As this long Federal election campaign starts to come to a head, it's worth recalling that Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten agree on at least one thing: an Australian republic with one of our own – an Australian – as head of state, writes history editor, Dr Glenn Davies.
I'M ON record as saying I love election day. On Election Day, I usually help run the P&C sausage sizzle in the mornings and hand out how-to-vote cards in the afternoon. It’s a great chance to see the ebb and flow of your local community — and catch up with people you haven’t seen in ages.
Election Day is a community event; a common, civic enterprise. This federal election you can extend that notion of civic enterprise by making part of your selection process for your local politician whether they support the establishment of an Australian republic.
A fair Australia is a republican Australia. What was confirmed in response to Tony Abbott’s restoration of Knights and Dames and the granting of an Australian knighthood to Prince Philip is the strength of republican values in contemporary Australia. That means support for our independence, support for our own institutions and a belief in our own capacity to govern. It also means a commitment to equality and a fair go for all.
We know that realizing these values in their fullness needs an Australian Head of State and we know too that many of our fellow citizens agree with this.
The Australian Republican Movement is proud to count Malcolm of Point Piper and Bill of Moonee Ponds among thousands of ARM members across Australia. Of course, political consensus is only the first step on the path to ensuring that no Australian leader ever needs to write to a palace in London to ask for permission to do anything again. But it's the first time we've had it for a while!
Last year, Bill Shorten and Labor committed to achieving an Australian head of state by 2025. The ARM welcomed Labor setting out a timeline but encouraged Bill to be more ambitious! Why not 2020? they asked. After all, Australians have waited 115 years already.
And since becoming prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull has talked of needing to wait until the end of the Queen's reign for Australia to become a republic. But why should we wait until Charles III is crowned King of Australia?
As Malcolm knows, this is about Australia and Australians, not the lives of a family of English aristocrats - that's the whole point!
And as we all know, even if we timed our run to coincide with the succession arrangements of the English Royal family, a lot of work would already need to have been done for a referendum to get up.
With this in mind the Australian Republican Movement team has been getting in touch with federal MPs and Senators who haven't declared either way, and researching the public record.
As a result the Republican Register is now live on the ARM website. You can access it here:
As you'll see, the numbers are looking good for Australia’s republican cause. But there are still many candidates who haven't “fessed up” whether they support an Australian head of state.
Can you spare five minutes to email your local candidates to ask them where they stand?
It’s easy — just follow the prompts here.
History editor Dr Glenn Davies is the Australian Republic Movement's Queensland branch convenor. You can follow Glenn on Twitter @DrGlennDavies. Find out more about the Australian Republican Movement HERE.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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