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Yenn
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There seems to be growing interest in Australia becoming a republic again. The interest I mean again.

There is controversy with the royal family, due to the smear campaign started in Opras interview. Smear seems to be the way we are going, just following the lead of the USA.

Speaking of which the USA is a wonderful example of a republic, complete with President and all the political brouha ha.

 

I think most of us would like to see an Australian as head of state rather than have a Pommie Queen, but there is a big question. What sort of a republic would we be?

In the past we had a referendum, in which Turnbull plaid a big part as the prime mover. That referendum decided we would stay with the present system. Mainly I think because Turnbull wanted the politicians to decide who would be president. I could be wrong here but that is as I see it.

At present we have a Governor General doing what a President would do, and for many years the G.G. has been an Australian and some of them have done a really good job. There has been no visible interference from the Royal Family in the past. Even the dismissal of Whitlam, was not at the Queens behest, but done by an Australian appointed G.G.

The politicians have always been the ones to decide upon who our G.G will be and so far I have seen a couple who are definitely not acceptable in the way they have behaved and another at least who was not up to the job.

So how would we appoint a President? Do we even need a President? Surely the leaders of politics are responsible for all that happens with the country.

If we followed the USA example it seems that we would be getting  a stand in for God as a  President, surely we don't want that, having seen  4 years of presidential idiocy.

Personally I don't trust our politicians to choose someone to be our head of state, no matter what his responsibilities are.

We need to define what a President would do and his or her responsibilities. Looking at the USA example we need a non political person, not the member of a  political party.

We would also have to re write the constitution. That would open a massive can

of worms as we would have to include all sorts of things that our present constitution does not mention. We may even have to ensure that the government abides by the constitution, rather than expecting to be able to lay all responsibility at the States feet.

Does anyone have any good ideas on the subject? How would it work? Does religion have any say in this matter? Could a religious top dog be acceptable as President?

My opinion is that the military seem to have given us the best Governors General, but look at Myanmar.

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I believe that the, 

ENGLISH

Republic should be used !,

WITH

The proviso that the new Republic retains the ENGLISH way of removing the disliked emcumbrent President.

OTHERWISE

ALL presidents Are NATIVE AUSTRALIANS.

This is Not a joke !. Native Australians should be the head of Their Land !.

P,S, of course this Will stop ALL future atemps to make a white fella King of Australia. 

spacesailor

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They had it right years ago. The GG would be approved by 2/3 of the house, thus making it bi-partisan. The alternative is to have ONE politician ( the PM) select the GG.

This is what voters voted for but they were fooled by the lying advertisements which called the bipartisan thing " the politician's GG", as if the PM was not a politician.

Actually, I quite like Spacy's idea of making the GG an aborigine. Good onyer Spacy, says me.

We had one in SA ( Pastor Nicholls ) years ago and he was good. It would really help indigenous morale I reckon. As long as he/she  really looked black, and was not one of those whitefellers who were "legally" black.

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Yenn, you pose a number of great questions in your post.

 

The questions themselves have been the biggest impediment to actually getting any positive action. Mostly, I suspect, because our temporary leaders ( and they are all temporary) all fear that any change will risk them losing control over the political machinations of our current system.

 

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They are flat out keeping control of their OWN parties these days particularly as to the way the Coalition is heading at the moment.  It's a backstabbers delight. What does the NP represent, Coal mines and gas  fracking?.

    75% of both houses HAVE to agree on the governor general and the person is not competing for POWER with the Prime Minister like what seems to happen with France.. We don't need the union Jack in the corner of the flag either. It's a construct of a rejected (in Principle) of Colonialism. Just put a big Dollar sign some where as a religious symbol IF money continues to be ALL that is sought above everything in life. Nev

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Ironically, I was studying British consitutional law when the republic referendum took place; I raced to Australia House during a lecture to cast my vote and returned. I was taken a but by surprise when the lecturer asked me which way I voted asn I didn't really think they would have cared. I responded as I normally do - my vote is my right and I keep it to myself. He accused me of voting for the republic, almost as if it were criminal to do so while living in the UK. I refrained from responding, except to reiterate that we live in a democracy to keep[ one's vote private is an inalienable right..

 

For me, the question was what benefit would  becoming a republic bring? The assertions from Turnbull & Co. were mainly that it would improve Australia's standing in the world as a country that stands on its own two feet, people would respect us more, and that we would ourselves feel an innate sense of independence that we don't have today. I did have a long think about it, and to be honest, I rejected those assertions. That doesn't mean I didn't vote for (or against) tbecoming a republic, but the premise that my decision would be predicated on these arguements (unless I voted against a republic) is nonsense.

 

I had a brief rummage around the internet to see what the arguments for a republic. I read part of a speech of the head of the ACTU which I got bored of pretty quickly as it just went on about how we should have an Australian born head of state. Well, as we can see from the US, it rather limits the gene pool, when there is a rich abundance of people to select from. Maybe if they said an Australian without dual citizenship, it would be more palatable (and more in line with equality, which is what the ACTU I thought was supposed to be about).

 

Anyway, I found this site: . which has 10 reasons: https://www.australiaunwrapped.com/top-10-reasons-australia-needs-to-become-a-republic-in-2020/

 

For the first, economic contribution reasoningis because when the Queen travels internationally, she represents Britain and not Australia and therefore directing more economic trade to Britain rather than Australia. That is complete poppycock! The monarch has no political or trade role under constitutional convention (yes, those of the royal family who are not the monarch can have a role in trade representation). TBut the royal family is far more popular than any head of Australia ever will be because of the hsotry associated with them (well up until the interview, anyway). Australia is an independent nation to the UK and in my dealings with people around the world, half the people don't even know Australia's head of state is the queen and most are surprised to find out. There is little if any validity tio this argument, and it states as a fact that moving to a republic somehoe brings economic benefits to the country; look at many countries who have become a republic and I beg to differ.

 

The statement of independence shows the writer doesn't know Autralia's constituion. Australia is fully independent of the UK, even though there are simulateous acts in both Westminster and Canberra that grant that independence. The Queen (monarch) is the Queen (monarch) of Australia, not Britain, under Australia's constitution. There has been discussion about how Westminster could revoke the Australia Act (or whatever it is called), and Australia's independene would be revoked. Technically, this would only be revoked in the eyes of Britain, not Australia, as the simulatenous act confers power on the Australia Act in Australia to take further decisions; until the act is revoked by Australian parliament it has the force of law in Australia. Somehow, I can't ever see Britain revoking the act. Also, think about it, do you consider yourself Australian, or British. I live in Britain and am a British (and Australian) citizen. Whislt I feel my culture originates from Britian and have a deep affinity of Britain, I am Australian through through and had never given Britain a thought (except when thinking of travels) in my every day life in Australia. I do=ubt many others do, either (apart from Womans Day readers and the like). 

 

Also, the biggest threat to independence is not the monarchy - it is the concentration of tech and traditional media ownership with lack of editorial independence. And that is either very closely followed or neck and neck with unlimited policitcal donations, and ex-minster lobbyists.

 

Their third point about inapropriate tradition makes me think this is an evangelist Christian site...  Firstly, is there even a Church of Australia? Secondly, The British Monarch is the Head of th Church of Engalnd, but the Australian Monarch is not the head of any church under our constitution, so there is no conflict with s. 116.

 

Their fourth point makes sense, but it is not a reason to have a republic, it is an appropriate methid to conduct the democratic referendum of how to become a republic.. It would be interesting if Australia first votes to be a republic and then can't get a clear winner as to how that republic should look.

 

The fifth - removal of the crown asserts than because the Aussie government is linked to the crown, it won;t solve Australian problems. This shows a complete lack of both constitutional law and Australian political history - in as early as the mid 1800's power had been continuously delegated to the colonies to make their own laws to solve their own problems because it was recognised that Westminster was ill-quipped to do so. Are they really suggesting that pollies are looking to solve things in a British way? I would say they are looking to solve it the American way at the moment... and for America's benefot more the Britain.

 

For the selection of president, I can actually see a benefit if we are going to have one. But I also see problems. The benefit is that it is not parliament, but the people who decide, so should negate jobs for the boys, a bit. But, if we are going for a symbolic head of state with no real residual power (except to sign bills into law), then do we want yet another election and the cost for what would be no real benefit? Also, how would the presidential candidates be nominated? Will it be a political proces that requires campaigning?  They say that the Queen of England (er, I think they mean the Queen of Australia), ang the GG would be replaced by a "proper head of state" and above politics? I can't reconcile that statement at all. And it is time to "throw away a politically divisive monarchy".. Really, are the divisive - do they even get involved in Australian politics? Quite clearly, BS.

 

In ther assertion of Stability of the system, I woould agree that the stable demiocracy of Australia is because "... Australians love their democracy". They argue that there are many monarchies where there is instability and republics where there are. Well, they neglect to mention there are far more republics that have unstable (or, I think they mean oppresive) rule and many constituional (they havecited absolute monarchies) that are far more stable and transparent that the republics they mention

 

Then they talk about improving the unity of Australians - which I can see no evidence for; and then they regurgitate the selection of an Aussie president by Australians under the heading of the royal family, so really, they could onl think up 8 reasons out of the 10 (one was how to achieve a republic than whether it was good or not).

 

The reality as far as I can discren is that Australians probably don't give a second thought on a day to day basis about whether Australia is a republic or not.. It is a stable givernment and democracy, however, the erosion of its democratic ranking in the world has nothing to do with the monarchy and everyhing to do with press, tech, lobbying and political donations (and no doubt other things). We whould be fixing those things before we worry about a sympolic head of state.

 

Would we better our trade or standing in the world - nope! We are judged on how our government and multinational corporatees behave, as well as our contibution to the world; not the symbolic head of state. Would it make us feel better.. Well, maybe - for a week, when the euphoria has settled and we realise nothing much has actually changed and the same probolems are still there and will still be there until people are willing to address them.

 

If the republic means a president who is totally symbolic, and say will help to promote Australia around the world, I think this is OK.. but let's not fool outselves as to why. And let's put in an easy process to get the right president.. We elect our pollies to govern and lead.. Simply  sever the tie between the GG and the queen and call the GG, El Presidento or soemthing would work. Also, make the selection criteria someone who will be able to promote Australia's interests on the world stage (otherwise, I would argue to get rid of the GG and symbolic head of state altogether...)

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Fiji tried ' multinational politics.

They had to have militry involvement to put their trible elders back in a controlling position they had before the election.

The election put a controlling majority of ' foreigners ' as the political Prime minister, and ministers.

That got rid of the Republic.

spacesailor

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13 hours ago, Jerry_Atrick said:

And let's put in an easy process to get the right president.. We elect our pollies to govern and lead.. Simply  sever the tie between the GG and the queen and call the GG, El Presidento or soemthing would work. Also, make the selection criteria someone who will be able to promote Australia's interests on the world stage (otherwise, I would argue to get rid of the GG and symbolic head of state altogether...)

That basically describes the minimalist approach that was promoted last time. Only problem was, Howard slipped in a few sneaky clauses to have a bob each way. The original idea was to just strike out the word Governor General and replace it with President. Howard's proposed constitution took a few powers away from the GG and Monach and gave them to the PM. It also gave the PM the unilateral right to dismiss the President. And if Parliament voted to reinstate the GG, the PM was under no obligation to do so. I found this out by comparing both the proposed and existing constitution. It wasn't widely covered by the press.

 

I see the debate as twofold. Firstly, would a republic serve us as good as, or better than a constitutional monarchy. And if so, that leads to the second issue - what is the best form of republic to suit Australia. The only ones I'm familiar with regards to their workings are the United States and the Russian Federation. Both similar and both flawed democracies and not role models to aspire to. Some countries have Presidents nobody has heard of, while their PM's get all the press and attention. Others like France are the other way around. So what is the best system - a President with real political clout, or one in the background with a mainly token role.

 

That also leads to the issue that dominated our referendum, ie: to  appoint the President by Parliament or popular election. Most people think they should elect the President. One issue with that is that the President could take a public mandate as meaning more right to exercise power. I think if a President was elected, the  constitutional powers should be spelt out in black and white and formulated by a bipartisan body. It would be imperative to avoid a power grab like the one little johnny tried.

Edited by willedoo
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Going on past results I cannot see our government coming up with a Presidents constitutional powers that make sense. Our governments seem to make laws that are impossible to understand or to use. They are incompetent, but it doesn't matter, because they keep changing the laws. That is not good enough for powers of a President.

The statement that if we became a republic we would appear to be making our own decisions is false, at the moment most of our decisions seem to be at the behest of the USA. That is apparent to blind Freddy.

It wold be good to get rid of the Union Flag from our flag, but that doesn't require us to become a republic. We have already changed the Aussie flag.

I think it all boils down to the old question. If it aint broke, why fix it?

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2 hours ago, spacesailor said:

Didn,t  German politicians Appoint Hitler to that top job !, no public voting at that time .

Disastrous 

spacesailor

The reverse may well be true, Spacey. They had lots of public votes, perhaps too many; people became tired of the run-off elections. (Australia doesn’t have them, we have a much more efficient system called preferential voting).

Hitler’s Nation Socialist party probably was preferable to the long-running paralysis in the Reichstag.

 

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@nomadpete - I don't think either would be a good idea....

 

@willedoo - Howard was (and still is) a monarchist through and through. In fact I would go so far as to say, as conservatives, the majority of the LNP (or LP and NP) are also aligned with the monarchy. I personally don't give a flying f which way it as long as whatever the future is for Australia's head of state and sovereign structure, the real power (for better or worse) remains in the parliament.

 

If the majority of Autralians want to elect a president, this gives polticial legitimacy to the officer bearer to exercise political power - otherwise why bother electing someone to the role? In which case, I read by the majority of Aussies wanting to elect a president, the majority of Aussies want the president to have real political power. This would have a fundamental repurcussions to the Aussie constitution and it is correct to say a rewrite would be in order, but has to be watertight so as not to even provide an opportunity for constitutional convention to fill any gaps - because constitutional convention is just that.. and they are broken all the time with impunity.

 

One of the other threats to our democracy and politicla stabiity is the widening gulf in ideological pursuit to the deference of fact, compassion, and greed. I am not even sure what is driving it because, as a collective, there is plenty more to go around than when the world (or at least wester societies) were far more liberal (not left) across all ideologies, so being defensive of retaining even one's decent standard of living, let alone being able to feed, clothe and shelter, cannot be what is driving it.

 

As I say to my son, it is actually not the political structure of a country that decides whether or not it is stable, democratic, or liberally minded (in the formal defintion of liberal - which is more about giving people a fair go and bettering the collective society than being snowflakes, etc). There are countries that operate democracies of which there is no democratic rule. There are countries that have ruling monarchs (or did - the one O can think of was Nepal) that were progressive and liberal in their thinking. People vote in North Korea and they vote in Australia and the UK, and the US (bad example), and most of Europe, and China, and Russia, and almst everywhere... Yet it would be hard to argue that all of these countries respect representative democracy..  Have you noticed that in western democracies, transparency has been eroding (except for Northern European ones)? Once the people lose transparency, regarldess of the elections, it becomes more difficult to retain true representative and accountable demoncracy.


What is needed is a concerted effort by political leaders to resinstate the strength and respect of our democratic institutions and reintroduce the concept of accountability (granted, it could be argued that accountability - except to the electorate -  has never been a feature of politics, but scapegoating has long been). Once we fix all our threats to our democracy (or find the right balance when there are competing interests - such as national security), then we can look at how best to structire a symbplic head of state. Frankly, to me, any such efforts to change the head of state are a mere distraction from the real issues.

 

BTW, if you've got time, an interesting watch, although I don't agree with everything Rudd says, the underlying message (although focusing only on concentration of press ownership) rings true:

 

 

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Agreed. Representation, accountability, transparency are all qualities that are essential to any successful government aspiring to be 'for the people'. Incidentally governments try to erode these qualities, but that is a different problem.

 

My question to you is this -

Why do we need a Head of State at all?

 

Isn't it enough to call the PM our head of State?

 

As you noted above, Jerry, the spectrum of worldwide examples of "democracies" and also of Monarchies proves that neither voting nor having a President nor having a Queen will guarantee fair play in governance.

 

USA just showed us how giving an elected pres too much power ends up - they became almost a dictatorship, leaving the rest of congress, etc a useless waste of money. So, it follows that if the pres is only kept as a powerless 'token head of State', then he or she is a useless waste of money. So, why have one at all?

 

The only change I'd really like at the moment is to remove the union jack from our flag. Maybe I'll change my mind about monarchs after Lizzie has gone, though.

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1 hour ago, nomadpete said:

Why do we need a Head of State at all?

 

Isn't it enough to call the PM our head of State?

Tes.. Absolutely yes... For better or worse..

 

1 hour ago, nomadpete said:

The only change I'd really like at the moment is to remove the union jack from our flag. Maybe I'll change my mind about monarchs after Lizzie has gone, though.

I personally don't mind the Union Jack.. But, ultimately, would be happy seeing a replacement that showed unity of all Aussies..

 

Re Charles (whom I think you were referring to once Lizzie has finally abdicated).. I am absolutly comfy with him taking over.. He was ridiculed 20 years ago for his vewis on organics ans pollution/climate change... Seems he was a bit ahead of his time..

 

The sordid affair with Lady Di... Who knows what really happened? Somehow Charlie doesn't come across as the murderous type, though. Although, often those who one least suspects.. etc..  Although, he finally did hook up with his true love... maybe a little Shakespearian? Like Australia, there is a press here that beys for blood... and when there is none, they will strike anyway..

 

It is really easy.. Remove the office of the queen.. Remove any political power of the GG and rename the office to THPJDTN... The Highest Paid Job To Do Nothing.. And, in true spirit of THPJTDN, appoint the PM.

 

 

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The thing that really scares me is that if we became a Republic with a president, that President would be someone like John Howard.

I can't think of any past PM who would be trustworthy as a President. Keating the least repulsive and Morrison, well least said soonest mended, but he would never be able to speak for Australians. Rudd, just possible.

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