution allowed the Queen's representative to ignore both their vote and the peoples' 'democratic' electoral choice. Would the British government have allowed the Queen to do in England what she did here?From this event onwards I find it difficult to imagine why a progressive country such as our own insists on being ruled by another. The Queen of Australia depends on the constitutional arrangements of another country and considering Australia's independence in all other ways, this remains as an anomaly. I also believe the Queen has a conflict of interest in being the Head of State of Australia whilst at the same time being the Head of State of other countries within the Commonwealth. I find it a much more comforting thought that our elected representative would reside amongst us and their first allegiance would be to Australia, not to the people of other countries.Electing our own Head of State may symbolise who we are as a nation, but my personal concern is whether any changes to the current constitution, which allowed for Australia to become a republic, would still protect the freedom of Australians from excesses and abuses by politicians and that any proposed future 'republic models' would not be at the expense of the Australian people.Whilst I respect the role the monarchy has played in Australia's two-hundred and twenty year history and only too well remember singing 'God Save the Queen' each morning before school, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Australians have continued to move away from the monarchy despite the fact that most Aussies still seem to love nothing more than a 'Royal Visit'. The current constitution which suggests that ultimate political power is held by the...

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