Why Do Republicans Argue for an Australian Head of State?

Why Do Republicans Argue for an Australian Head of State?


The argument "we want an Australian head of State" sounds trendy but is actually meaningless. Whenever republicans are asked what they actually mean by this they generally cannot explain. The term ‘Head of State’ came into being long after our Australian Constitution was drafted and was used mainly by presidents of republics to describe themselves. In Australia, we have a different system from a republic as we are a Constitutional Monarchy, the main benefit of which is that the Monarch, through the Governor-General acts as a guardian of our Constitution keeping absolute power from the hands of politicians. This is why, over the past 110+ years, Australia has gained an enviable reputation of political security and economic stability. 

Following appointment by the King, the Governor-General assumes all constitutional duties of the Crown and can be said to become our ‘Executive Head of State’ as he carries on similar duties to that of Heads of State of republics with the only residual power retained by the Queen being that of dismissing the Governor-General. That power is always exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister and the benefit in this indirect approach is that because the Prime Minister cannot by himself appoint or sack the Governor-General, the process becomes transparent and open to question by the public and the media and is therefore a safety valve and an important part of the checks and balances which pervade our entire constitutional system of governance.

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