Australian Republic Constitution
Australian Flag News Get Involved! Events Resources
Main Menu
ACM Home
About ACM
ACM News
Anthems
Afghan Court Martial
Book Reviews
The Commonwealth
Contact ACM
Convenor's Column
Constitutional Monarchies and Republics Compared
Constitutional Monarchy in the Muslim World
Cost of Republicanism to the Taxpayer
Crowned Republic
Diamond Jubilee 2012
Event News
Federalism and the Mining Tax
Fiji
Flag: Keep The Flag
Governor of New South Wales
Head of State
Keating-Turnbull Republic: The Nineties
Knights & Dames
Latest News and Opinions
Links
Mate for a Head of State
Media and monarchy
Nile Inquiry
Opinion Polling
Orthodoxy and Monarchy
People's Republic?
Plebiscites
Prince Andrew
Prince Charles
Prince Harry
Prince Philip
Prince William & Catherine
Prince William In Australia
Prince William: The Early Years
Racist Republic?
Reserve Powers of the Crown
Resources
Return the Governor
Royal Commissions
Royal Finances
Self Funded Monarchy
Royal Yacht Britannia
The Succession
2020 Summit
Join our Mailing List
See our selection of videos from across the world:-
ACM Videos
AussieCrownTV - ACM's own TV channel:
Aussie Crown TV
Follow ACM on Facebook:
Facebook
Self Funded Monarchy
Self Funded Monarchy
Royal Finances
Royal Finances
Diamond Jubilee 2012
Diamond Jubilee 2012
Head of State
Prince Philip
Prince Philip
Special Caribbean Report: Crown & Commonwealth

      Crown

The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth
Prince Harry
Prince Harry
Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew
Knights & Dames
Knights & Dames
The King's Speech: read the book, see the film.

The King's Speech

Watch the 2010 Neville Bonner Oration: Tony Abbott.
Tony Abbott
Nile Inquiry
Royal Commissions
Royal Commissions
Opinion Polls

 

Plebiscites
Plebiscites
2020 Summit
2020 Summit
Orthodoxy & Monarchy
Orthodoxy & Monarchy
Afghan Court Martial
Constitutional Monarchy in the Muslim World
Constitutional Monarchy in the Muslim World
Mate for a Head of State
Mate for a Head of State
Racist Republic?
Racist Republic
A People's Republic?
A People's republic?
Keating Turnbull Republic: The Nineties
The Keating Turnbull Republic
Crowned Republic
Crowned Republic
Polls
Republicans' Best Asset?
Is David Flint ( National Convenor since 1998) the republicans best asset, as some claim?
ACM Home arrow Anthems arrow Constitutional Essays arrow "Ladies & Gentlemen, The President..." Part 2

"Ladies & Gentlemen, The President..." Part 2 Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Friday, 20 August 1999
The Head of State? Search the Constitution and you wont find it. Only diplomats worry about it, and then only to make sure nobody is slighted. Whether or not to give a twenty-one gun salute is not something the average Australian worries about.

But republicans do want Australians to lie awake at night worrying about this. They told us to cringe when President Clinton toasted the Queen. But he is quite used to doing this. Especially for ten of his neighbours, including his major NATO, G8 and NAFTA ally, Canada. Not so long ago, I asked a prominent woman from Quebec who was the Canadian Head of State. Without pausing to think, she said in her beautiful French accent, "The Governor-General, of course."

There is no single model for a Head of State. Some countries give the job to the head of the government, some even to a committee. In Sweden, the Speaker exercises some of the powers we think belong to the Head of State, and that has turned his job into a political plum. Andorra once had two, the French King or Emperor or President (they change their constitution regularly) and a Spanish Bishop! As I say, the concept is only for diplomats.


But some people say a President will make us independent. But when the former Labor Party Attorney-General Lionel Murphy sat on the High Court, he ruled that we became independent in 1901! Anyone who hints we are not a politically independent country should do a course in elementary civics. Others say it will improve trade, or our relations with Asia. That wise old Singaporean, Lee Kuan Yew, has effectively told us not to depend on it! You only have to look to Canada to see a country more successful in trade, education and migration than we are. Yet no one seriously proposes Canada create yet another job for its politicians to just improve its position in Asia. Or that it would make Canadians feel more Canadian.

The "official" republicans say their formula ensures there will be no change from the present system which work so well. Well then, why do it? Especially if there is a risk. And there is a strong body of opinion that you have to make substantial changes to the Constitution if you want to ensure the President behaves himself. Donald Horne, the father of modern republicanism, takes this line. (Incidentally, do you know who is the mother of modern republicanism? According to the republican historian, Mark McKenna, the Australian Republican Movement is the "brainchild" of Franca Arena!)

The point is, a republic is an alien institution. It has nothing to do with Australia. But if after careful consideration the people decide they want a republic, we ought to do it properly Write a new republican constitution. Have the people elect the president. Of course the president will be a politician. But don't kid ourselves that in a minimalist republic, where the politicians doing a deal then approving the single candidate, anyone else but a politician will get the job. And remember what happened to some countries which removed the Crown from their Westminster constitutions. When Mrs Ghandi wanted to declare an emergency and take on dictatorial powers, the Indian President hesitated. Reminding him that he owed his place to her party, she stood over him and he signed. A Governor-General would not have so readily signed the document. Governors -General owe their formal appointment and their allegiance to the Crown. They must behave according to the conventions. Their powers are held in trust for the people.


Why change that part of our seven constitutions which work so well? And do we really need seven more politicians in seven presidential palaces travelling in presidential planes, all with twenty-one gun salutes?


Just as we keep politicians out of the courts, let's keep them out of our Government Houses.


(Note: These papers were prepared in the context of the first version of the Keating-Turnbull republic 1993-1998. This model was superseded by the second version which was unveiled in the last days of the 1998 Constitutional Convention.)

 
< Prev   Next >
ROYAL VISIT 2014

Image

The Book Depository
Image
Image
Prince William: The Early Years
Prince Charles

Prince Charles

Constitutional Monarchies & Republics Compared

Image


Defend the Constitution and Flag
Australian Election Watch

10th Anniversary Neville Bonner Oration

11th Anniversary and Appeal

Crowned Republic 

   Keep The Australian Flag
Return the Governor to Government House
The Succession
The Succession
The Governor of New South Wales
Governor of New South Wales
Fiji
Fijian soldier
Media and Monarchy
Media and Monarchy
Royal Yacht Britannia
Royal Yacht Britannia
Republic Audit: Costs of Republic
Republic Audit: Costs of Republic
Reserve Powers of the Crown
Events
April 2014 May 2014
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
Week 14 1 2 3 4 5
Week 15 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Week 16 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Week 17 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Week 18 27 28 29 30