Are There Any Benefits in Becoming a Republic?

Are There Any Benefits in Becoming a Republic?

Answer

There are no discernible benefits as we already have as good a system as is humanly possible to devise but the answer below will address some of the points which republicans believe.

Republicans often say: We want an Australian for head of state but in fact this is already the case. The Governor-General, appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister, is the Sovereign's representative, is an Australian and, whilst in office, is effective head of state of Australia. It is important to know that once the Governor-General is appointed, the Sovereign steps back from all active engagement in day to day affairs and leaves them to the Governor-General. She is, however, regularly updated by the Governor-General's office as to what is going on and thus is aware of all the major issues affecting the country. Although the Sovereign (the Queen) appoints (and can dismiss) the Governor-General, it is always done on the advice of our prime minister.

The Queen serves the people by accepting the majority opinion (those who voted for the government and thus the prime minister) but equally protects those who did not. A monarch makes no distinction between peoples of a realm.

Republicans want Australia to be completely independent of the UK but this has definitively been the case since 1986. The UK has no involvement with Australian government at all. Australia is entirely independent. The fact that we share the body of the Queen with 15 other realms does not mean that our Crown is not independent. Yes, our history has been heavily influenced by Britain, (law and order, our parliamentary system, the checks and balances inherent within constitutional monarchy, the Christian basis of society) but these have enabled us to remain a democratic beacon to many in the world. Becoming a republic would negate much of this.

Republicans want either an elected or appointed person as president. Were Australia to follow this model then we would immediately lose all the neutrality which our monarchy gives us. The Queen, as Sovereign, is the people. She did not campaign for or influence affairs so as to gain office and thus she represents every member of society. An hereditary monarch serves all the people all the time. No republican model can come near this.

We would also lose the intangible historic link to our Founding in the late eighteenth century. It is our past which has made us the nation we are. The links connecting the past, present and future are inescapable and necessary to a country which is comfortable with itself. It is not a 'natural step', as republicans claim, to become a republic and 'close the circle'. Our monarchy contributed hugely to our past and present success and will continue to do so in the future. We are part of an ancient yet outwardly modern continuum of monarchy which has rich traditions and we are part of a family of similarly libertarian nations which although independent of each other, share the person of the Queen as their Sovereign.

Each state has its own Governor who is similarly appointed by the Sovereign but on the advice of the state premier. The States and their independence are integral to the smooth running of the Constitution. The checks and balances of monarchy apply as much at the state level as at the federal. Decentralisation makes for greater accountability. Were Australia to embrace republicanism we would gain nothing but lose much. With our system we are in the forefront of free countries in the world, most of which are monarchies. This is no coincidence. There is no better model of government for keeping ultimate power away from the unscrupulous than a resilient constitutional monarchy.

it stands to reason that if we are to remove what we have, we must replace it with a better system which is more effective in keeping politicians from abusing their position. No proposal which betters what we have has been put forward.

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