Documenting a new framework for a republic

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The consensus framework for an Australian Republic, in which an Australian Head of State is to take the place of the Governor-General and the role of the monarch is discarded, has not been adequately examined and tested against all the alternatives, says Copernican Republican Robert Vose.

On Saturday February 4, I attended the conference arranged by ARM and Deakin University on the "What do we want for our Head of State?" in a republic.

It was a productive conference with many interesting presentations and discussions.

One thing about the republican movement in Australia is that there is a solid consensus that to become a republic, our head of state must take the place of the Governor-General while we jettison the monarch and all the associated royal regalia. This conventional framework combines the two roles of the Queen and the Governor-General into the one role of head of state in a republic. This approach would entail major changes to the Constitution and requires a comprehensive rewrite of the sections on Executive Government.

I think this consensus framework has not been adequately examined and tested against alternatives. Many of the problems faced by republicans in devising a new model can be alleviated by keeping the existing structure of Executive Government that we already have for a republic.

One obvious alternative framework for a republic is to replace the Queen with periodically elected Australians, while keeping the Governor–General and state Governors as they are. This would preserve the structure of Executive Government as it is now.

Models that preserve the framework for Executive Government in a republic have been called Copernican models, after Nicolaus Copernicus. They share some similarities with the McGarvie Model. David Latimer has published an introductory article on Copernican models at On Line Opinion.

I have been following the republic issue since the 1999 referendum. My background is in computing and systems analysis, so my perspective may differ slightly from the consensus view in the republican movement and in the legal profession.

To elaborate this new framework and perspective I will be writing a number of short articles and hope to have them published. Over time, this series of articles should explain the new framework for a republic and my unique new model in particular. The new framework is actually identical to the existing framework of Executive Government for the Commonwealth.

My new model proposes to democratise the Australian Crowns. This particular version of a Copernican model is a separate issue from the one about a suitable framework. This is a unique model that proposes a different process and pathway to becoming a republic. It involves looking at issues and topics in a fresh way.

Some of the initial articles will describe the new framework overall, and some articles will elaborate my new model in particular. New topics will be taken up on specific aspects in response to public feedback and discussion. I hope that these articles will engender some interesting debate about the republic.

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