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The Forum > Article Comments > How about OUR Republic? > Comments

How about OUR Republic? : Comments

By Klaas Woldring, published 5/12/2006

We should be working towards a republic that is owned by the citizens of Australia.

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The very nub of the issue, Klaas, is your statement, "It suggests that the head of state issue is merely a prelude, a first step to what is to follow. What is to follow must surely be the business of the sovereign citizens of Australia".

Most of the "no"s don't really care whether the occupier of a post that is is no longer even ceremonial is appointed, elected or inherited. The current head of state, The Governor General, occupies the ceremonial position with certain limited powers in specific circumstances of deadlocked Parliament.

The Queen merely occupies a notional position, with effectively zero capacity to exercise power, in much the same way as God, in all his permutations, does in constitutions all over the world.

And blind freddy could see that the whole purpose of the republican movement is not the issue of the head of state but, as you put it, "merely a prelude, a first step to what is to follow".

And for the rural and regional community that is already under serious threat from the shredding of the social contract, through discriminatory environmental taxes, the trashing of property rights, inequitable distribution of state funds and double standards in basic health care, one for the cities and one for the bush, then this "prelude" can only be regarded as a serious threat.

All this country needs is one extra (7th) State and the Federal Constitution will become much easier to reform through referendum as the odd number of states creates the easier majority that was harder to achieve with only six.

But as for "what is to follow", you need to concentrate on ending the incompetent and unjust metropolitan political dominance over regional Australia by establishing new states in regional Victoria, NSW, Queensland and WA. These distinct communities of interest must have the protection of their own parliaments, making their own laws, spending their own share of GST funds, on their own priorities.

Without our own seats at the COAG table, the republican movement is just tinkering with the colour of the table cloth.
Posted by Perseus, Tuesday, 5 December 2006 10:13:21 AM
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I agree with the reasons outlined by the previous respondent, a lack of political will, the perceived "royal ties" of a fast-fading out WW2 generation, allegiance to the current flag etc are going to be ongoning stumbling blocks for a little while yet.

For many who fought under the current flag in WW2 and Korea/SE Asia, even Vietnam, there are huge emotional issues involved. Plus the good old "fear of change."

Hence, it may be some time yet before the whole idea becomes pallatible to the majority of Australians - BUT not that long, I think (hope?)

Should Labor gain power after the next election, they would be foolish to challenge the status quo until their credentials are well established, another 6 years AT LEAST, probably more.

Howard NEVER will, so we continue to wait for a little while - BUT IT WILL HAPPEN within a decade or so I believe. meantime, artciles like Klaas are most helpful in keeping the move to a democratic republic in the news and before the eyes of a new public - ie immigrants to Australia (both old & new) and a younger demographic, who do not have these same emotive ties to the Queen and Flagt.

Charles Flesfader
Port Macquarie, NSW
Posted by Flezzey, Tuesday, 5 December 2006 11:45:23 AM
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Hi Perseus,

Major changes should work out to the advantage of the bush. The problem with the minimalist Republican Movement is that they are far too minimalist. I am of the view that this is a deeply conservative position rather than a front for bush unfriendly designs.

The replacement of federation with a much more favourable constitution for rural and regional Australia is long overdue. Federation is very costly, results in endless politicking
and buck passing. Effective decentralisation is thwarted by federation.

What should replace federation. My position is: Strengthen both National and Local Government. Another position is: National and Regional Government. In that model Local Government is minimised or removed altogether. I am not in favour of that.

In a two-tier structure we need National and Local Government both to be strengthened. Add to that (separate) Large City Government and what I call Mezzanine type of regions which are indirectly elected by Local Governments and responsible to it. The nature of the functions of these Regionals Councils (already existing) should be flexible - as they often are - but they should be recognised and protected in the Constitution as a permanent feature of the structure.

The Regional Organisation of Councils' role is important. The usefulness of such Regional Councils in a new Constitutional arrangement is, in my view, beyond question.

In this kind restructure the National Government should play a much more significant role for rural Australia. I am reasonably familiar with many of the issues in the bush, lived in Lismore for 22 years and have a son who did a Rural Science degree at UNE. He has worked in the bush for over 20 years, now works in a developing country in Asia.

Klaas Woldring (author)
Posted by klaas, Tuesday, 5 December 2006 12:11:46 PM
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The only political notary talking about real governmental reform at the moment is Lindsay Tanner - although Gillard and to a leser extent Rudd alluded to it since they took over the leadership -

Tanner is in the early days of advocating regional governments - but I suspect that the ideas are embryonic at best and the feel for change is far from strong enough - the same too for a republic however fashioned.

Howard seems to be moving to a state of empire ruled from Canberra with glacial determination - they will never say so but we keep sliding down the slope to centralising every power imaginable.

There will never be move to a republic or government reform under the conservatives - ever - unless Howard can engineer one that resembles that of Napoleon - and by crikey he seems close to achieving it
Posted by sneekeepete, Tuesday, 5 December 2006 12:27:09 PM
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Every time I see a piece on the Republic, I hope against hope that it will provide a clear answer to the question "why should we care?"

And every time, I am disappointed.

This article starts with the utterly ridiculous claim that "[t]he republic is bursting to be launched".

I haven't heard the topic raised anywhere out in the real world since Howard's clever manipulation of the referendum. It simply isn't a subject that is relevant outside the government and its hangers-on. In my experience, the only people who bleat on and on about Australia becoming a Republic are those who either earn money for their bleatings, or stand to gain some form of financial advantage from the event itself.

My stance is that it is crystal clear that Australia does not "need" to retain its links with the Crown. However, in order to convince the citizenry at large that becoming a republic is preferable, some form of "what's in it for me" argument needs to be developed. Otherwise, it is a dead issue.

The underlying reason for the total apathy of the public is that it has lost all respect for politics, our political processes, and by association, our politicians. It is impossible for a normal, healthy family to relate to the blatant hypocrisy, mendacity and deviousness of those who are our parliamentarians. Add to that their sheer unworldliness, how can they possibly command the respect of anyone in the community?

Until and unless some bright spark comes up with a formula that is honest, open and clearly altruistic in its approach to our becoming a republic, no-one is going to raise a sweat. Until then I guess we will simply have to endure a regular diet of pointlessly mumbling articles such as this one.
Posted by Pericles, Tuesday, 5 December 2006 1:42:03 PM
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Why bother ?

We can just wait for a Labor / Green Alliance Government at some point in the future who can stack the High Court and then we can get rid of the Royals that way.

What is the point of having expensive referendums when Governments ignore them anyway ?
Posted by westernred, Tuesday, 5 December 2006 2:07:24 PM
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