Constitutional Law Essay - Republic Debate

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An Australian Republic?

Word Count including footnotes: 2,460 Constitutional Law - BLB1118

Annastasia Kyriakidis Student number: s3847443

Student number: s3847443

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This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of having an Australian republic as oppose to the current Constitutional monarchy in place. The paper covers many of the popular arguments both for and against an Australian republic; from the hereditary right of the Crown, to the values of the people being represented in law and most importantly within the Constitution of Australia. The paper concludes that instating a republic is the better alternative, being the last step in fully recognising Australiaʼs independence from the United Kingdom.

Introduction Australia's current system of government consists of a Constitutional monarchy whereby the Crown, currently Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, is the head of state as established within the Commonwealth Constitution of Australia1. In practice the Queen is represented by the GovernorGeneral federally and Governors at state level, who are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister and State Premiers by the Queen, leaving all other duties to the Governor-General. The Queens representative although limited to performing ceremonial work and acting on the advice of ministers, also has reserve powers granted within the Constitution2 that allow the dismissal of the Prime Minister and or whole parties. In contrast to what Australia is now a republic is “a sovereign and independent state possessing a representative government of the people; a state where the will or consent of the governed people is the source of all governmental authority” open to all citizens irrelevant of race, colour, creed and sex 3. This definition, which is linked to concepts such as independence and sovereignty, is characteristic of what Australia is today, with the exception of a monarch. In this paper the idea of an Australian republic will be explored in reference to the benefits and detriments of implementing such a system. Australians are in a peculiar position, implementing change without the presence of a war of independence to facilitate action. As such it is the Australian way to peacefully and democratically make important decisions, and choosing whether a Constitutional monarchy or republic is representative of the ideals of this nation is a difficult but important decision.

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Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Cth) Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary

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Why it is important for Australia to be a republic An Australian republic has been an issue since before federation. It was a disputed idea at the time of federation, whether Australia should go down the same path as United States, and sever all ties with the monarchy. Unlike the United States there was no revolt against the motherland to promote such action with many of the population being British born showing much affection for their home country. An Australian republic is an idea that has pervaded Australian politics for more than 100 years, hence it is not a fad or trend which will fade with time, it is a legitimate plight which deserves to be recognised by the Australian government. Discourse surrounding the issue further legitimates the topic as one of great importance, opinion polls are evidence of this with a majority in support of an (undefined) Australian republic4 . The failure of the 1999 referendum has been attributed to the incorrect republican model being adopted, which did not take the peoples desires into account, hence it is argued that although previously unsuccessful, the failure of this referendum is not attributed to lack of support for this cause. Further it is noteworthy to consider that referendums have rarely been successful, in over 100 years of existence the constitution has only been approved...
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