“Every Australian should be able to dream of being president”September 14th, 2011
There are a few myths about Australia becoming a republic, writes 16-year-old Luke Van Roevan from Melbourne, Australia. No, we would not have to change our flag. Yes, we will still be a part of the Commonwealth. And, yes, we could still compete in the Commonwealth Games.
Right now, Australia uses a system of government commonly known as a constitutional monarchy.
What that basically means it that the Queen is technically our head of state, but we do have our own constitution which does limit her power to a very minimal and ceremonial role.
The Queen is represented by the governor-general, who is appointed by the Prime Minister. Those Australians who are in favour of a Republican system of government want to see an Australian president as the official head of state. In other words that basically means a president would replace the governor-general and we would get rid of the Queen altogether.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – Monarchists believe that the current Australian system of government is working well and should remain the same. They believe that electing or appointing an Australian as head of state, instead of appointing a governor-general does not change the role.
Monarchists also believe that our relationship with England is an important part of Australia’s heritage and we should not cut all ties with our history. They also see that it would be a waste of Australian taxpayer money, and we would need to change our currency and stationary, and hold a referendum.
Finally they believe that Australia’s current system of government has all the advantages of a constitutional monarchy, with a full measure of independence and democratic freedom.
Republicans want to change our government because there would be many benefits to business and the economy. International trade is becoming increasingly competitive and the way Australia positions itself as a nation is important.
Another reason is when the Queen travels overseas she promotes British companies and British trade, not Australian interests. Republicans believe that the head of state should be a position that is given to somebody based on merit, not on birth right, and that every Australian child should be able to dream of one day obtaining the highest office in their country.
There are a few myths about Australia becoming a republic. No, we don’t have to change our flag, and yes we will still be a part of the Commonwealth and compete in the Commonwealth Games. And no, our president will not be like the one in America, the Prime Minister will still be the main political leader of Australia.
Is it possible that there will be another referendum in our generation?
This is one issue which might change the future of the country we live in – Australia.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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