Why Australia should be a Republic - a student's view

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by Alex Gunther

The British Monarchy doesn’t represent Australian independence, says high school student Alex Gunther. The only way for Australia to have full independence is by becoming a republic.

A republic is a vision for the future of Australia. Becoming a republic is the last stepping stone Australia needs to cross to become a fully independent nation.

The concept of a republic is about trusting the sovereignty of the nation to the citizens who inhabit it. It is about the community coming together and selecting, or electing, a commonly supported member of the community to represent them as their head of state. It is the form of self-governance Australia deserves to have.

Australia can protect itself; we are the world’s golden child who dodged the global financial crisis bullet that severely wounded many other countries. Australia prevailed while others, such as Great Britain, were crippled.

Australia is, indeed, a son of Great Britain, but one who has proved his competence over time through his actions in important world events. Yet, though we pretend we are independent, in fact we still live with our parent. The time has come for us to move out and make our own way.

This year, Australia has been federated for 110 years, yet somehow we still don’t have our own head of state. Yes, we have is a resident de facto head of state in the form of a Governor General, but this person does not serve the Australian people, but rather serves as the representative of the Queen of the United Kingdom. A Queen who – despite what monarchists may say – is not and can never be a true Australian. And neither can her offspring, no matter how hard they may try.

So, we continue holding on to the hand of the British Monarchy, though we have traveled far down the road to nationhood. Far enough to become fully aware of our potential as a nation. To claim we are truly independent is naïve when our country is so firmly entrenched with the British Monarchy.

Independence is where the heart of the nation is.

And it is a British monarchy that does not stand for Australia, but stands first for England. It is an English tradition that has no place in modern egalitarian Australia. The monarch, whether it be a King or Queen, will always represent the interests of his or her homeland, Britain, rather than Australia.

A republic doesn’t stand for a family—it stands for a nation. It stands for every single Australian, each of whom deserves the right to have a say in who should be their head of state. A head of state who defends Australia’s interests in the world and represents all of us, not just the traditions of royalty. A republic doesn’t disendorse the concept of royalty, rather it spreads royalty to every Australian, so that each of us has the same right to serve as the Australian head of state.

Our current system forbids our children from becoming, or aspiring to become, the head of state of their own country — a right and a privilege held by most other peoples on Earth. We entrust the very top position of power to an unelected monarch from a specific foreign family to play our part in keeping a millennia old tradition alive, rather than fostering the sovereignty of our own people. Democracy and monarchy do not go hand in hand — there is nothing democratic about someone inheriting a position of power simply because they hold the right last name and have the right bloodline.

I want all Australians to have the right to serve as the head of state of Australia. We can only achieve this through a republic — a vision that does not ignore our British heritage, or any other heritage for that matter, but entrusts the citizens of Australia to make all their decisions themselves.  
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