General Overview Of The Republic Debate

1051 words - 4 pages

Our present constitution reflects Australia's status as a self-governing colony within the British Empire. The constitution links us to the British parliament as a British Governor General (appointed by the Queen to represent herself in Australia) is our head of state and he has specific executive and reserve powers.After the Imperial Conference of 1926, our autonomy in internal and external affairs has been acknowledged and the Governor General has in effect abandoned these powers (choosing to act on the advice of the Prime Minister) and adopted a largely ceremonial role.The idea of making Australia into a republic began as early as 1850, when people like John D. Lang and Charles Harpur, followed by Louisa and Henry Lawson, the Bulletin and the Australian Republican Union advocated the notion. Throughout the two world wars, Australia stuck close by Britain and republicans were seen as 'disloyal'. But after WW2, with multiculturalism and the growth of a national identity, Australia began to seek greater independence and her own place in the Asia Pacific. The Dismissal of 1975 highlighted the downfalls of a constitutional monarchy and revived support for a republican Australia.By the 1990s, republicanism became a great issue. Pro and anti republican groups like the ARM and ACM formed to attract support for their cause. Official action was taken to investigate the constitutional changes of making Australia into a republic in the report: An Australia Republic. A Constitutional Convention was formed in 1996 to consider issue like whether Australia should become a republic and what model would our republic take after. After ascertaining support and deciding on the bipartisan model, the republicanism question was put towards Australian voters as a referendum.In the Australian republic, all those who hold office gain their authority through the direct or indirect approval of the people. This basically means replacing the current British head of state, the Governor General with an Australian President, elected through the bipartisan model.This change won't alter Australia government drastically. However, its symbolic importance, the appointment of the President, and the risk of change weighed up against conservative views have been a source for debate on the issue of republicanism.According to the anti-republican views of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it', Australia, which is already independent and has had its legal links with Britain removed in the Australian Act (1986), should not replace the current system which has provided political stability and served it well in the past 100 years with a new system, the implementation of which will require 69 changes to the constitution and is unpredictable in how these changes will affect our political system.A republic will not improve unemployment, the environment, or our national debt. Instead, it will be costly financially and emotionally. The Republic Advisory Committee estimated in 1994 that a popularly...

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