Correspondence: 'Is it time that Australia was a republic?''May 9th, 2011
Australia’s political structure should reflect its modern identity in order that it can take charge of its own independent future, writes Francis Ventura, a 20-year-old student from Melbourne.
Just a few weeks ago he visited flood affected areas to lend some emotional support, but again stayed only a matter of days.
Then of course there is the fanfare about the royal wedding, which no doubt was a wonderful occasion for couple, who are undoubtedly in love which is a beautiful thing, and his visit to the flood stricken areas was a nice gesture.
However included in this hype is the inevitable discussion about the relevance of a hereditary monarchy in the 21st century.
Australia has dealt previously with the question of becoming an independent republic. The referendum of 1999 was rejected, with about 53% of voters opting for the Queen of the United Kingdom to remain our head of state.
Arguably, this result transpired due to the ‘minimalist’ model provided, which was to replace the Queen with a President elected by a two-thirds majority of Parliament.
Many Republicans in fact preferred the direct election proposal. The significance of this result was that for the near future at least, Australia would still be denied its own head of state.
There is essentially one significant point in this debate for Australians; that is that no matter how charming, intelligent and handsome William is, neither he nor the rest of the Windsor family are Australian.
We Australians are immensely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve since Federation in 1901. We’ve built a prosperous, harmonious and multicultural society which is built on the basic principle of a fair go for all.
People abroad who observe us believe we are a miracle. This is the crucial point. The British monarchy is inherently undemocratic and completely inconsistent with Australia’s egalitarian principles.
In fact, the monarchy is discriminatory; to be King or Queen a person must be a descendant of Electress Sophia of Hanover, cannot be a Roman Catholic, and can only be a woman if there aren’t any male siblings, even if they are the eldest. The selection method is so discriminatory it would contravene any equal opportunity legislation in Australia.
William is British, and always will be. He actively advocated for England to host the FIFA World Cup at the same time that Australia was bidding. The sheer irony is that William is potentially Australia’s future King, yet was campaigning against us.
We have the same scenario when the two nations compete in cricket for the Ashes trophy: a leader that doesn’t support what technically is his own country. Seriously?
Australia needs someone who doesn’t just visit for a few days when it is convenient. We need someone who is here to cry with us, laugh with us and celebrate with us through all the ups and downs.
Someone whose loyalty is unquestionably to the beautiful people of Australia and whose goal is to see us succeed.
The challenge will be to overcome the simplistic ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ jibes that the monarchists predictably churn out. Australia’s political structure needs to reflect our modern identity, so that we can take charge of our own independent and unique future.