WHY a REPUBLIC?
by PETER CONSANDINE © 2020*
In the grim ISO times which obtain there are still compelling reasons why the matter of an Australian Republic needs to be addressed.
Granted, the topic is NOT, pro tem, a Top-Order issue. However, this very year of 2020 our monarch turned 94 years of age and is, inevitably, that much closer to either death OR abdication, as the case may be.
I probably have a keener awareness of the mood of the Australian electorate on the matter than most because I am a ‘Pastoral Republican’ and very much in touch with grassroots communities, Australia-wide. I actually perpetuate ‘Pastoral Republicanism’ by calling one-to-one/door-to-door on committed & committing fellow-Republicans on a continuing basis. I have been about this rather unique activity since the April 2014 WA Senate Re-Election Campaign.
Obviously, a change to Australia’s constitutional arrangements will involve ALL manner of cost, dislocation and fear engenderment. However, I genuinely believe that it will be
cost-beneficial to switch to a republican system. Moreover, I personally believe the coming of the Australian Republic will amount to a culturally-enriching, palpably inclusivist, country-wide celebration for the masses; for ALL community groups.
I, therefore, think it is timely to revisit the arguments that were advanced in the lead-up to the failed first referendum to ensure that my party [The RPA] and its nationwide membership as well as its supporters are sufficiently well-briefed to mollify and not (further) infuriate the ‘Angry Brigade’ of people – monarchists/status quoists – who they will come across, sooner or later.
Back in the 1997 – 1999 years I was invited on numerous occasions to participate in talks, conferences, debates and the like on the topic ‘WHY Australia Should Become a REPUBLIC’.
Some Answers and Counterpoints from those days are just as relevant in the present day:
- In the ‘NO’ case prepared by Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM), there was absolutely no mention of the incumbent monarch. Australia cannot possibly be seen by other sovereign countries of the world to have a discernibly Australian national identity when its Head-of-State is a foreigner who does not reside here and who ONLY takes time out from her British duties to visit these shores once every-so-often. If Australians are so enamoured with ‘monarchy’ then why shouldn’t we/why don’t we commence our own Australian royal house/line?
- The Governor-General is NOT Australia’s Head-of-State…the Australian Governor-General is purely the representative in Australia of the British monarch – Australia’s constitutional Head-of-State.
- To the nonsensical, status quoist, viewpoint: “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it”…the confident ‘Republican’ response would be/should be along the lines of: “Well, fob watches still work!”
- To the nonsensical, status quoist, viewpoint: “It’ll cost us a fortune which the country cannot afford – now or ever”…the confident ‘Republican’ response must be: “Democracy always comes at a cost to this nation; Yes, the changes involved with the conversion from monarchy to republic will come at a cost BUT it will be
cost-beneficial for the republicanised nation in the medium-long term”. Moreover, the confident ‘Republican’ response must be: “there will be cultural, symbolic, aspirational and economic advantages for Australia to install it’s own Heads-of-State; to elect or appoint some of our own”.
- To the nonsensical, status quoist, viewpoint: “we have a ‘crowned republic’, already”…the confident Republican response, assertively must be: “there is no such thing as a ‘crowned republic’ – that is a sop…a ‘crowned republic’ is a contradiction in terms”.
And what would be the Cost-Benefits of an Australian Republic?
It really shouldn’t take a lot of imagination. When the British Head-of-State (The Queen) goes abroad or even when she works at home at The Firm (Buckingham Palace) she gives a fillip to British trade + tourism + technology not to Australian trade + tourism + technology. If we had a Presidium structure for our Presidency we, potentially, would have healthy international competition at the Top Level triplicated!
There is no better time than the present – or the very near-future – to pursue a Republic. No one would wish it but the Queen – our Head-of-State – could succumb to the very insidious Covid-19 Virus (otherwise known as the Corona Virus) plaguing the World this year. Sure, she’s securely isolated at Windsor Castle, pro tem, but there’s no such thing as 100% Security. And the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and indeed her son, the Monarch-in-Waiting, (Prince Charles) picked UP the virus – the former coming close to death.
To ensure that the second Republican referendum succeeds [failure will NOT be an option], there must be a 3-Phase process (see: The RPAs position paper: ‘REPUBLIC DELAYED is REPUBLIC DENIED!’) guaranteed by a united Republican vanguard. This process – with absolutely no cutting of corners nor any shortcuts – will stymie the united reactionary forces which will be, no doubting, brought to bear.
Of course, with the coming of the Australian Republic there will be an attendant Australian Charter of Rights, Responsibilities, Freedoms, Choices & Values.
Check Out The RPAs website for the Direct-Election model for Peoples’ Sovereignty [The Presidium] once the monarch cedes her sovereignty back to Australia and Australians on the website: www.therepublicans.com.au
*The original version of this Position Paper was written, printed and distributed in April 2013