HEAD OF STATE ANOTHER VIEW
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Friday, 12 March 2004

We have received the following letter, which offers a different but Interesting view on the Head of State controversy. The author, Dr John Costella is a member of the ARM, but these are his personal views:

 

Despite being a republican, I must concede that the balance of evidence confirms that the term "Head of State" is ambiguous in the case of Australia, and that the case for it being applied to the G –G seems to be as strong or stronger than that for it being applied to the Queen as you point out, the Queen is most definitely the Sovereign. It is the sovereignty of Australia that we should really be debating, not a term as ambiguous as "Head of State". A republic would entail popular sovereignty. This avoids the semantic squabbles. The only exceptions to your rule that I know of are:

 

(a) that the Queen once referred to herself as Head of State, although that was indirect and covered every one of her Commonwealth realms, not just Australia, and the others have different constitutional arrangements to us;

(b) that the Queen 's website apparently referred to her as "Head of State" rather than "Sovereign" before it was changed in the late 1990s but I do not have first-hand evidence of this, and I am not sure whether anyone could provide concrete evidence of a something that was only digital; and;

(c) that it is the Queen who is toasted -- although it is not completely clear whether it is the Head of State or the Sovereign who is toasted. As all three of these have the noted defects, the balance of Evidence you and others  have supplied for the contrary case looks to be convincing. I agree with you that the term "Head of State" should be removed From the republic debate, in favour of the term "Sovereign"

Respectfully,

John Costella

 

ACM likes to hear and read views other than our own that is why we have a link to the ARM site. What was good about Dr Costella's letter was that it was both thoughtful and courteous.