Republicanism in Australia

Republicanism in Australia

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Republicanism in Australia is a movement to change Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

's status as a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 to a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

an form of government. Such sentiments have been expressed in Australia from before federation
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

 onward to the present. Modern arguments focus on abolishing the Australian monarchy.

Arguments for change and the characteristics of the debate


A central argument made by Australian republicans is that, as Australia is an independent country, it is inappropriate for the same person to be the head of state of more than one country. Some supporters of the monarchy argue that the Governor-General of Australia
Australian head of state dispute
The dispute over who is Australia's head of state centres around the question of whether the Australian monarch or the Governor-General of Australia is the country's head of state; the term head of state does not appear in either Australian or international law...

 already is Australia's head of state. Republicans argue that a person who is resident primarily in another country cannot adequately represent Australia, either to itself or to the rest of the world. Former Chief Justice
Chief Justice of Australia
The Chief Justice of Australia is the informal title for the presiding justice of the High Court of Australia and the highest-ranking judicial officer in the Commonwealth of Australia...

 Gerard Brennan
Gerard Brennan
Sir Francis Gerard Brennan, AC, KBE, QC , is an Australian lawyer, judge and 10th Chief Justice of Australia. He is father to Jesuit priest and lawyer Frank Brennan....

 stated that "so long as we retain the existing system our head of state is determined for us essentially by the parliament at Westminster
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

." (The UK's laws of succession continue to apply in Australia, and may be changed by the United Kingdom parliament only with the consent of the other Commonwealth countries affected.) As Australian Republican Movement
Australian Republican Movement
The Australian Republican Movement is a non-partisan lobby group advocating constitutional change in Australia to a republican form of government, from a constitutional monarchy.-Foundation:...

 member Frank Cassidy put it in a speech on the issue: "In short, we want a resident for President."

Multiculturalism and sectarianism


Republicans argue that Australia has changed demographically and culturally, from being "British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 to our bootstraps", as prime minister Robert Menzies
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

 once put it, to being less British, albeit maintaining an 'English Core'. For Australians not of British ancestry, they argue, the idea of one person being both Monarch of Australia and Monarch of the United Kingdom is an anomaly. It is also claimed that Aborigines and Australians of Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 origin see the Australian Crown as a symbol of British imperialism
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

.

However, monarchists argue that immigrants who left unstable republics and have arrived in Australia since 1945 welcomed the social and political stability that they found in Australia under a constitutional monarchy. Further, some Aborigines such as former Senator
Australian Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

 Neville Bonner
Neville Bonner
Neville Thomas Bonner AO was an Australian politician, and the first indigenous Australian to become a member of the Parliament of Australia...

, said a republican president would not "care one jot more for my people".

It has also been claimed monarchism and republicanism in Australia delineate historical and persistent sectarian
Sectarianism
Sectarianism, according to one definition, is bigotry, discrimination or hatred arising from attaching importance to perceived differences between subdivisions within a group, such as between different denominations of a religion, class, regional or factions of a political movement.The ideological...

 tensions with, broadly speaking, Catholics more likely to be republicans and Protestants more likely to be monarchists. This developed out of a historical cleavage in 19th- and 20th-century Australia, in which republicans were predominantly of Irish
Irish Australian
Irish Australians have played a long and enduring part in Australia's history. Many came to Australia in the eighteenth century as settlers or as convicts, and contributed to Australia's development in many different areas....

 Catholic background and loyalists
Ulster loyalism
Ulster loyalism is an ideology that is opposed to a united Ireland. It can mean either support for upholding Northern Ireland's status as a constituent part of the United Kingdom , support for Northern Ireland independence, or support for loyalist paramilitaries...

 were predominantly of British Protestant background. Whilst mass immigration since the Second World War has diluted this conflict, the Catholic-Protestant divide has been cited as a dynamic in the republic debate, particularly in relation to the referendum
Australian republic referendum, 1999
The Australian republic referendum held on 6 November 1999 was a two-question referendum to amend the Constitution of Australia. The first question asked whether Australia should become a republic with a President appointed by Parliament following a bi-partisan appointment model which had...

 campaign in 1999. Nonetheless, others have stated that Catholic-Protestant tensions — at least in the sense of an Irish-British conflict — are at least forty years dead.

It has also been claimed, however, that the Catholic-Protestant divide is intermingled with class issues. Certainly, republicanism in Australia has traditionally been supported most strongly by urban working class of Irish Catholic background, whereas monarchism is a core value associated with urban and rural inhabitants of British Protestant heritage and the middle class, to the extent that there were calls in 1999 for 300,000 exceptionally enfranchised British subjects who were not Australian citizens to be barred from voting on the grounds that they would vote as a loyalist bloc in a tight referendum.

Social values and contemporary Australia


It has been argued that several characteristics of the monarchy are in conflict with modern Australian values. The hereditary nature of the monarchy is said to conflict with egalitarianism
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

 and dislike of inherited privilege. The laws of succession are held by some to be sexist
Sexism
Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the belief or attitude that there are characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affect one's abilities in unrelated areas...

 and the links between the monarchy and the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 inconsistent with Australia's secular
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 character. Under the Act of Settlement
Act of Settlement
Act of Settlement may refer to:*Statute of Legal Settlement 1547, legislation regarding the settlement of the poor*Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652, in response to the Irish Rebellion of 1641...

, passed by the British Parliament in 1701, the monarch is prohibited from either being Catholic, or from marrying a Catholic. This law is in conflict with Australian anti-discrimination laws which prohibit arrangements under which males have precedence over females, or under which becoming or marrying a Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 invalidates any legal rights.

Monarchists claim that the appointment of an apolitical head of state provides a far more stable constitutional system compared to one involving appointing or electing a president who is likely to have a political agenda. Also, laws surrounding the line of succession, those that stipulate the eldest male is first in line, etc., can be altered without removing the Australian monarchy (although, in practice, such laws would require consent from the Parliaments of all the other Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

s).

Proposals for change


A typical proposal for an Australian republic provides for the Queen and Governor-General to be replaced by a President or an Executive Federal Council
Federal Council
-Governmental bodies:* Federal Council of Australasia, a forerunner to the current Commonwealth of Australia* Federal Council of Austria, the upper house of the Austrian federal parliament...

. There is much debate on the appointment or election process that would be used and what role such an office would have.

Methods for selecting a president

  • Election
    • by the federal Parliament alone;
    • by federal and state Parliaments (as in India
      India
      India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

      );
    • by a popular vote (as in the Republic of Ireland
      Republic of Ireland
      Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

      );
  • Selection
    • by the Prime Minister
      Prime Minister of Australia
      The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

      ;
    • by consensus among the Government and Opposition;
    • by a constitutional council (known as the McGarvie Model
      McGarvie Model
      The McGarvie Model is a proposition for change to the Australian Constitution to remove references to the monarchy and establish a republic. It is also known as the Australian Democracy Model....

      );


An alternative minimalist approach to change provides for removing the Queen and retaining the Governor-General. The most notable model of this type is the McGarvie Model
McGarvie Model
The McGarvie Model is a proposition for change to the Australian Constitution to remove references to the monarchy and establish a republic. It is also known as the Australian Democracy Model....

, while Copernican
Copernican paradigm (Australia)
Copernican paradigm is an analysis of Australian constitutional structures in order to develop models establishing Australia as a republic with a directly elected head of state. It is named for Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.-Background:...

 models replace the Queen with a directly-elected figurehead. These Copernican models allow for regular and periodic elections for the office of head of state, while limiting the reserve powers to the appointed Governor-General only. A popularly elected head of state would have the same powers as the Queen but he or she could not dismiss the Prime Minister. If this were to happen, it would be a first, as all other former Commonwealth realms have created presidencies upon becoming republics.

Some republicans propose an executive presidency
Executive president
An executive president is a president who exercises active executive power in a certain systems of government. Executive presidents are active in day-to-day governance of a nation, and are usually popularly elected....

, a semi-presidential system
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

, a federal council or other constitutional reforms, such as citizen-initiated referenda
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

. Alternatively it has been proposed to abolish the roles of the Governor-General and the monarchy and have their functions exercised by other constitutional officers such as the Speaker
Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Parliament of Australia. The presiding officer in the upper house is the President of the Senate....

.

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy is a group that aims to preserve Australia's current constitutional monarchy, with Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia...

 and the Australian Monarchist League
Australian Monarchist League
The Australian Monarchist League is a non-profit organisation, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, promoting the monarchy of Australia, and providing information to members of the public about Australian history and the Australian Constitution...

 argue that no model is better than the present system and argue that the risk and difficulty of changing the constitution is best demonstrated by inability of republicans to back a definitive design.

Process models



From its foundation until the 1999 referendum
Australian republic referendum, 1999
The Australian republic referendum held on 6 November 1999 was a two-question referendum to amend the Constitution of Australia. The first question asked whether Australia should become a republic with a President appointed by Parliament following a bi-partisan appointment model which had...

, the Australian Republican Movement
Australian Republican Movement
The Australian Republican Movement is a non-partisan lobby group advocating constitutional change in Australia to a republican form of government, from a constitutional monarchy.-Foundation:...

 (ARM) supported the bi-partisan appointment model
Bi-partisan appointment republican model
The Bi-partisan appointment republican model is a proposal for Australian constitutional reform. If approved at referendum, the model would have established Australia as a republic with a Head of State appointed by the Australian Federal Parliament...

, which would result in a President elected by the Parliament of Australia
Parliament of Australia
The Parliament of Australia, also known as the Commonwealth Parliament or Federal Parliament, is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It is bicameral, largely modelled in the Westminster tradition, but with some influences from the United States Congress...

, with the powers currently held by the Governor-General. It is argued that the requirement of a two-thirds majority in a vote of both houses of parliament would result in a bi-partisan appointment, preventing a party politician from becoming president.

The ARM now supports a non-bind plebiscite to decide the model, followed by a binding referendum to amend the Constitution, reflecting the model chosen. Opponents of holding non-binding plebiscites include monarchist David Flint
David Flint
Professor David Flint, AM, LLM , BSc , DSU is an Australian legal academic, known for his leadership of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and for his tenure as head of the Australian Broadcasting Authority.-Background:...

, who described this process as "inviting a vote of no confidence in one of the most successful constitutions in the world," and minimalist republican Greg Craven, who states "a multi-option plebiscite inevitably will produce a direct election model, precisely for the reason that such a process favours models with shallow surface appeal and multiple flaws. Equally inevitably, such a model would be doomed at referendum."

Public opinion


Polls and surveys generate different responses depending on the wording of the questions, mostly in regards the type of republic, and often appear contradictory. In May 2008, a Morgan poll found 45% believe Australia should become a republic with an elected president, while 42% support Australia remaining a monarchy and 13% are undecided.

The Australian Electoral Survey that is conducted following all elections by the Australian National University
Australian National University
The Australian National University is a teaching and research university located in the Australian capital, Canberra.As of 2009, the ANU employs 3,945 administrative staff who teach approximately 10,000 undergraduates, and 7,500 postgraduate students...

 has found that support for a republic has remained reasonably static since 1987 at around 60%, if the type of republic is not part of the question. The Electoral Survey also shows that support or opposition is relatively weak. 31% strongly support a republic while only 10% strongly oppose.

An opinion poll held in November 2008 that separated the questions found support for a republic at 50% with 28% opposed. Asked how the president should be chosen if there were to be a republic, 80 percent said elected by the people, against 12 percent who favoured appointment by parliament. In October 2009 another poll by UMR found 59% support for a republic and 33% opposition. 73% supported direct election, versus 18% support for parliamentary appointment.

On 29 August 2010 the The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald is a daily broadsheet newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia. The newspaper is published six days a week. The newspaper's Sunday counterpart, The...

published a poll produced by Neilson, asking multiple questions on the future of the monarchy:
  • 48% of the 1400 respondents were opposed to constitutional change (a rise of 8 per cent since 2008)
  • 44% supported change (a drop of 8 per cent since 2008).

But when asked which of the following statements best described their view:
  • 31% said Australia should never become a republic.
  • 29% said Australia should become a republic as soon as possible.
  • 34% said Australia should become a republic only after Queen Elizabeth II's reign ends.


The most recent poll, a survey of 1000 readers of The Sun-Herald
The Sun-Herald
The Sun-Herald is an Australian tabloid newspaper published on Sundays in Sydney by Fairfax Media. It is the Sunday counterpart of The Sydney Morning Herald. In the 6 months to September 2005, The Sun-Herald had a circulation of 515,000...

and The Sydney Morning Herald, published in The Sydney Morning Herald on 21 November 2010, found 68% of respondents were in favour of Australia becoming a republic, while 25% said it should not. More than half the respondents, 56%, said Australia should become a republic as soon as possible while 31% said it should happen after the Queen dies.

However, an opinion poll conducted in 2011 saw a sharp decline in the support for an Australian republic. The polling conducted by the Morgan Poll in May 2011 showed the support for the monarchy was now 55% (up 17% since 1999), whereas the support for a republic was at 34% (down 20%).

Liberal-National Coalition


The Liberal party
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

 is a conservative and classical liberal
Classical liberalism
Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

 party. The former generally favours the status quo, the latter favours republicanism. Proponents of republicanism in the Liberal Party include: its former leader and former leader of the Australian Republican Movement
Australian Republican Movement
The Australian Republican Movement is a non-partisan lobby group advocating constitutional change in Australia to a republican form of government, from a constitutional monarchy.-Foundation:...

 Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Bligh Turnbull is an Australian politician. He has been a member of the Australian House of Representatives since 2004, and was Leader of the Opposition and parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party from 16 September 2008 to 1 December 2009.Turnbull has represented the Division...

, Julie Bishop
Julie Bishop
Julie Isabel Bishop is an Australian politician and the current Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Australia. She holds this title as the deputy leader of the Liberal Party of Australia. She is the party's first female Deputy Leader and the third woman in Australian history to...

, Joe Hockey
Joe Hockey
Joseph Benedict "Joe" Hockey , is an Australian politician and member of the Australian House of Representatives, representing the Division of North Sydney for the Liberal Party of Australia since 1996....

 and Peter Costello
Peter Costello
Peter Howard Costello AC is an Australian politician and lawyer who served as the Treasurer in the Australian government from 1996 to 2007. He is the longest-serving Treasurer in Australian history. Costello was a Member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1990 to 2009, representing...

. Supporters of the status quo
Status quo
Statu quo, a commonly used form of the original Latin "statu quo" – literally "the state in which" – is a Latin term meaning the current or existing state of affairs. To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are...

 include current leader and former ACM Leader, Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott
Anthony John "Tony" Abbott is the Leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives and federal leader of the centre-right Liberal Party of Australia. Abbott has represented the seat of Warringah since the 1994 by-election...

, former opposition leader Brendan Nelson
Brendan Nelson
Dr Brendan John Nelson is a former Australian politician and former federal Opposition leader. He served as a member of the Australian House of Representatives from the 1996 federal election until 19 October 2009 as the Liberal member for Bradfield, a northern Sydney seat...

, Cory Bernardi
Cory Bernardi
Cory Bernardi is an Australian politician. He has been a Liberal Party member of the Australian Senate since 2006, representing the state of South Australia.-Early life:...

 and Alexander Downer
Alexander Downer
Alexander John Gosse Downer is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was Foreign Minister of Australia from March 1996 to December 2007, the longest-serving in Australian history...

. Historically, however, the party has always upheld monarchism and links with Britain (see the comment by Liberal Prime Minister Menzies above).

The National party
National Party of Australia
The National Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Traditionally representing graziers, farmers and rural voters generally, it began as the The Country Party, but adopted the name The National Country Party in 1975, changed to The National Party of Australia in 1982. The party is...

 has few republicans, its former leader, Tim Fischer
Tim Fischer
Timothy Andrew Fischer, AC , is a former Australian politician. He served as Deputy Prime Minister in the Howard Government from 1996 before retiring from Cabinet in 1999...

 being the leading example. A conservative party with a rural base, its core constituency has always been strongly monarchist. As such, it remains against change as official policy.

Under former Prime Minister Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

, a monarchist, the government initiated a process
Process model (Australia)
A process model is a proposal to assist the Parliament of Australia make decisions concerning constitutional reform. In Australia, process models are devised to involve the public in republicanism.-Rationale:...

 to settle the republican debate, involving a constitutional convention and a referendum. Howard, who supports the status quo, says the matter was resolved by the failure of the referendum.

Australian Labor Party


Labor
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

, which came to power near the end of 2007, has supported constitutional change to become a republic since 1991 and has incorporated republicanism into its platform. Labor currently proposes a series of plebiscites to restart the republican process
Process model (Australia)
A process model is a proposal to assist the Parliament of Australia make decisions concerning constitutional reform. In Australia, process models are devised to involve the public in republicanism.-Rationale:...

. Labor spokesperson (now federal health minister) Nicola Roxon
Nicola Roxon
Nicola Louise Roxon is an Australian politician, and is the Minister for Health and Ageing. She has been a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives since 1998, representing the Division of Gellibrand, in the inner-western suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria.-Early and personal life:She...

 has previously said that reform will "always fail if we seek to inflict a certain option on the public without their involvement. This time round, the people must shape the debate".

The Greens


The Australian Greens
Australian Greens
The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, is an Australian green political party.The party was formed in 1992; however, its origins can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and the formation of the United Tasmania Group , the first Green party in the world, which...

 strongly support a move towards a republic. In the Senate, the Greens have proposed legislation to hold a plebiscite on the republic at the next federal election.

Early history


The founding of the British penal colony at Sydney Cove
Sydney Cove
Sydney Cove is a small bay on the southern shore of Port Jackson , on the coast of the state of New South Wales, Australia....

 in 1788 was in the geopolitical context of the revolution in the American colonies
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 in 1776 and a year before the French revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 of 1789. The Anti-Transportation League, a group founded in 1849 which was opposed to the transportation of convicts to Australia, argued that such a "Fenian
Fenian
The Fenians , both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood , were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century. The name "Fenians" was first applied by John O'Mahony to the members of the Irish republican...

" colony could separate from the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, due to its then largely Irish Catholic make up.

Prior to Federation


John Dunmore Lang
John Dunmore Lang
John Dunmore Lang , Australian Presbyterian clergyman, writer, politician and activist, was the first prominent advocate of an independent Australian nation and of Australian republicanism.-Background and Family:...

, a Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 cleric and politician, published The Coming Event! Or, the United Provinces of Australia in 1850 and Freedom and Independence for the Golden Lands of Australia in 1852.

Some leaders and participants of the revolt at the Eureka Stockade
Eureka Stockade
The Eureka Rebellion of 1854 was an organised rebellion by gold miners which occurred at Eureka Lead in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. The Battle of Eureka Stockade was fought on 3 December 1854 and named for the stockade structure erected by miners during the conflict...

 in 1854, held republican views. The incident has been used to encourage republicanism in subsequent years. The Eureka Flag
Eureka Flag
The Eureka Flag is a design; a dark blue field with a central white symmetric cross consisting five eight-pointed stars, representing the Crux constellation....

 appears in connection with some republican groups.

A scheme proposed at the Imperial Conference of 1887 would have seen colonies taxed for the protection of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. The Australian delegates were highly critical of the proposal, echoing the rallying cry of the American revolution "No taxation without representation
No taxation without representation
"No taxation without representation" is a slogan originating during the 1750s and 1760s that summarized a primary grievance of the British colonists in the Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution...

".

The Australian Republican Association (ARA) was founded in response, advocating the abolition of Governors, and their titles; the revision of the penal code; payment of members of Parliament; nationalisation of land; and an independent federal Australian republic outside of the Empire. The League held a number of public meetings. At the same time a movement emerged in favour of a "White Australia
White Australia policy
The White Australia policy comprises various historical policies that intentionally restricted "non-white" immigration to Australia. From origins at Federation in 1901, the polices were progressively dismantled between 1949-1973....

" policy; however British authorities in Whitehall
Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...

 were opposed to segregational laws. To circumvent Westminster, those in favour of the discriminatory policies backed the proposed secession from the Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 as a republic; a move advertised and advocated by the journal The Bulletin
The Bulletin
The Bulletin was an Australian weekly magazine that was published in Sydney from 1880 until January 2008. It was influential in Australian culture and politics from about 1890 until World War I, the period when it was identified with the "Bulletin school" of Australian literature. Its influence...

. One attendee of the ARA meetings was the Australian-born poet, Henry Lawson
Henry Lawson
Henry Lawson was an Australian writer and poet. Along with his contemporary Banjo Paterson, Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period and is often called Australia's "greatest writer"...

. Lawson wrote his first poem, entitled A Song of the Republic in The Republican journal.
When the Republican League disrupted the Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 centenary in 1888 Anniversary Day
Australia Day
Australia Day is the official national day of Australia...

, one visiting British statesman said "Thank God there is an English fleet in harbour".

Federation


At the Australian Federation Convention which produced the first draft that was to become the Australian Constitution in Sydney in 1891, a former Premier of New South Wales George Dibbs
George Dibbs
Sir George Richard Dibbs KCMG was an Australian politician who was Premier of New South Wales on three occasions.-Early years:Dibbs was born in Sydney, son of Captain John Dibbs, who disappeared in the same year...

 described as the "inevitable destiny of the people of this great country" the establishment of "the Republic of Australia".

However, the fervour of republicanism tailed off in the 1890s as the labour movement became concerned with the Federation of Australia
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

, and which became the focus following federation in 1901.

Whitlam era


The election of a Labor
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 Government in 1972 marked the end of a period where Australians saw themselves principally as part of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 (formerly the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

). Prime Minister Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

 instituted a number of changes, including removing reference to the United Kingdom in Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

's Australian title on 19 October 1973, when she signed her assent to the Royal Style and Titles Act, and creating a domestic system of conferring civil and military honours
Australian Honours System
-History:The Commonwealth of Australia, until 1975, used the Imperial or British honours system. Only a handful of peerages were created for Australians, some in recognition of public services rendered in Britain rather than Australia. Some hereditary peers and baronets whose titles derive from...

. It was also during this time that Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 dropped Australia's preferred economic and trade status in favour of the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

. Nevertheless, Whitlam's administration was not itself republican, as Whitlam himself noted in his memoirs, written long afterwards.

The Whitlam Government ended in 1975 with a dramatic constitutional crisis
Australian constitutional crisis of 1975
The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis has been described as the greatest political crisis and constitutional crisis in Australia's history. It culminated on 11 November 1975 with the removal of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party , by Governor-General Sir John Kerr...

 in which the Queen's representative, the Governor-General
Governor-General of Australia
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative in Australia at federal/national level of the Australian monarch . He or she exercises the supreme executive power of the Commonwealth...

 (then John Kerr), dismissed Whitlam and his entire ministry, appointing Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

 in his place. This particular incident raised questions about the value of maintaining a supposedly "symbolic" office that still possessed many key, and potentially dangerous, political powers. It is notable however, that the monarch herself was not consulted in the decision to use the reserve powers and pointedly refused to intervene, noting that she lacked authority to do so under the Australian constitution. What an Australian President with the same reserve powers would do in a similar situation is also debatable.

Australia Act and other changes


In 1986, the Australia Act was enacted, thereafter eliminating the remaining, mainly theoretical, ties between the legislature and judiciary of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the Australian states
States and territories of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a union of six states and various territories. The Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories, with the sixth state of Tasmania being made up of islands. In addition there are six island territories, known as external territories, and a...

. It was later determined by the High Court
High Court of Australia
The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, has the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and...

 in Sue v Hill
Sue v Hill
Sue v Hill was an Australian court case decided in the High Court of Australia on 23 June 1999. It concerned a dispute over the apparent return of a candidate, Heather Hill, to the Australian Senate in the 1998 federal election...

that this legislation established Britain and Australia as independent nations sharing the same person as their relevant sovereign
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

.

At broadly the same time, references to the monarchy were being removed from various institutions. For example, in 1993, references to the Queen were removed from the Oath of Citizenship
Oath of citizenship
An Oath of Citizenship is an oath taken by immigrants that officially naturalizes immigrants into citizens. It is often the final step in this process, and is usually done in a ceremonial capacity. An oath of citizenship is designed to be a statement of loyalty and patriotism to the new country...

, sworn by naturalised Australians, who would now pledge loyalty to "Australia and its people." Further, the state of Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 deleted all references to the monarchy from its legislation, with new laws being enacted by its parliament, not the Queen, and "binding on the State of Queensland," not the Crown. Barristers in New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 and Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 are no longer appointed Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

(QC), but as Senior Counsel
Senior Counsel
The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel is given to a senior barrister or advocate in some countries, typically equivalent to the title "Queen's Counsel" used in Commonwealth Realms...

(SC), as in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

. Institutions in Australia could also no longer apply to have a royal in their title. Many monarchists condemned these changes as moves to a "republic by stealth."

Nevertheless, all Australian Senators and Members of the House of Representatives continued to swear "to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty" before taking their seats in parliament; as a part of the constitution, any changes to this oath could only be approved by a referendum.

Keating Government proposals


The Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 first made republicanism its official policy in 1991, with then Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

 describing a republic as inevitable. His successor Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

 pursued the republican agenda much more actively than Hawke had done, and he established the Republic Advisory Committee
Republic Advisory Committee
The Republic Advisory Committee was a committee established by the then Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating in May 1993 to examine the constitutional and legal issues that would arise were Australia to become a republic...

 to produce an options paper on issues relating to the possible transition to a republic to take effect on the centenary of federation: 1 January 2001. The Committee produced its report in April 1993, and argued that "a republic is achievable without threatening Australia’s cherished democratic institutions."

In response to the report, Keating promised a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 on the establishment of a republic, replacing the Governor-General
Governor-General
A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...

 with a President
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

, and removing references to the Queen. The President was to be nominated by the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 and appointed by a two-thirds majority in a joint sitting of the Senate
Australian Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

 and House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

. The referendum was to be held either in 1998 or 1999. However, Keating was voted out of office at the Australian federal election, 1996.

1998 Constitutional Convention



With the change in government in 1996, Prime Minister John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 proceeded with an alternative policy of holding a constitutional convention. This was held over two weeks in February 1998 at Old Parliament House.
Old Parliament House, Canberra
Old Parliament House, known formerly as the Provisional Parliament House, was the house of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988. The building began operation on 9 May 1927 as a temporary base for the Commonwealth Parliament after its relocation from Melbourne to the new capital, Canberra,...

 Half of the 152 delegates were elected and half were appointed by Federal and state governments. A number of convention delegates appointed by Howard himself were accused of having fixed views on retaining the monarchy. For example, in the ACT
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

, Sir David Smith
David Smith (Australian public servant)
Sir David Iser Smith, KCVO, AO, is a retired Australian public servant. He was the Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia between 1973 and 1990, serving Sir Paul Hasluck, Sir John Kerr, Sir Zelman Cowen, Sir Ninian Stephen and Bill Hayden.-Biography:David Smith was born in 1933,...

 and Heidi Zwar were appointed to represent the people of Canberra. Both these delegates were on the public record of holding unswerving support for the monarchy despite being appointed to articulate the views of one of Australia's most pro-republican territories. The presence of a number of such appointed delegates acted to elevate voting opposition to a republican consensus. Prime Minister Howard was able to point to their intransigent opposition as evidence of broad community concern over a move toward a republican constitution. Convention delegates were asked whether or not Australia should become a republic and which model for a republic is preferred. At the opening of the Convention, John Howard stated that if the Convention could not decide on a model to be put to a referendum, then plebiscites would be held on the model preferred by the Australian public.

At the Convention, a republic gained majority support (89 votes to 52 with 11 abstentions), but the question of what model for a republic should be put to the people at a referendum produced deep divisions among republicans. Four republican models were debated: two involving direct election
Direct election republican model (Australia)
A direct election republican model is a proposal for Australian constitutional reform. If proposal of this type is approved at a referendum, it would establish Australia as a republic with a Head of State chosen directly by the Australian electorate....

 of the head of state; one involving appointment on the advice of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 (the McGarvie Model
McGarvie Model
The McGarvie Model is a proposition for change to the Australian Constitution to remove references to the monarchy and establish a republic. It is also known as the Australian Democracy Model....

); and one involving appointment by a two-thirds majority of Parliament
Parliament of Australia
The Parliament of Australia, also known as the Commonwealth Parliament or Federal Parliament, is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It is bicameral, largely modelled in the Westminster tradition, but with some influences from the United States Congress...

 (the bi-partisan appointment model
Bi-partisan appointment republican model
The Bi-partisan appointment republican model is a proposal for Australian constitutional reform. If approved at referendum, the model would have established Australia as a republic with a Head of State appointed by the Australian Federal Parliament...

).

The bi-partisan appointment model was eventually successful at the Convention, even though it only obtained a majority because of 22 abstentions in the final vote (57 against delegates voted against the model and 73 voted for, three votes short of an actual majority of delegates). A number of republicans who supported direct election abstained from the vote (such as Ted Mack
Ted Mack (politician)
Edward Carrington Mack is an Australian politician. He is the only person ever to have been elected and re-elected as an independent to local, state and federal government in Australia, and is often referred to as the "father of the independents".-Early life:Mack was born in the Sydney suburb of...

, Phil Cleary
Phil Cleary
Philip Ronald Cleary is an Australian commentator on politics and sport, particularly Australian rules football, and a former independent politician elected at the 1992 Wills by-election.-Football playing career:...

, Clem Jones
Clem Jones
Clem Jones AO a surveyor by profession, was the longest serving Lord Mayor of the city of Brisbane, Australia, representing the Australian Labor Party from 1961 to 1975.-Public life:...

 and Andrew Gunter), thereby allowing the bi-partisan model to succeed. They reasoned that the model would be defeated at a referendum, and a second referendum called with direct election as the model.

The Convention also made recommendations about a preamble
Preamble
A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document's purpose and underlying philosophy. When applied to the opening paragraphs of a statute, it may recite historical facts pertinent to the subject of the statute...

 to the Constitution, and a proposed preamble was also put to referendum.

According to critics, the two-week timeline and quasi-democratic composition of the convention is evidence of an attempt by John Howard to frustrate the republican cause. Although he admits to being an "unashamed royalist", the claim is one he adamantly rejects.

1999 Republican referendum


The 1999 Australian republic referendum
Australian republic referendum, 1999
The Australian republic referendum held on 6 November 1999 was a two-question referendum to amend the Constitution of Australia. The first question asked whether Australia should become a republic with a President appointed by Parliament following a bi-partisan appointment model which had...

 was a two question referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 held in 1999. The first question asked whether Australia should become a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 with a President
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 appointed by Parliament
Parliament of Australia
The Parliament of Australia, also known as the Commonwealth Parliament or Federal Parliament, is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It is bicameral, largely modelled in the Westminster tradition, but with some influences from the United States Congress...

, a model that had previously been decided at a Constitutional Convention
Constitutional Convention (Australia)
In Australian history, the term Constitutional Convention refers to four distinct gatherings.-1891 convention:The 1891 Constitutional Convention was held in Sydney in March 1891 to consider a draft Constitution for the proposed federation of the British colonies in Australia and New Zealand. There...

 in February 1998. The second question, generally deemed to be far less important politically, asked whether Australia should alter the constitution
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

 to insert a preamble. Neither of the amendments passed, with 55% of all electors and all states voting 'no' to the proposed amendment.

Under the referendum proposal, the Governor-General and Queen would be replaced by one office, the President of the Commonwealth of Australia. The President would be elected by a two thirds majority of the Australian Parliament for a fixed term.

The referendum was held on 6 November 1999, after a national advertising campaign and the distribution of 12.9 million Yes/No case pamphlets. The question on a republic was defeated. It was not carried in any state and attracted 45 per cent of the total national vote. The preamble referendum question was also defeated, with a Yes vote of only 39 per cent.

Many opinions were put forward for the defeat, some relating to perceived difficulties with the Parliamentary Appointment model, others relating to the lack of public engagement or that most Australian were simply happy to keep the status quo. Some republicans voted no because they did not agree with provisions such as the President being instantly dismissable by the Prime Minister.

2004 Senate Inquiry


On 26 June 2003, the Senate
Australian Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

 referred an Inquiry into an Australian Republic to the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee. During 2004, the committee reviewed 730 submissions and conducted hearings
Hearing (law)
In law, a hearing is a proceeding before a court or other decision-making body or officer, such as a government agency.A hearing is generally distinguished from a trial in that it is usually shorter and often less formal...

 in all state capitals. The Committee tabled its report called Road to a Republic on 31 August 2004.

The report examined the contest between minimalist and direct-election models
Direct election republican model (Australia)
A direct election republican model is a proposal for Australian constitutional reform. If proposal of this type is approved at a referendum, it would establish Australia as a republic with a Head of State chosen directly by the Australian electorate....

 and gave attention to hybrid models such as the Electoral College Model, the Constitutional Council Model and models having both an elected President and a Governor-General.

The bi-partisan recommendations of committee supported educational initiatives and holding a series of plebiscites to allow the public to choose which model they preferred, prior to a final draft and referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

, along the lines of plebiscites proposed by John Howard at the 1998 Constitutional Convention.

2006 and the Queen's visit


Issues related to republicanism were raised by the March 2006 visit to Australia by Queen Elizabeth II. Then Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 was questioned at the time by British journalists about the future of the monarchy in Australia, and there was debate about playing God Save the Queen
God Save the Queen
"God Save the Queen" is an anthem used in a number of Commonwealth realms and British Crown Dependencies. The words of the song, like its title, are adapted to the gender of the current monarch, with "King" replacing "Queen", "he" replacing "she", and so forth, when a king reigns...

during the opening of the Commonwealth Games
2006 Commonwealth Games
The 2006 Commonwealth Games were held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia between 15 March and 26 March 2006. It was the largest sporting event to be staged in Melbourne, eclipsing the 1956 Summer Olympics in terms of the number of teams competing, athletes competing, and events being held.The site...

.

Current status


In the lead-up to the 2010 federal election, Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

 stated "I believe that this nation should be a republic. I also believe that this nation has got a deep affection for Queen Elizabeth." She stated her view that it would be appropriate for Australia to become a republic only once Queen Elizabeth II's reign ends. On the process for becoming a republic, Gillard said "What I would like to see as the prime minister is that we work our way through to an agreement on a republic." The current leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott
Anthony John "Tony" Abbott is the Leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives and federal leader of the centre-right Liberal Party of Australia. Abbott has represented the seat of Warringah since the 1994 by-election...

 supports the status quo and previously served as Executive Director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy is a group that aims to preserve Australia's current constitutional monarchy, with Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia...

. He stated "While there may very well be further episodes of republicanism in this country, I am far from certain that, at least in our lifetimes, there’s likely to be any significant change".

Both the Australian Republican Movement
Australian Republican Movement
The Australian Republican Movement is a non-partisan lobby group advocating constitutional change in Australia to a republican form of government, from a constitutional monarchy.-Foundation:...

 and opponent monarchist groups, such as Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
Australians for Constitutional Monarchy is a group that aims to preserve Australia's current constitutional monarchy, with Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia...

, remain active.

See also

  • Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
    Australians for Constitutional Monarchy
    Australians for Constitutional Monarchy is a group that aims to preserve Australia's current constitutional monarchy, with Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia...

  • Australian Republican Movement
    Australian Republican Movement
    The Australian Republican Movement is a non-partisan lobby group advocating constitutional change in Australia to a republican form of government, from a constitutional monarchy.-Foundation:...

  • Australian Constitutional History
  • Australian constitutional law
    Australian constitutional law
    Australian constitutional law is the area of the law of Australia relating to the interpretation and application of the Constitution of Australia. Several major doctrines of Australian constitutional law have developed....

  • Constitution of Australia
    Constitution of Australia
    The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

  • Process model (Australia)
    Process model (Australia)
    A process model is a proposal to assist the Parliament of Australia make decisions concerning constitutional reform. In Australia, process models are devised to involve the public in republicanism.-Rationale:...

  • Australian flag debate
    Australian flag debate
    The Australian flag debate is a debate over whether the Australian flag should be changed in order to remove the Union Flag from the canton, often in connection with the issue of republicanism in Australia...

  • Australian head of state dispute
    Australian head of state dispute
    The dispute over who is Australia's head of state centres around the question of whether the Australian monarch or the Governor-General of Australia is the country's head of state; the term head of state does not appear in either Australian or international law...


External links