On the 6th of November 1999 Australia was very close to becoming a republic. There was a 4% difference in the vote for the referendum with 46% of voters in favour for Australia to become a republic and 54% of voters against becoming a republic winning by the smallest margin. But why become a republic? First of all a republic is a state in which the supreme power resides in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly but them (Macquarie Dictionary). In a republic a head of state is a citizen of that country elected by fellow citizens.
If birthright determines the head of state of a country then that country is a monarchy, which at the moment Australia is. Our head of state is currently the Queen, but the Governor-General, who is appointed by the federal government (does not need to be an Australian) represents her. We are a monarchy because of Britain’s colonisation of Australia in 1778. The British brought their way of life, culture and most importantly their way of government with them. This system of government has remained to this day.
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Becoming a republic would not mean that we would lose that history we have with Britain and that if we were to become a fully independent nation it would not severe ties. The Queen has also stated that this was an issue that should be left for Australians to decide. The Queen made her point clear after her representative the Governor-General at the time, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Prime Minister, Mr Gough Whitlam, and instead appointed Mr Malcolm Fraser to the title. This has become to be known as the Whitlam dismissal, and has become the most dramatic event in the history of the Australian federation.
An unelected vice-regal representative removed a leader whose party had the majority of seats in the House of Representatives. The speaker from the House of Representatives wrote to the Queen. This is the letter her secretary sent back: I am commanded by The Queen to acknowledge your letter of 12th November about the recent political events in Australia. You ask that The Queen should act to restore Mr. Whitlam to office as Prime Minister. As we understand the situation here, the Australian Constitution firmly places the prerogative powers of the Crown in the hands of the Governor-General as the representative of the Queen of Australia.
The only person competent to commission an Australian Prime Minister is the Governor-General, and The Queen has no part in the decisions which the Governor-General must take in accordance with the Constitution. Her Majesty, as Queen of Australia, is watching events in Canberra with close interest and attention, but it would not be proper for her to intervene in person in matters which are so clearly placed within the jurisdiction of the Governor-General by the Constitution Act.
I understand that you have been good enough to send a copy of your letter to the Governor-General so I am writing to His Excellency to say that the text of your letter has been received her in London and has been laid before the The Queen. I am sending a copy of this letter to the Governor-General. 17 November 1975 (Malcolm Farnsworth, 2008) This letter shows that the Queen may not care about Australia’s affairs as much as we’d like her to, this is why Australia shouldn’t wait any longer and take control and be independent. Changing from a Monarchy to a Republic isn’t or complex.
But the only way it can be done is if the people want a referendum to change the constitution. The people must make it happen. Australia needs to strive for better things but in order to do that we need a head ???of-state to fully represent us, that is only interested in our needs, not whose first allegiance is with another country. International trade is becoming more and more competitive in today’s market, and the Queen, as our head of state promotes in her travels the British trade and companies, but not Australian. The support to become a republic has gone up since the last attempt.
This is a survey at 3 different times by Newspoll: Thinking now about Australia’s head of state. Which one of the following are you personally most in favour of being Australia’s head of state? March 1995 (%)December 1995 (%)January (%) An Australian to be Australia’s head of state 57 56 64 The Queens to remain as Australia’s head of state 34 36 30 UNCOMMITTED986 So it is time for Australians to have control and want a change. It is time for Australia to become a independent nation and to have its own representative in the world, someone who symbolises us as nation. We won’t be disowning our British heritage but embracing the future.