Why a republic - in 300 words

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by Michael Keating AO, chair of the Australian Republican Movement

An Australian Republic is about Australia’s future. It’s about our identity and our place in the world in the twenty-first century. It’s about having constitutional arrangements that reflect the sovereignty of the Australian people. It’s about providing the opportunity for a fellow Australian citizen to unambiguously represent us as our Head of State. Michael Keating AO explains.

THE CURRENT system has the British crown at the apex of our constitutional arrangements – that is the same crown that must be represented by the eldest son of a particular Church of England family – and in which we Australians have no say in at all. This is hardly a reflection of our Australian values.

The constitutional buck should stop with us, not the British monarchy. We don’t need the assistance of anyone outside Australia to help us practice Australian democracy. We must sever our ties with the British monarchy and stand on our own two feet.

We are not severing ties with an individual but with a system that just does not fit with multicultural Australia in 2009. The financial cost of achieving a republic is very small in the overall scheme of government outlays. The cost is, in fact, part of the cost of running a democracy, where input from the people should be central.

There’s always a reason to procrastinate. Yes, the Government has big issues to consider at the moment but so they always will. We elect representatives to our parliaments to represent us on all the issues of concern to us – not just a few selected ones that are convenient to politicians. Polls continue to indicate that a majority of Australians want an Australian Republic.

The republic is about us Australians. It should be something we achieve, on our own timetable, on our own shores involving as many individual Australians as possible.

We have the ingredients, we just need the political leadership.  
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