Len Liddelow puts out a challenge to politicians by suggesting a pathway that may enable an Australian Republic to be created automatically at the end of the Queen's reign.
A large number of politicians from both major parties agree that Australia should wait until the Queen passes before we become a Republic. For some this is nothing more than a delaying tactic that gives them a foot in both camps. They know they will either be long gone when this event occurs, or they hope their party will not be in power to deal with the situation when it does. In other words, it is a convenient copout that gives them an excuse for evading a positive decision that might upset some of their constituents.
Hopefully, many of those that say we should wait are sincere in their belief and will genuinely begin the process when it does happen. Nevertheless it is downright ludicrous for any politician to say we should wait and do nothing about it now. The process will take a long time to achieve and the idea of waiting will push it further into the future.
Here is a challenge to all politicians of all hues that will test their sincerity and see if they have the guts to show their hands.
Start a process now that is self-fulfilling on the death or abdication of the Queen.
It is widely accepted by constitutional experts (note the 1993 advice from then Acting Solicitor-General Denis Rose QC (paras 11 and 14)) that by using section 128, the Preamble to our Constitution can be changed. Could clause 2 of the Preamble be changed to similar to the following?
(2) The provisions of this Act referring to the Queen shall NOT extend to Her Majesty’s heirs and successors and shall be repealed on the demise or abdication of the Queen, and the new Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia shall immediately be enacted.
Further, could our Parliament lawfully pass a new Constitution, now, that only comes into existence on the death or abdication of the Queen? In theory, this move would bypass the tight restrictions presently in place.
Of course we all know a new Constitution is going to take a mountain of work and consultation, but if it is completely based on the old Constitution, with a guarantee of no structural changes, it should be easier to write outside of the restrictions of having to do so within an existing living framework.
These two questions can only be answered by constitutional experts, but if this – or something like it – could be put in place now, a number of benefits could ensue:
First, it may be the simplest way to achieve the process.
Second it should satisfy most Republicans once they can see a Republic may finally happen.
Third, it may satisfy all those Australians who also would prefer to wait until the Queen passes — and it may even appease some monarchists.
This may be the answer for a lot of people, because the question of Australia becoming a Republic will not simply go away. It will continue to bite at the heels of all politicians until something is done.