Should Australia Become a Republic?
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Should Australia Become a Republic?

Whether Australia should become a republic or not is a very hot topic right now. Some people say that we are destined to become one while others say the exact opposite. In this article I will give you a brief history of Australia's cause become a republic as well as some reasons why Australia should become a republic and why Australia shouldn't become a republic.

The idea of republicanism started in 1991 when the Labour party (led by Bob Hawke at the time) made republicanism one of its policies. Bob Hawke’s successor Paul Keating pursued republicanism much more than himself. During Keating’s time in office, he formed the Republic Advisory Committee. This committee was in charge of producing a report about the possibility of Australia becoming a republic on the 1st of January 2001, our centenary of federation. When the committee published its report in April 1993, it concluded that "a republic is achievable without threatening Australia’s cherished democratic institutions." In response to the report, Keating promised that a referendum would be held on whether Australia should become a republic. This change in Australia’s constitution would replace the Governor-General with a President as well as removing all references to the Queen. A President would be nominated by the Prime Minister before being put before the combined population of the Senate and House of Representatives for a two-third majority vote. The same year that the Labour Party started supporting republicanism, the Australian Republican Movement formed. The Australian Republican Movement is a party that supports a change in the Australian Constitution that allows the Commonwealth of Australia to become a republic instead of being a constitutional monarchy.

One of the main reasons for Australia becoming a republic is ‘Why should Australia be ruled by someone who has no interest in ruling Australia’. Some people say that Australia should be ruled by Australians and Australians only. They do not believe that it is fair that some individual living on the other side of the world should have complete reign over Australia. Another point for republicanism is that Australians teach their children that hard work will be rewarded in life. This is not the case for the king or queen. All they have to do is be the first-born non-Catholic into a specific English family and they have the job. This is considered discrimination in Australia and would not be allowed so people argue that if we do not support it, then people who used it to get into power should not rein over us.

There are just as many reasons against Australia becoming a republic as there are for it. For a start the queen does not reign over Australia that much anyway, so the prime minister and parliament already have almost complete control over Australia. Other people say that our system is working completely fine right now and that changing it can only make it worse from here. The advantage of having a constitutional monarchy is that if a Prime Minister is not doing his job properly, the King or Queen can kick him or her out of parliament quite easily compared to if we were a republic. The King or Queen is also there to offer advice to the Prime Minister if she or he needs it. As the saying goes ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

When a referendum in 1999 was held to find out whether the population of Australia wanted to become a republic, the proposals were rejected because the population of Australia could not decide on the type of republic they wanted. 45% of the population voted that they wanted the proposed idea where the President of the Commonwealth of Australia would be elected by the government. The residents of Australia wee also asked whether they wanted a republic where the President would be elected directly by the people. 39% of Australians agreed with this. Because the majority of voters voted no to each proposed idea, the idea of republicanism was put on hold.

I can see republicanism becoming a bit like federation was 110 years ago. Australia seems destined to become a republic in the near future but the real question is what sort of a republic will it become. 

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