Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html en-gb 30 Fri 30 Jan 2015 06:38:58 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html sydboy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=99#comment100 The referendum a few years back failed, amongst other reasons, because of how we were going to elect a "president". People here aren't too familiar with say the French democratic system, and so their only knowledge of a presidential system is the US. This in turn led many people I know to be very wary of the proposal put forward, thinking we'd end up like the States.Why could we not keep all the exisiting titles and simply remove the Queen as the head of state, thereby shifting the Governer-General into the position? The GG would effectively be what we wanted the president to be, and nobody would be frightened of any new terminology.The position of Governor-General really only should be appointed to a Queen's representative, however if we're changing the constitution, surely we can use whatever terms we like?This could go a long way in allaying any concerns over the public not electing the "president" directly, as we dont elect the GG directly now and nobody cares about that. Fri 15 May 2009 00:41:52 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=98#comment99 #99...'the current system still enjoys an enormous amount of support, and in most polls more than a republic'In most polls remaining a constitutional monarchy has more public support than becoming a republic, is that what you mean, dmwlondon? Could you put up links to those polls. Tue 12 May 2009 01:31:05 GMT+1 dmwlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=97#comment98 OzNozz they're a couple of interesting thoughts. But neither of them get me particularly excited about changing the system we have. To be honest I don't know how much of the Queen's duties involve promoting what the British Govt thinks. The point is she is neutral. I think her role is largely ceremonial and also involves a large amount of time dedicated to various charities she supports. Interesting point about King George during WW2 but like you I think it's more of a quirk of history as apposed to any sign of a failing of the system. Thanks for the input. Its interesting hearing what other people think about all this.louiseobrien2065 whats all this 'when' Australia becomes a republic ? If I was going to have a punt I would be gambling against it. Referendums are very difficult to get passed in Australia, and Australians typically vote them down. Apart from all this the current system still enjoys an enormmous amount of support, and in most polls more than the republic. Mon 11 May 2009 21:24:40 GMT+1 louiseobrien2065 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=96#comment97 When Australia becomes a republic, what is going to replace the Queen's head on the obverse side of our coins? I would like the Australian coat of arms to be used, but what if the government wants to have the prime minister or president's head on it. The Australian government can replace the Queen's head on the obverse side of our coins with a simple act of parliament, we do not need to become a republic to do this.When Australia becomes a republic it should definately still remain part of the Commonwealth as this is an important part of our heritage. Mon 11 May 2009 10:17:21 GMT+1 Troy_ACT http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=95#comment96 Thank you dmwlondon.Although one problem i can think of with the current system is representation overseas. The Queen is only queen of Australia when she is in Australia. There are plenty of times when she goes overseas and promotes what the British government thinks which at times the Australian government thinks the opposite. Also a funny thing happened in World War 2, for seven days the King George VI was at war and at peace with Germany at the same time because Canada didn't declare war until the 10th of September.I don't think they are good enough reasons why Australia should become a republic but they are funny hiccups in the system. Sun 10 May 2009 01:31:47 GMT+1 dmwlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=94#comment95 from bottom to top;Oznozz - good point. What are the practical benefits of changing a system that for most Australians represents something that works well ?JohnB_Melb - I reckon you make a lot of sense. Whats the name of that book you mentioned in one of your first comments ?Back up to Whitlamite 79;My comment, "But then your'e the republican and I'm not, so perhaps not so surprising that you don't acknowledge my point" was not intended to indicate that you can't underdstand my argument because you're republican. Only that if you agreed with me you would not be a republican and likewise if I took on board everything you propsed I would not be a monarchist. In any case if it sounded patronising that was not the intention so apologies.None-the-less I do take on board some of what you say. The system is not perfect. But I reckon most Australian's who like me tend to look at these things from a broader and perhaps less technical perspective would probably agree the current set-up would be very difficult to better and should be left alone.Thanks for the introduction to blogging..... Tue 05 May 2009 20:43:02 GMT+1 Troy_ACT http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=93#comment94 This isn't the 17-1800's guys, who cares who the head of state is, as long as we can work, buy a big plasma screen television and have fun in life, WHO CARES!Thats pretty much most Aussie's attitude towards the thing, if its not going to make our lives any better then who the hell cares.Britain has no authority and it rarely ever did. The governers in the colonies did what they wanted since it took a year to get a message to and from Britain.All the colonies were self governing from the 1850's onwards anyway (apart from W.A) and only relied on Britain for foreign policy and defence. Tue 05 May 2009 07:22:37 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=92#comment93 tyrevolution wrote: "Also, I notice you avoided the question I posed which you quote at the start of #88"Apologies, I did start to address it, but it became longwinded so I stuck to the point I wanted to make first."So are you in favor of keeping the GG because he won't cause the same 'minor hiccup' he caused 30 years ago? Or are you in favor of keeping him exactly because he can cause the exact same 'minor hiccup' any time he pleases?"A lot of people have learned a lesson from 1975, it's one of those "he who doesn't know history is doomed to repeat it" lessons.Governments know that they have to be a bit careful when lacking a majority in the Senate.Oppositions know that they have to be careful that anything like "blocking supply" or giving the government a double dissolution trigger, can backfire.Governors General know that they have to be very careful should such an issue arise again, lest they be remembered by history in the same manner as Sir John Kerr.The 1975 situation will not be "solved" by simply replacing a GG with a President. It will not be solved either by having an elected President, in fact the situation could well be worse, with a President having a hostile Parliament (controlled by a different political party to that of the President). Mon 04 May 2009 10:18:29 GMT+1 tyrevolution http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=91#comment92 #88 While I do not claim to be an expert in the era, suggesting I have no understanding of the issues leading to the sacking is arrogant, although I was being a bit facetious so maybe I deserved that :PRegardless, my argument wasn't that sacking the government was right or wrong. I think, generally, the ability to sack a government is actually a good idea because, as mentioned previously, it adds another layer of safety net to a democracy. But would I leave that up to one unelected individual? No. And how does the Queen help that one individual perform his duties any better than he would in a republic anyway? If the GG was renamed president and one unelected individual still had the same powers, would we be any better or less protected? (Also, I notice you avoided the question I posed which you quote at the start of #88)Also, in regards to comment #89, I had thought that my comment had implied that, as half of the top 10 nations were republics, then half were also constitutional monarchies. After re-reading it, I realise this was not the case. And yes, there are more republics in the world than constitutional democracies. However, the far majority of the top nations listed in the mentioned survey come from Western Europe, where the republic:c.monarchy ratio is very much lower than, say, Africa where a new republic springs up every night. Wouldn't this suggest the results to be more regional-based, than government-type based? I'm not arguing that if we become a republic our QoL will magically improve. However, earlier you seemed to be implying that if we did become a republic of QoL will decline (apologies if I'm reading into the comment more than I should be and this is not the case). I very much doubt this would be the case.#91 Yeah, I saw that thread but decided I didn't want to go near it. Sun 03 May 2009 22:43:55 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=90#comment91 TrnOvrANwLeaf wrote "we must raise above the level of hypothetical and statistical exploitation and stop constesting the odds of us turning into Zimbabweans. "I am not worried about Australia turning into Zimbabwe, a ridiculous suggestion, however it is of more concern that the self centred overt nationalism of the republican movement would turn us into Americans.And we still haven't seen a republican model which is as good as the system we have at present. Sun 03 May 2009 21:04:15 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=89#comment90 Fortress Australia seems to have taken a very curious route. Sun 03 May 2009 16:01:51 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=88#comment89 The train has derailed. People who support a Constitutional Monarchy recognize the fact that, for all purposes, the Queen and the Governor General's involvement in Australian politics only extends to a superficial level of rubber-stamping. Hence, they argue that Australia's democracy is in no way undermined by a non-Australian Head of State. I concur. Those who support a Republican with an Australian Head of State have, in this blog, presented essentially two arguments. First, it is a matter of Australia's identity and the relevancy of the Monarch in this day and age. Second, it is a matter of legislative independence and the institution of democracy. What's the mud? The latter rationale needs to be recognized as the secondary argument. As a person who supports an Australian Head of State because I cannot identify with the Monarch, I feel obliged to make it clear that, fact is, Australia's political landscape and governance is independent of the Queen's presence. It is a matter of old flagstaff, new flag.Therein lies the rub. Since both sides agree that the workings of Australia has been severed from the Monarch since the passage of the Australia Act 1986 for all practical purposes, the more intangible yet inherently significant matter of national identity and the ethos of a fair-go should be the centerpiece of this debate.Hence, we must raise above the level of hypothetical and statistical exploitation and stop constesting the odds of us turning into Zimbabweans. Sun 03 May 2009 15:49:34 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=87#comment88 tyrevolution also wrote:"Finally, in #74 you argue that being a Constitutional Monarchy is somehow better for a nation's quality of living. And yet half of the top 10 nations in the "Economist Intelligence Units quality of life index" are republics?"So that means half are Constitutional Monarchies.Now tot up how many Constitutional Monarchies there are in the world versus how many Republics. Sun 03 May 2009 12:17:41 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=86#comment87 tyrevolution wrote: "So are you in favor of keeping the GG because he won't cause the same 'minor hiccup' he caused 30 years ago? Or are you in favor of keeping him exactly because he can cause the exact same 'minor hiccup' any time he pleases?"Obviously tyrevolution doesn't understand the constitutional impasse of the time. The GG can't go and appoint a caretaker government "anytime he pleases", there are particular conditions required and in the case of the Whitlam government it breached a number of conventions to cause the GG to take action.tyrevolution wrote:"note to #31 smartlonder: I was born after 1975, and yes I do care about it"Note to tyrevolution, I was born before 1975 and I remember it, and I care about it, and all the lies and misrepresentations made by those who didn't experience it themselves is rather curious.I recall, at school assembly, the teachers ranting about the dismissal of Whitlam, and I also recall the majority of the school students applauding the dismissal (it was in a country town).The republicans want to have their cake and eat it too.Many senior republicans, and politicians want to see a simple replacement of the GG with a President with the same "flawed" powers and conventions intact.Others want to see an elected President, with all the political implications it would bring, including the potential for a President of one political leaning to be in conflict with the Prime Minister.Do we really want an American style President ?? Sun 03 May 2009 12:15:07 GMT+1 tyrevolution http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=85#comment86 #86"And there's the problem. A minor hiccup over 30 years ago and some still want to destroy the whole system.Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!"The use of the term 'minor hiccup' for sacking an elected government is laughable (how 'minor' a hiccup do you think it would be if, for intance, the US had an individual in place with the same powers as the GG, and sacked Obama's government?). That notwithstanding, however, your comment seems to imply that;a) the sacking was a mistake.b) That is happened 30 years ago and golly gosh, it couldn't possibly happen again!But earlier in #77 you agreed with dmwlondon when he said "Im at a loss to understand why you don't see some of the strength in the Australian democracy as being a result of the place of a non-political, removed and largely symbolic monarchy in our constitution."So are you in favor of keeping the GG because he won't cause the same 'minor hiccup' he caused 30 years ago? Or are you in favor of keeping him exactly because he can cause the exact same 'minor hiccup' any time he pleases?Finally, in #74 you argue that being a Constitutional Monarchy is somehow better for a nation's quality of living. And yet half of the top 10 nations in the "Economist Intelligence Units quality of life index" are republics? Australia currently places 6th, but oh no! Zimbabwe is a former-Commonwealth republic and look what happened there! If Australia becomes a republic, we're doomed to drop to last place also!An interesting point; the argument surrounding Republic seems to mostly be fear-mongering.Republicans: If we don't become a republic, the GG will doom us all!Monarchists: If we do become a republic, the President will doom us all!As you can guess from my post, I am a republican, and yes I agree the Governer-General and 1975 are significant issues in the debate (note to #31 smartlonder: I was born after 1975, and yes I do care about it). However, the issue has been covered again and again. Surely there's some other compelling issues to discuss in this argument? Sun 03 May 2009 09:37:55 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=84#comment85 wollemi wrote: "If the baby (GG) keeps peeing in the bathwater, then the GG might have to be thrown out."And there's the problem. A minor hiccup over 30 years ago and some still want to destroy the whole system.Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! Sun 03 May 2009 08:11:48 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=83#comment84 #85If the baby (GG) keeps peeing in the bathwater, then the GG might have to be thrown out. Sun 03 May 2009 01:44:08 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=82#comment83 #83, I would prefer that we clear up the small "flaws" without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Sun 03 May 2009 00:36:30 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=81#comment82 #82They all broke the 'unwritten conventions' - Whitlam, Kerr and Fraser. Barwick's role was also dodgy despite what he said about giving advice on issues which were non justiciableWhether people are supporters or critics of Whitlam is an irrelevance The fundamental problem is that there are flaws in our Constitution, We are relying on these 'unwritten conventions' to maintain a democracy. The events of 1975 were evidence of that This is not what the founding fathers intended in 1901. They were creating a democracy - arguably the foremost people's democracy of the era - with the intent it would remain part of an Empire with a distant figure, the monarch as Head of State. Distant both geographically but also from the functions of the Australian Government It was a democracy 'from the people' in every facet of its creation, from the public debates, the 19th Century Constitutional Conventions, the writing of the Constitution and the electorate vote on that Constitution If you care about Australian democracy, then inevitably there is going to be change - change to clear up the flaws which have developed in our democracy over the last 100 years. That change is also going to bring into discussion whether we should become a republic I don't care if people are in a rage or motivated by Schadenfreude or revenge or are filing their nails.The worst outcome is complacency, that we drift along because that's the easy thing to do Sat 02 May 2009 23:58:41 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=80#comment81 smartlondon asks "Anybody else get the impression Whitlamite and Wollemi are still residing in 1975?"I'd have to answer in the affirmative, Smartlondon.The Whitlam government embarked on a dangerous scheme of international fundraising, via some rather shady characters. They had no mandate for this or the nationalisation projects they were planning.The opportunity arose to force a double dissolution election. Despite this being convention, the Whitlam government refused as they knew they were in trouble. Eventually Kerr did what he had to do to guaranteee supply bills. Had Whitlam followed parliamentary convention, he would not have been "sacked". Fraser's caretaker government was restricted in what it could do, by the Governer General and convention. All Fraser was allowed to do was to pass the supply bills and call an election.The electorate agreed with the GG and Fraser and kicked out Whitlam, legally, properly and constitutionally.Those who ignore the history and the facts behind the dismissal of Whitlam are the ones who are dangers to our democracy.We should also remember that those figures who seek to maintain Australia's Constitutional monarchy can never gain anything from it.However those prominent figures who seek to force a republic upon us do stand to gain something, whether it's historical recognition, a shot at the "top job", some misplaced celtic vengeance or simply the smug schadenfreude over the dismay of Constitutional Monarchists.Whatever their motivation, a republic based on a foundation of hate, prejudice or revenge is not a good outcome for Australia. Sat 02 May 2009 23:02:57 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=79#comment80 #80You've hit the nail on the head, smartlondon. Australians are still residing in the Australia of 1975. The Constitutional weaknesses which led to the events of 1975 were not addressed. As a result the 1999 Republic Referendum was derailedCongratulations on your perspicacity. Sat 02 May 2009 22:41:01 GMT+1 smartlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=78#comment79 Anybody else get the impression Whitlamite and Wollemi are still residing in 1975? Sat 02 May 2009 17:13:19 GMT+1 Whitlamite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=77#comment78 #76 dmwlondon:"I'm at a loss to understand why you don't see some of the strength in the Australian democracy as being a result of the place of a non-political, removed and largely symbolic monarchy in our constitution."'Our constitution'? I thought you were British?At any rate, I don't see the monarchy as a strength, least of all in support of democracy. It's a threat to democracy through that inherently dangerous and uncodified constitutional black horse known as the office of the Governor-General, the sovereign's 'representative' in Australia.The powers of the monarchy are exercised through an individual elected by nobody, accountable only to a Queen on the other side of the world who finds it politically expedient to maintain a level of disinterest and ignorance such that she can deflect any heat from the flames of events such as the Whitlam government's dismissal. If you think our system is so fantastic, then allow me to make a proposition. We'll get rid of our Governor-General. The Queen, the extended royal family, and the infrastructure surrounding the house of Windsor will re-locate to Australia. Gordon Brown will choose somebody to act as the Governor-General of the United Kingdom with all the powers and duties vested in the Queen, and that person will be rubber-stamped by the palace in Canberra. Your Governor-General will have the power to dismiss parliament, call elections at will, install the opposition as the government, declare war, and sign or refuse to sign into law anything the parliament presents to them. And you'll get a new one every five years for however long your country plans to exist. Sound good to you?"Wether a president is elected directly or appointed by parliament part of their motivation will always be personal as apposed to being duty bound."If you're suggesting that the personal isn't inherently interwoven in the monarchy along with the notion of duty, then I'd point you toward the example of King Edward VIII. Even the incumbent, whilst duty bound (fortunately) is part of an institution that is hell-bent on ensuring its popular ingratiation with members of the public in all 16 commonwealth realms. The carefully stage-managed union of the Prince of Wales and the Princess of Wales (informally titled the Duchess of Cornwall in the interests of public relations) was a stage managed affair worthy of the finest political spin.An Australian president elected by the people to serve as a symbolic head of state and democratic defender, whose conduct would be tightly codified is a logical step in the right direction. The current arrangements are patently ridiculous and undemocratic. "On another note, could you avoid references like 'Look buddy' ? It's patronising."And yet..."But then your'e the republican and I'm not, so perhaps not so surprising that you don't acknowledge my point."Apologies if I was patronising, but when you present the argument that an unelected head of state selected by birth-right is good for democracy, I can't completely muffle my scoff. Sat 02 May 2009 03:46:51 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=76#comment77 #74..'everything done by Whitlam's choice of Governor General was legal'..Garfield Barwick would disagree. He thought the issues were non justiciable, hence his decision to give advice to Kerr. Otherwise a Chief Justice advising a GG on how to legally sack a PM is a distinct violation of separation of powers!As budgiesmuggler said upthread, we've got through by luck, The Constitution and Constitutional conventions applied to an earlier era when Australia was part of an Empire with a far distant Head of State, who most of the time ignored his/her far off subjects unless there was a war on.As the Empire expired, the monarch has faded into irrelevance and another position, the GG, has morphed into something which was never anticipated in 1901...accountable to no one, not to the Queen, not to the PM, not to the public and operating on issues which are outside the lawWe don't have to wait to become a republic to become Zimbabwe. We are Zimbabwe An even wiser adage #77.. is that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it Sat 02 May 2009 00:11:18 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=75#comment76 dmwlondon said "Im at a loss to understand why you don't see some of the strength in the Australian democracy as being a result of the place of a non-political, removed and largely symbolic monarchy in our constitution."This is absolutely correct.I read one book written by a young Queenslander and (former) Republican who changed his mind on the republic after he started researching the issue. He said that Australia actually had another layer of democratic protection against a wayward Prime Minister/Government or Governor General or indeed Monarch.A wise frenchman wrote, "Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head."~Francois Guisot (1787-1874) Fri 01 May 2009 22:50:25 GMT+1 dmwlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=74#comment75 #74 JohnB_MelbIn short, I agree with yougoing back up the top a little to # 47 WhitlamiteI never intended to establish that all republics are like Zimbabwe or all Monarchies enjoy the stability and freedom that we do. Only that Zimbabwe is an example of an ex British colony that adopted republicanism and seems to have gone seriously wrong, and part of this mess is tied up in the extensive powers of its president. I think everyone understands each nation has it's own complexities, both historical and present, so none-the-less my point stands.Your point regarding the subsequent election of Fraser in the context of a forced mid-term election is a good one and I take it on board. However, I still believe the overall process was largely democratic. You probably have a far better understanding of the technicalities surrounding the event than I do but none of it will change the fact that the Australian public had the opportunity to put Whitlam straight back in and they didn't take it.Im at a loss to understand why you don't see some of the strength in the Australian democracy as being a result of the place of a non-political, removed and largely symbolic monarchy in our constitution. Wether a president is elected directly or appointed by parliament part of their motivation will always be personal as apposed to being duty bound. But then your'e the republican and I'm not, so perhaps not so surprising that you don't acknowledge my point.My opinion is if the dismissal of the Whitlam Govt is the most serious threat to democracy that the current sytem has allowed in 100 odd years it can just as easily be held up as an argument in favour of the current system. In any case Australians are an easy going and practical lot and, although we don't know, I would suggest have largely forgotten or at least look at those events in a far less dramatic light than what a handful of people still do. On another note, could you avoid references like 'Look buddy' ? It's patronising. Fri 01 May 2009 16:29:02 GMT+1 Johan Kilstrom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=73#comment74 The British don't care if Australia becomes a Republic or not. Most Brits don't even know the Queen is still the head of state in Australia unless their regular visitors or cricket fans. And the Union Jack on the Australian flag just translates as a historical reminder and a bit of additional decoration. I'm all for changing the flag, but who cares about the head of state. Canada changed their flag and hardly anyone knows the Queen is still in place over there. I can think of many countries that would love to have a head of state who lived on the other side of the world and visited once every 6 years!Best of all she's free, she doesn't upset people (even the Pope can't manage that) and tends to be well liked across the planet.If its about vanity, look at Germany 3rd biggest economy in the world, now name the German President (without looking on the net)Beyond out geopolitical playground nobody is interested.Besides how much would us becoming a republic cost? So much to change from the Military to the money.Would we keep the QVB? Would all the streets in central Brisbane need to be renamed? lol. Fri 01 May 2009 13:13:00 GMT+1 JohnB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=72#comment73 As usual the Australian Republican brigade are driven by ethnic prejudice, a lack of self confidence and a political agenda.As for the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam Government, everything done by Whitlam's choice of Governor General was legal and the decision was endorsed overwhelmingly at the subsequent general election.Republics are a dime a dozen around the world, and range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Constitutional Monarchies are rarer and regularly top the "Quality of Living" surveys. Australia, as a Constitutional Monarchy, is in good company with "cousins" such as New Zealand, Canada and of course the UK.For those who think to change our constitution, risk our democracy, and scrap a major part of our history, so that we don't confuse visitors from the USA or China, grow up and have some self respect ! Fri 01 May 2009 11:45:04 GMT+1 scrap-the-jack http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=71#comment72 In september of 2005 a team from the BBC including historian Michael Jones ( member royal historical society ) visited Michael Hastings the 14th Earl of Louden who lives at Jerilderie NSW. After extensive research they concluded he was the true monarch of britain. He runs a rice farm and is a strong republican.Maybe the head of state is already an Aussie. Fri 01 May 2009 07:22:29 GMT+1 Whitlamite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=70#comment71 #71. Freakontheguitar"And to #62 Whitlamite: it is far from coincidental that the UK and Australia have the same monarch. It has everything to do with the fact that Australia started off as a bunch of British colonies."I was speaking in theoretical jargon. It is an historical fact that the British colonial governments which were situated on the Australian continent prior to 1901 did eventually form a federated constitutional monarchy along the lines of their earlier affiliation. I don't dispute that. I was making a point about how the Queen of Australia is totally distinct from the Queen of the United Kingdom in a constitutional, but not a physical sense. "And yes, this situation does indeed compromise the sovereignty of Australia. This is because the head of state of Australia has obligations to the governments and people of three other countries. And those obligations may go against the interests of Australia."Actually, 15 other countries. "What if the UK and Australia ever find themselves in a war on opposing sides? Can the Australian head of state really hand out victoria crosses for bravery against Australian troops?"Hasn't happened yet, but it certainly could. Of course, commonwealth realms have participated in wars that others have found immoral or objectionable - Iraq and Vietnam spring to mind. If a commonwealth realm was to declare war on another commonwealth realm, it would put the sovereign of both countries in an extremely tricky position. I'd love to hear that year's Christmas message. Further proof that this preposterous situation needs to be changed. Fri 01 May 2009 05:44:50 GMT+1 Freakontheguitar http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=69#comment70 #60 Wollemi:As to your first point: Switzerland is a federation too, but more importantly: you don't need to be a federation to have a bi-cameral structure. For example, the Netherlands are not a federation, but do have a two-house parliament, with one house elected directly by all voters and the other indirectly by the elected representatives of the various provinces.And to #62 Whitlamite: it is far from coincidental that the UK and Australia have the same monarch. It has everything to do with the fact that Australia started off as a bunch of British colonies.And yes, this situation does indeed compromise the sovereignty of Australia. This is because the head of state of Australia has obligations to the governments and people of three other countries. And those obligations may go against the interests of Australia.What if the UK and Australia ever find themselves in a war on opposing sides? Can the Australian head of state really hand out victoria crosses for bravery against Australian troops? Fri 01 May 2009 01:24:14 GMT+1 Bill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=68#comment69 Would the British tolerate an Australian being their Monarch? I think not. Yet the English writing in this blog seem quite happy that the reverse situation prevails.As for the soldiers who fought in both World Wars believing they were British; what a load of tripe.My grandfather fought on the Western Front in the 17th Battalion and detested the British. My father was a Prisoner of War in the Second World War and brought his three sons up with a healthy dislike of the British who he believed considered Australians expendable and had betrayed us when we needed them the most.Whether their perceptions of the British were right or wrong, I can tell you they and their friends NEVER considered themselves British.They accepted that Australia was a part of the Empire but they always considered themselves Australian; separate and different from the British.What this has to do with an Australian Republic and what it has to do with non Australians escapes me. We will decide our Constitutional future; we will decide the republican model we adopt. The one thing that is beyond doubt is that a Republic will happen sooner than later and it would be best if it happened with goodwill on all sides. Thu 30 Apr 2009 23:04:43 GMT+1 ghostofsichuan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=67#comment68 In every country, people are evaluating their governments and wondering how we got into this mess. Is this the best that human beings can do after 5,000 years in some civilized organization? Looks like we are about one-half step out of the cave. Pirates in the shipping lanes and pirates in the banks and govenments scratching their collective heads. We do have some really neat toys. I'm not sure the form of government really matters at this time. Thu 30 Apr 2009 18:40:55 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=66#comment67 # wylrn12With all due respect, if you cast an eye over some of the previous comments, you might find a lot of your queries answered. In any case, a monumental change like this don't often happen overnight, with the Senate hearing its first inqury into the republican plebiscite two days ago, I doubt we will be changing our flags come summertime. So don't worry about the economic downturn just yet. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:30:30 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=65#comment66 # 58 FrederickChichesterI thought you made an interesting remark. I've never considered the vantage point of veterans who fought in Gallipoli until now. I am not sure if our diggers believed they were British subjects as they werre being slain in Gallipoli but for the sake of argument, lets say they did love the queen and would be draining tears if we had an Australian Head of State, to what extent should we living Australians compromise our free will because of the sentiment held by deceased veterans(may they rest in peace)? By the way, I doubt Anzac Spirit being our loyalty to the Queen is the consensus. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:20:02 GMT+1 wylrn12 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=64#comment65 To be honest I don't really care...But is it me or are republicans confusing what happened in 1975 as the Queen meddling in our affairs?Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I was taught that the Queen had no idea, and in fact Kerr had acted out of his own actions. One, I might add, that was influenced by the reckless government spending that was sending the country broke and by a supply bill that was being blocked by the Senate (controlled by the Opposition). There were more people involved in the situation than is being mentioned on this blog. There was Kerr, Whitlam, Fraser... need I go on?So why are republicans consistently bringing this up as an example on why we should become a republic? The Queen had nothing to do with it and the Governor General was only doing what he thought was in the Countries best interest.If we replaced the GG with a President how is that going to magically stop him/her from also excising that power?I think republicans need to find a better example to prove to the Australian Public that we need to spend millions of dollars in a time of economic downturn to change the Flags, letterheads, Coat of Arms, currency etc just so that we can say that we have an Australian Head of State.And if I hear one more republican complain about Charles becoming our next Head of State can I just point out that since WHITLAM made Queen Elizabeth "Queen of Australia" we have entitlements to skip him and go to William. All we need is the support of the other Commonwealth Nations, and how hard could that be? Not even the UK want him... Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:04:41 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=63#comment64 # 63 smartlondon That's a very worthwhile question you raised in your second paragraph. In my opinion, Australians who favour an Australian Head of State cannot identify with the Queen. I am sure this is not the case in other constitutional monarchies like Britain, where the Queens and Kings once ruled the country. Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:39:30 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=62#comment63 Ouch. A tiny oversight. #61 should have read '#60 wollemi'. Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:18:46 GMT+1 smartlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=61#comment62 Funily enough, there is an article in today's Independent about European royalty, and one of the comment writers pointed out that the most socially liberal countries in Europe, towards issues like sex, drugs, immigration etc, are all monarchies, with a couple of exceptions. I'm sure that this is just a coincidence, but thinking about it, it is true, and I found that quite surprising.Wollemi, your take on 1975 crisis is interesting. I would be interested to know if you think you would be a republican if you were British, regarding the Queen being the head of state of the UK? I suppose i'm wondering how much of people's feeling about the constitutional arrangement in Australia, with the GG, is influenced by the fact that the queen is essentially foreign to you. Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:12:09 GMT+1 Whitlamite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=60#comment61 Wollemi:"So briefly....,in 1975 the Senate would not pass Supply, and returned Supply to the House of Representatives, more than once. Without Supply the Whitlam Government could not function. The GG, Kerr, stepped in and dismissed the Whitlam Government and installed the Opposition Fraser Government"I wish to add that although withholding supply (the budget) was the reason for the constitutional crisis, once Kerr dissolved parliament on the advice of the Opposition leader and implanted Fraser as Prime Minister - the opposition immediately passed the very same budget it had been blocking! The budget wasn't the issue at all, it was all about power. And that's why the system is fatally flawed. Freak:"What makes Australia special is that its monarch is also the head of state of the UK and a few other countries."Yes, but this is coincidental. Australia's relationship is not with the United Kingdom, but with the House of Windsor - whose reigning monarch is deemed to be the sovereign. In other words, the Queen of Australia is distinct from the Queen of the United Kingdom and the Queen of Canada. They are completely different entities who just so happen to be the same physical person. Weird, innit. "A sovereign country that shares its head of state with others is, stricly speaking, not a sovereign country."Well then, according to that the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand are also not sovereign countries. Does that seem correct to you? Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:03:33 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=59#comment60 # 56 wollemiMy understanding is that the Economist compiles the list based on survey results done in 2007, not 1975. Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:01:36 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=58#comment59 #56Freak. I take your point and it's an interesting argument. However I'm just not convinced with these indices that like is compared with likeThe Economist Democracy Index list for 2008 : SwedenNorwayIcelandNetherlandsDenmarkFinlandNZSwitzerlandLuxembourgAustraliaCanada etcFirstly...it looks to me that there are no federations until you get to Australia and Canada, is that correct? So mainly unicameral governments?Federations tend to be complex affairs and the structure of the Upper Houses not as democratic as a single Lower House. 'Unrepresentative swill' as Keating once described the SenateSecondly.. Australia gets a high electoral vote due to compulsory voting? Has that been factored in? Thirdly.. the monarchies at the top of the list have their own monarch as you point out and don't have a foreign or shared monarch. I don't think you have to wait for opposing views, just being at war as we were with Vietnam while the Head of State was 18,000km away in an uninvolved country was sufficient I'm surprised Australia is as high as 10 given the above discussion of the lack of accountability of an unelected political appointee in 1975 Thu 30 Apr 2009 13:16:57 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=57#comment58 #58'...no contradiction between feeling Australian and feeling British. It only became untenable after the EEC fiasco of 1973..'I would suggest it became untenable for many Australians in December 1941 Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:57:13 GMT+1 FrederickChichester http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=56#comment57 Nick,People consistently skirt around the main point here: those Aussies who fought in WWs I and II basically considered themselves British. Right through until the 1950s, there was absolutely no contradiction between feeling Australian and feeling British. It only became untenable after the EEC fiasco of 1973 when, overnight, Australians were expected to queue as "foreigners" to get into Britain. The Australian media so often projects modern attitudes back onto the mid-century ANZACs. But I reckon most of those ANZACs would be upset to the point of tears if you had told them that, 50 years down the track, the country would become a republic. Hence the reluctance of veterans to vote for a republic.If one was to be harsh, one might argue that republicans betray the ANZAC spirit. The ANZACS fought for their British heritage, and now some in Australia are doing all they can to remove it. Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:13:16 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=55#comment56 The common misunderstanding is that the Governor General, although technically representing the Queen, actually acts on behalf of the Prime Minister (the Government) due to convention. Despite this, whoever holds this office can act on his or her own initiative lawfully. In the Whitlam Dismissal, even the Queen herself didn't know about Kerr's action until later. For all purposes, Kerr was not accountable to anyone, even the Queen. Thu 30 Apr 2009 09:51:22 GMT+1 Freakontheguitar http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=54#comment55 The Economist publishes a 'Democracy Index' which attempts to quantify how democratic each country is. Looking at the 2008 version it is striking that 7 out of the top 10 countries (and 4 out of the top 5) are monarchies. In fact most of the world's monarchies can be found in the upper regions of the Index (with a few notable exceptions). Australia features at nr 10.I may well be on slippery ground here, but the Index appears to suggest that an unelected head of state can be reconciled with a decent democracy. And that Australia has little to gain from becoming a republic (at least in terms of how democratic it is as a country).What makes Australia special is that its monarch is also the head of state of the UK and a few other countries. To me this is a better argument for Australia's republican cause than the level of democracy that is usually quoted. A sovereign country that shares its head of state with others is, stricly speaking, not a sovereign country.HM the Queen is the figurehead of various governments, who may have opposing views. Which cause should she represent? In practice this doesn't cause huge problems, because her four countries are seldom at loggerheads, but it is not unthinkable that at some stage they will be. For that reason alone I think that Australia should get its own head of state.Whether that should be a monarch or a president is another question, but somehow I don't think that we will ever see a King Kevin I. Thu 30 Apr 2009 08:14:34 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=53#comment54 At a very basic level, Paul, Rudd can currently sack the GG. He can't sack the Queen Thu 30 Apr 2009 07:12:34 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=52#comment53 #53Constitutional laywers are still divided about whether Kerr acted within his powersTo understand the dismissal, you will have to become familiar with the balance of power in the Australian Westminster system,which differs to the UK Westminster systemAustralia is a federation with some similarities to the US federation, namely the Australian Senate is not like the House of Lords. It resembles the US Senate, both in representing the states and territories and also in the strength of its power. It is uncommon for the Party in control of the House of Representatives (Lower House) to also control the Senate. Possible but uncommon.So briefly....,in 1975 the Senate would not pass Supply, and returned Supply to the House of Representatives, more than once. Without Supply the Whitlam Government could not functionThe GG, Kerr, stepped in and dismissed the Whitlam Government and installed the Opposition Fraser GovernmentThe GG's reserve powers include the capacity for a GG to dismiss a Government which has lost control of the Lower House - which Whitlam had notThe argument against Kerr's action is that there is no reserve power for dismissal of a Government which does not control the Senate The argument in favour of Kerr's action is that the Government could not function without Supply so therefore it was incapable of governingThere were many other steps and no doubt others can fill you in. One intriguing issue is that an Australian PM can dismiss a GG, it was just that Kerr was secretive and got in first Regarding an elected president vs an appointed president in a republic.....a Westminster system is not well set up to have an elected president with much power as it runs the risk of a popularly elected president as a rival to the Prime Minister, An appointed president is therefore safer - but less democratic. Alternatively the reserve powers of an elected president can be codified - but the risk is the position would likely be weakened and become ceremonial. Thu 30 Apr 2009 07:03:57 GMT+1 pciii http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=51#comment52 #30 Wollemi, thanks for your views on the Constitutional Crisis. I guess your opinion on what happened then depends on how you answer these questions:-Did the Government deserve to be sacked?-Was it within the legitimate power of the GG to do so?If you answer yes and yes then the system worked, whatever you think of an unelected person dismissing an elected one.If it's a yes and no then the constitution needs changing and your opinion of the actions of the GG will likely depend on your opinion of the whole idea of how the GG is appointed.If it's a no and no, then the system didn't work and should be changed.I'v only recently started to look into this crisis in detail and obviously can't place the facts in my own historical context (maybe that's a good thing?). I guess the point is that, whatever you think, some are happy to have an unelected person in this role, mainly becasue they don't trust an elected or directly appointed person to overule the Government. The flipside of course is what you're saying - an unelected person should never be able to overule an elected government. I'm not saying it's an ideal solution, but it's an option, and an option that would have to be looked at as a separate issue to the nationality of that person. Thu 30 Apr 2009 04:24:49 GMT+1 U9388581 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=50#comment51 50# WollemiMy apologies for not having noticed that most unexpected fact. My only excuse is that one of the houseboys ironed a crease into my "London Times" this morning and his outcry during the flogging put my croquet stroke all over the place in a very important game this afternoon.Again, apologies and point noted, if ever actually forced to visit Van Deiman's Land I shall now remember to not leave any confidential documents on view. Thu 30 Apr 2009 03:28:29 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=49#comment50 #46 dmwlondonI thought you were going to prop up Fiji this time. Anyway, how very fortunate that we don't live in Zimbabwe. Do you honestly believe that somehow we would all go mad if we took the Union Jack off our flag?When people talk about the Whitlam Dismissal, the word 'dismissal' refers to the dismissal made by the non-elected official, not the outcome of the people's vote. It would have perfectly democratic if Whitlam was 'dismissed' by the people. But that's not what happened. The House of Representatives, politicians elected by the people, always had confidence in Whitlam. In contrast, it passed a motion of no confidence against Fraser. Also, the double dissolution was an agreement Fraser made with Kerr to secure his caretaker seat. Thu 30 Apr 2009 03:13:08 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=48#comment49 Moncursalion-Monochrome!If you can manage to lift the pith helmet obscuring your vision for 1 tiny moment, you would realise Aboriginal Australians are posting on this blog Thu 30 Apr 2009 01:40:59 GMT+1 U9388581 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=47#comment48 When the complications and turmoils of this fractured world begin to effect confusion in my thought purposes, I come time and time again to this blog.It re-affirms one of lifes certainties.I really do not like these bumptious, but luckily so far off Australians and their puerile paeans to the "Lucky Country".Leave them and their "Rex Hunts" to their fate as a dead end; as relevant to us as the Aboriginals are to them. Thu 30 Apr 2009 01:22:19 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=46#comment47 #46dmwlondonWhitlamite has said it for me #47.......'a man elected by no one. threw out a democratically elected government from office, and replaced it with an opposition party'Irrespective of subsequent events that's a poor reflection on the atrength of Australian democracy. It's also at the centre of the debate about our Head of State. Clearly, the GG is the Head of State, not the Queen. The Queen was informed after the dismissal. The monarchy did not add 'strength' to Australian democracy as you suggest, rather the monarchy was irrelevant.I was relieved to see the end of Whitlam - it's the method of dismissing him and who holds the reserve powers and the nature of the reserve powers that I question.The Australian Constitution in 1901 was one of the most advanced democratic instruments in the world, It was written here, and voted on by the then Australian electorate. The one alteration not voted on by the electorate - appeals to the Privy Council - has since been abolished. That the Constitution is now archaic and dodgy is because it was written for our status within an empire and that empire no longer exists. Its replacement, the Commonwealth, is meaningless and as dead as the Dodo. Wed 29 Apr 2009 21:53:50 GMT+1 Whitlamite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=45#comment46 #46 dmwlondon"Zimbabwe is a good example of republicanism gone badly wrong. Why even risk exposing ourselves to that situation ? "You want a list of all the monarchies that have bred brutal dictators? Look buddy, each nation is different - you can't compare like that. You can't say: "All republics are like Zimbabwe" or "All monarchies are like the UK". Because I can point to successful republics and failed monarchies. It's a ridiculous argument. "A Double Dissolution election was held a month after the dismissal and the Whitlam Govt was soundly defeated."This argument is one I have seen people make many, many times before. Yes, Whitlam was defeated, but as the democratically elected Prime Minister of the day, a man elected by the people a year prior - he had the right to choose when the next election was going to be (the right to ask the GG for an election, anyway). He also had the right, at the very least, to be the caretaker Prime Minister during the election period. He wasn't. That title was given to the leader of the opposition. There are often times when the opposition is more popular than the elected government in the middle of an electoral cycle, should an unelected official throw all democratically elected governments out of office when this happens - or only sometimes?"The Whitlam dismissal, although dramatic and hard to swallow for some, was a good example of democracy in action."Let's recap:A man elected by no one, threw out a democratically elected government from office, and replaced it with the opposition party. Sounds like democracy in action to me!"A democracy that is envied around the world and owes part of it's strength to the Monarchy."Do please elaborate. Owes part of its strength to the monarchy? Honestly, you monarchists say these things all the time and they mean absolutely nothing. What on earth are you talking about - 'owes part of its strength' ??"Holding the Whitlam dismissal up as some kind of anti-monarchy torch is, in my opinion, out of line."It's an anti Governor-General torch if anything, this office is the real enemy of democracy here. But you can't get rid of the Governor-General without getting rid of the monarchy. Wed 29 Apr 2009 20:37:51 GMT+1 dmwlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=44#comment45 #34 bazaOzI think you make a couple of good points. A lot of the republican argument rests on a shallow, and sometimes tacky idea of national pride. Some republicans try and argue that having an Australian Head of State will somehow make us 'more Australian', and that is absurd.Zimbabwe is a good example of republicanism gone badly wrong. Why even risk exposing ourselves to that situation ? #34 wollemiThe references to the dismissal of the Whitlam government in the context of this discussion are ill placed. A Double Dissolution election was held a month after the dismissal and the Whitlam Govt was soundly defeated. The Whitlam dismissal, although dramatic and hard to swallow for some, was a good example of democracy in action. A democracy that is envied around the world and owes part of it's strength to the Monarchy.Holding the Whitlam dismissal up as some kind of anti-monarchy torch is, in my opinion, out of line. Wed 29 Apr 2009 14:02:55 GMT+1 budgiesmuggler http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=43#comment44 I agree with Whitlamite, but just not on the model. I don't support a directly elected head of state. I can't see how that can ever be independent of politics. In fact, I think the 2/3 majority vote by parliament to elect was a much safer and less partisan way of electing the president. Also reinforces the fact that they don't act unless instructed by the PM.It's really only through luck that we've got through without more political crises. So much of the powers of the GG are not codified, and the one time there was a genuine crisis they weren't followed anyway! So I can't see how the current model is any better. Wed 29 Apr 2009 13:28:49 GMT+1 redhotgreen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=42#comment43 I voted for the Republic in '99 and was very disappointed when it didn't pass. However, my issue isn't with the nationality of our head of state.I wouldn't mind if the British monarch was Australia's head of state but only if they could answer the following three questions with the words, 'a lot, even more, and yes'.1. What have they done for Australia?2. What will they do for Australia?3. Will they place Australia and its people above all other nations and peoples?The other issue is accountability. As we have already seen in '99, if we want to replace our current head of state with another, it is no easy task. Whether we elect the head of state directly or via our already elected representatives (parliament) makes no real difference.The highest office holder in the country, in our proudly democratic country, needs to be held accountable for their actions by the Australian people. Wed 29 Apr 2009 13:21:08 GMT+1 unhommeheureux http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=41#comment42 I agree with Whitlamite on the sterility of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" argument and I concur with BrisbaneBen at #37. My experience in Australia is that the great majority of people with whom I associate favour an Australian republic (now, even my old mother deep in the rural back blocks who is of the queen's vintage and admires her greatly) but the sticking points seem to be in deciding what would be the best model and how would we implement it. Australians in general are politically quite conservative and cautious about change and I suspect especially so in the present climate. Personally, I would be very disappointed in a republic where we just substituted a president for the queen's governor general and status quo otherwise. Wed 29 Apr 2009 13:13:13 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=40#comment41 Continuing my side note on having a new flag. I would really miss the look of our current flag and none of the designs suggested by Ausflag and like organizations has snapped my attention so far. It seems that the consensus is to have the Southern Cross smacked right in the middle with either blue, white, red, yellow, green or a combination of said palette being the background. Check them out yourselves. http://www.ausflag.com.au/designs.html Wed 29 Apr 2009 13:04:01 GMT+1 smartlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=39#comment40 Whitlamite, I wouldn't change something that works well. I don't think it's mental. I am not Australian, as I have said, so it has nothing to do with me. I comment on here because I am British, and this is a website funded by my taxes. Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:53:01 GMT+1 newsjock http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=38#comment39 A useful starting point to considering who should be Australian head of state, is to ask how the monarch of "Great" Britain became Aussy head of state in the first place.Answer: by brute force !Britain attacked and claimed Australia as its own, and no other nation had the inclination or the military muscle to dislodge us poms.Who said "the pen is mightier than the sword" ? It could only be someone who lived in a militarily superior nation.Britain ignored Australia and her interests when we joined the Common Market. By joining the EEC we potentially crippled the export industry of Australia, by cutting off our vigorous trade with them.Britain only needs Australia when its convenient to us. At other time the UK is more likely to be in "Brutus Mode".How Australians continue to stomach a head of state from our country is a mystery to me. Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:32:24 GMT+1 Whitlamite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=37#comment38 "29. At 09:19am on 29 Apr 2009, scrap-the-jack wrote:TrnOvrANwLeaf, as far as I know under the current system the only way the flag can be changed is by the gov general."No. The flag can be changed by an act of parliament, but this is a separate issue. "31. At 10:19am on 29 Apr 2009, smartlondon wrote:Wollemi, it's worked for you pretty well in the subsequent 34 years, so I don't think the 'it doesn't work' argument is going to be a particualry persuasive one, particurly to those born after 1975."Brilliant. So because it hasn't happened in the last 34 years...it will never happen? That seems to be what you're suggesting. I'm sorry, but that's a bit mental. "33. At 11:01am on 29 Apr 2009, smartlondon wrote:I would never want to change something that works on the off chance it doesn't, but it's a decision for Australians."You can guarantee that our system of government, a system that relies so heavily on good-will, tradition and convention, will function perfectly for the next several hundred years? Is our current constitution *the* document to see us through the next century and beyond?If you honestly think that Australia lacks the requisite talent, knowledge, and ability to democratise our antiquated constitution, return actual sovereign power to the people of this country and guarantee some stability going forward - then I suggest you renounce your citizenship and leave a country in which you have no faith at all. I am operating under the assumption that you're Australian, if you're not then feel free to disregard my last statement, and replace it with something along the lines of "What on earth does this have to do with you?"."34. At 11:37am on 29 Apr 2009, bazaOz wrote:The current system isn't just "not broke", its better than any Republican model for the simple reason it has an additional safety-net in the form of the Monarchy."Heh, this always fascinates me. Just what kind of 'safety-net' do you think this is? What has to happen for it to kick-in, and what on earth is it supposed to do at this point? Please, if you know - tell us! Because nobody has the foggiest idea what on earth this supposed 'safety-net' is! Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:28:12 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=36#comment37 Anyhow, even though both Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull are republicans, the Queen is going to stick around for a while as I suspect the current state of affairs will keep them both quite busy for the time being. Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:21:22 GMT+1 BrisbaneBen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=35#comment36 It took 20 odd years to create Australia. It could take longer for a Republic. We don't need to have it all happen at the next election, but what we need to do is put it back on the agenda. There are more important things that need debating and deciding on before we come to an acceptable solution on the Republican issue. My favourite is a directly elected figure-head as per Whitlamite's comment, but that's a matter for all of us to decide over the next 10-20 years. Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:20:23 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=34#comment35 # 34 bazaOzI suppose the catch is that the Governor General, though representing the Queen from the other side of the world, is actually chosen by the Government. The Prime Minister recommends the Queen a candidate and the Queen has always given the nomination the green light. Poor Gough must have been really pissed. Well, this safety net you mentioned derailed Sir John Kerr's career when he sacked Whitlam. It's convention that the Governor General acts only on the 'advice' of the Government and any 'safety net' is just as protective as a spider web. If the Prime Minister went berserk and started to fund for nuclear warheads, the parliament's motion of no confidence would either mean a letter of resignation or a parliamentary dissolution request. Obviously this was not the case in 1975 when in fact Whitlam was dismissed despite having the house's confidence.I should note that Malcolm Fraser had a motion of no confidence against him by the House of Rep. Of course all was too late. I guess back then technology kept the House in the dark and Fraser had long been declared as the caretaker PM. May I also mention had Kerr misplaced the dismissal papers in one of his drawers, Whitlam would have had a chance to 'advise' the Queen to of Kerr's dismissal. In a nut shell, the democratically elected House of Representatives has the power to throw out a safety net by way a cross-bench vote of no confidence. Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:15:15 GMT+1 lochraven http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=33#comment34 #12 andfreedomI can''t believe anyone would believe that dribble you're spouting. What you're saying is Australia is nothing without the monarchy; a country that wouldn't be invited to sit at the table; a country who has a place on the world stage only because of Queen Mum is holding its hand ? Get real. You have a low opinion of Australia. What Australians decide to do is none of my business. But whatever you do, do it from a position of strength, not weakness. Wed 29 Apr 2009 11:22:55 GMT+1 bazaOz http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=32#comment33 The current system isn't just "not broke", its better than any Republican model for the simple reason it has an additional safety-net in the form of the Monarchy. No Republican model can compete with the Royals, trained from birth for the position and on the other side of the world which allows an outsiders view of issues in Australia.Giving this up just for some short-sighted nationalism is just dumb. I'm sure the people of Zimbabwe would be happy for Mugabe to get his marching orders, even if it did come from "outsides". Wed 29 Apr 2009 10:37:10 GMT+1 smartlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=31#comment32 I would never want to change something that works on the off chance it doesn't, but it's a decision for Australians. Wed 29 Apr 2009 10:01:09 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=30#comment31 #31smartLondonIt has only worked in the subsequent 34 years because of the shocked public reaction here at the time. In other words it's still within living memory and no GG would want to rock the boat like that again. Give it another generation and we could get another GG run amok through the ConstitutionAustralian democracy is designed to be 'from the people' We don't believe in betters to rule over us. Wed 29 Apr 2009 09:41:59 GMT+1 smartlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=29#comment30 Wollemi, it's worked for you pretty well in the subsequent 34 years, so I don't think the 'it doesn't work' argument is going to be a particualry persuasive one, particurly to those born after 1975.TrnOvrANwLeaf, a head of state should be a symbol of the nation, unity etc, away from politics. I would hate to have the head of government being the head of state, as they are, by nature, devisive, and a head of state shouldn't be. Wed 29 Apr 2009 09:19:49 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=28#comment29 #25Paul. The system doesn't work now, that's the whole point. We had a constitutional crisis in 1975. A democratically elected government was sacked by a political appointee. No matter what Australians thought of the Whitlam Government ( things were getting pretty crazy) that just should not happen in a functioning democracyA republic is not just to put an Australian in the position of Head of State, it's to return power to the people. I don't think anyone realised that the GG in 1975 had such powers as were used then. Kerr really extended the reserve powers beyond what people understood them to be in the Constitution. It also indicated who really is our Head of State, despite claims to the contrary, and that's the GG. The Queen is there to opewn flower shows. She can do that in the UK Wed 29 Apr 2009 08:45:40 GMT+1 scrap-the-jack http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=27#comment28 TrnOvrANwLeaf, as far as I know under the current system the only way the flag can be changed is by the gov general. I'm not sure if Quentin wants to do it but in my opinion thats an awful lot of power for an unelected official to have.To those that think the world will not respect us anymore for being a republic, does that matter? Is not the point how we see ourselves in the world. To sjw3000, I am 51 years old and have been waiting for Australia to become a republic since I could understand what the word meant, I pray that I see it before Queen Camilla starts visiting. Wed 29 Apr 2009 08:19:51 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=26#comment27 On a side note, if Australia is going to become a republic, we are gonna have to vote on a new flag right? Wed 29 Apr 2009 07:20:20 GMT+1 greenmanreturns http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=25#comment26 Having a batty old matriach from a family of foreign inbreds that speaks in an accent so entirely different to that of ordinary Australians as our head of state is a joke.Australia at least pretends to represent everything that the Royal family isnt. A meritocracy where people acheive things based on their abilities and effort. A place where people are judged on their character and not on their breeding.Didnt our ancestors leave England to get away from that rubbish?Or am I getting "above my station" for having this view, as Prince Charles so eloquontly puts it... Wed 29 Apr 2009 05:23:54 GMT+1 Bill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=24#comment25 The question is more than just becoming a Republic. It's whether or not an independent nation should have a foreigner as its Head of State no matter how benign and grandmotherly. If the conservatives don't want a Republic then let's find an Australian and crown them as our Monarch. Then their family can lord it over us for another ten generations. At least we'll have a real Australian Head of State. If this isn't acceptable, and it's not,then let's bite the bullet and proclaim a Republic. Bloody hell,if federation was being debated today there'd be no Commonwealth of Australia. Have we become so timid and scared of change? The founding fathers had no philosophical objection to a Republic; they remained a constitutional Monarchy out of expediency, an expediency which no longer exists. Wed 29 Apr 2009 04:38:37 GMT+1 pciii http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=23#comment24 Whitlamite, unfortunately for you there seem to be several legitimate arguments for keeping the current system. I believe I can begin to understand your sentiments (were the situation reversed, I'd be gunning for a British Head of State instead of an unelected Aussie). The problem is that this doesn't change that even some Republicans won't be convinced until there's a viable alternative - they're worried about replacing a system that does work with one that might not. So to desimplify your take on "if it ain't broke..." this would be more like NOT shutting down the postal network just because of email, or NOT abandonding petrol engined cars because of steam cars coming along.It may be inevitable but it may take a long time. Wed 29 Apr 2009 04:10:53 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=22#comment23 #17 smartlondonWhat is it that makes America's president-being-political-leader so horrible? The point of being a republic it's not like we have to somehow replace the Queen with another figurehead to cut the ribbon of the Melbourne Flower Show. I believe if Australians were to vote for republicanism, they would want it for a marked purpose, not because they crave for an Australian on the coins. This is not the 19th century and such a dramatic change in our political system should not stem from any inhibition, a little tweaking ain't right. Political systems don't change often. If we're going to give to go, we must make it worthy and this means an overhaul not a facelift. Come referendum, I rather we stick with the status quo if there is no real change. Wed 29 Apr 2009 04:09:47 GMT+1 Whitlamite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=21#comment22 "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"If we had followed that notion to the letter, we wouldn't have the internet, airplanes, modern medicine, or any number of innovations that have made this world a better place to live since we emerged from the dark ages. With that comment, we are doomed to languish. If we never improve anything, then we can never reap any gain....at all. The idea that a system of government established at the end of the 19th century, when Australia was a collection of zealously independent, paranoid, sprawling colonies surrounded by the colonial interests of european powers, under the 'umbrella' of the British Empire could see us into the next 500 years is not so much laughable, but reckless. It's not like the Australian constitution is based on ideas or a spirit of the law like the United States constitution - a document that has persevered and is a continual source of inspiration and guidance. Our constitution dictates exactly who controls telegraph wires, calls New Zealand an Australian state but not Western Australia, and offers the Governor-General 10,000 pounds a year. !!!We need a republic in Australia because it offers us an opportunity to strengthen our democracy, to make it less reliant on foreign convention and tradition. What happened with the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975 could easily happen again. In other words, the potential exists for an individual elected by nobody to dismiss a democratically elected government in this country. There's a word for that. And one of them just happened in Fiji.And monarchists think the system can't be improved! Australia needs a directly-elected, non partisan, figurehead President (and that has precedent, see Iceland), because the only person who should be able to break a parliamentary deadlock is the individual with the greatest democratic mandate in the country. And that can only be a directly-elected Australian president. As a nation with some semblance of self-respect, surely we should have an Australian as our head of state to be a summation of what we are, to be a democratic defender, and to represent the broader non-partisan interests of this country both domestically and internationally. There is no legitimate monarchist argument here, and the republic is inevitable. It will, however, require hard work. But it's inevitable, because the current situation isn't only dangerous, it's also ridiculous. Wed 29 Apr 2009 00:16:42 GMT+1 wollemi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=20#comment21 #7'Any head of state is essentially a ceremonial one. except in the USA..'....and more so Australia. The Australian Head of State has reserve powers, real and implied, via the Australian Constitution to sack a democratically elected government. This happened in 1975. Under our variation of the Westminster system, the Australian Head of State has arguably more Constitutional powers than in the USThis is the fundamental Constitutional argument for Australia not having a foreign Head of State. We can put up all the other srguments - that functionally this monarch is just ceremonial and real power is with the GG - but that doesn't resolve the issue of the POWER.The tasks are1. how to appoint/elect a president in a republic so he/she is not a political rival to a PM in a Westminster system and 2.to codify the reserve powers of the presidentNickAustralian criticism over the conduct of the British High Command in WW1 and WW2 does not extend to the British people. British troops were also 'cannon fodder' in WW1. The Australian command also made errorsThat Churchill undermined the Pacific War and the safety of Australia and the region is not seen as a decision of the British public. He was rapidly sidelined anyhow, by both Curtin and the US Tue 28 Apr 2009 21:35:49 GMT+1 andfreedom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=19#comment20 14. At 3:51pm on 28 Apr 2009, smartlondon wrote: andfreedom, Australia can become a republic and stay in the commonwealth, like India, Malta etcI assumed that Australia would follow the USA model only adapted for a modern context, breaking free completely and forgin a more equal global partnership, rather than like India and Malta which rely much more on their direct link to the UK. Tue 28 Apr 2009 20:03:01 GMT+1 dmwlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=18#comment19 I think you make a good point Rossco737.The majority of what republicans try and pass as rational argument all too often is actually just small minded pettiness that stems from insecurity developed while listening to a bit a friendly banter at the cricket. Not only does this small mindedness show people's ignorance and lack of humor, it risks making us all look like a laughing stock. Tue 28 Apr 2009 19:51:44 GMT+1 Rossco737 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=17#comment18 I think Liz does a pretty good job. She provides a free service as head of state. We only pay for once a decade visit and that is it. Compare her with people like Bush and Sarkozy and I think she does well. I put it out there that if the Barmy Army didn't sing about us living in a 'convict colony' then we would be happy to be associated with U.K. Tue 28 Apr 2009 17:03:05 GMT+1 sjw3000 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=16#comment17 As a young Australian (who happens to be living in London as a dual British citizen also...) I am very much in favour of a republic. I feel the Queen as our head of state is largely a relic of a bygone era - honestly, what relevance has she to me or my life? I wonder if the issue is generational - it often seems the older generation is more in favour of keeping her - and if this is the case, as I suspect, it's only a matter of time before my country boldly moves on and cuts this silly, sentimental tie. That will be a very exciting day and I eagerly await it. Tue 28 Apr 2009 16:56:05 GMT+1 smartlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=15#comment16 TrnOvrANwLeaf, wouldn't you rather Rudd (or whoever) remain as prime minister, and you replace the queen with a president? Your suggestion seems to be an american style presidency, which is horrible, as it means the head of the country and head of government are the same person. If Britain were ever to become a republic, I would want an Irish style system, which isn't perfect, but better than the american one. Tue 28 Apr 2009 16:19:02 GMT+1 dmwlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=14#comment15 I agree with smartlondon, we could remain part of the Commonwealth if we became a republic...and potentially enjoy the same impartiality as the citizens of Zimbabwe enjoy from their Head of State Robert Mugabe. Tue 28 Apr 2009 16:05:33 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=13#comment14 To be frank, if Australia ever become a republic, it would take time for me to get used to calling whoever's the Prime Minister(now terms) President. Right now it just sounds so ridiculous if you play it in your head. Tue 28 Apr 2009 15:15:47 GMT+1 smartlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=12#comment13 andfreedom, Australia can become a republic and stay in the commonwealth, like India, Malta etc Tue 28 Apr 2009 14:51:27 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=11#comment12 Just to clear the mud I'm stepping. I don't think Churchill or other British wartime PMs didn't anything untoward by asking us to help with their warfare. After all, Australia was, and still is, a Commonwealth nation and this membership comes with a moral obligation to lend a hand to its counterpart should the need arises. Besides, Britain was arguably Australia's closest ally and our economic interests were very much dependent on the wellbeing of Britain. It is only prudent that we didn't snub their request. Also, I am fine by the system we have now but I do think having an independent Australia will strengthen our identity and streamline our democracy. For one thing, we won't have any more inhibitions whatsoever when drafting policies, especially on foreign affairs, and for another, we won't have our democratic elections compromised by having our Presidents(don't mean to sound portentous) removed by someone else. Recall Whitlam. Not that Quentin Bryce is suspect. It's just that serving the papers is well within her and the Queen's divine rights. Tue 28 Apr 2009 14:47:19 GMT+1 andfreedom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=10#comment11 Whether Australia becomes a Republic or not is a decision for the Australian public, yet I cannot help asking one question, how many Presidents (or other Heads of State) can you name? 9, 10 perhaps?, and mostly from large powerful nations I suspect. The idea that by becoming a Republic Australia will somehow gain some new found respect on the world stage is laughable, as is the idea that Australia is somehow ignored because it does not have its own Head of State. By being part of the Commonwealth, Australia has a unique link with so many other countries, a link that would disappear if it left, imagine no more seat at the head table, no more influence with one of the most respected people in the world. Also, on a personal note, I like the Monarchy, sure it isn't perfect, but much better someone impartial and free of the pettiness of politics than someone that needs to grandstand to gain notoriety. Tue 28 Apr 2009 14:27:13 GMT+1 pciii http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=9#comment10 #10, thanks for that comment, we get a lot of Churchill bashing on this blog. Personally, I'm glad he was in charge back in WWII, the world might be a lot different if he wasn't.As for the subject of the blog, good luck with whatever outcome is achieved - but as others have said there's a lot going for a stable head of state (not that royalty guarantees that). Having the ruling party decides who gets the job seems pointless and a popular vote may well just result in an endorsement/backlash against whatever party is in power, either that or the latest non-celebrity. Maybe if it ain't broke.... Tue 28 Apr 2009 13:47:16 GMT+1 dmwlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=8#comment9 This debate regarding an Australian republic is an unneccessary waste of time. The system we have works perfectly well, arguably better than most, and to be fair there are far more serious issues on the agenda. The more I hear republicans voicing their concerns and opinions on the matter the less regard I have for them. As for the concept that Australian and British kinship was strengthened after both world wars I personally don't see the irony. There were enormous casualities amongst both British and Commonwealth troops. In relation to WWII in particular, I believe a majority of people don't presume to understand the complexities and pressure that Churchill faced in co-ordinating the war effort. Wether British or from a Commonwealth country most are simply grateful he was in charge. The strong British and combined Commonwealth prescence at the Anzac Day services was in some ways a testament to this. Tue 28 Apr 2009 12:38:55 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=7#comment8 This is embarrassing. Anyhow, as I was saying, Kerry-Anne Walsh's 'Talk is cheap on republic' seems to ascertain Kevin Rudd's hesitation in pushing a republican agenda as evidenced by his paying only 'lip service' to the cause. With so many things on Kevin's plate right now, I honestly doubt this plebiscite would have majority support in both houses. He's thinking about recession, one million unemployment, asylum seekers, carbon emission cap, battered Fiji, Swine flue and a truckload of whatever a PM has to be thinking. I would be careful about seriously committing to this president-making vote amid this unpredictable climate.However, with his poll popularity swinging by the tree top, I can't say I will be stupefied if his party and he do vote yay on this plebiscite. After all, his is well cushioned, unlike Malcolm Turnbull, whose popularity may mean he would have to think twice before experimenting with this fissure-prone issue.A decade ago when the republican issue was put to referendum, a bit more than half of the nation said no. The conservatives, farmers and working class cast the majority of the no's. With this marked surge in Anzac popularity as Nick noted last time, there seems to be a renewed hope of getting more Australians to greet this canvass with their Aussie flags waving. I suppose, in this sense, a budding Australian head of state spirit may well be stemming from this unwavering Anzac spirit come this plebiscite. Tue 28 Apr 2009 12:17:02 GMT+1 Butterfly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=6#comment7 I voted for a republic in the referendum held on an Australian republic before, but only becuase the head of state was to be chosen by the parliament. It makes a simple change - Governor General basically becomes Presedent & the Prime Minister of the day can't put in whoever he/she likes; 2/3 of the parliament have to like them too. I believe the proposed model was similar to what exists in India. I'm not sure that I would vote for a republic if it was an elected head of state. I don't want the role to be come political Tue 28 Apr 2009 12:13:24 GMT+1 smartlondon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=5#comment6 Any head of state role is essentially a ceremonial one, except in the USA, so it doesn't really matter if that person is elected or not. Personally, I like the fact ours is held by someone who is born in to it, and does it for life. Rather that than someone who's spent their whole life desperately craving that kind of position, backstabbs and manoeuvres their way to get it, and then most likely becomes a freeloading, corrupt idiot the minute they become president. And then repeat the whole process every 5 years or so. Couldn't be bothered with it. Tue 28 Apr 2009 11:49:02 GMT+1 Floyd http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=4#comment5 Davebandit the Monarchy apparently protect us from a dictatorship, you know the way having a Kaiser stopped Germany from falling under the control of an autocrat. The Monarchy does nothing for Australia and were I a pom, I wouldn't want them in control of my country no matter how constitutionally they did it. Yet, I can't get very excited about this issue. It's not as important as our government doing something useful about Climate Change, that's for sure. I can't get into the Republican idea that the rest of the world will pay us any more respect or attention than they do at the moment if we stop pretending that the Queen and her family matter. Tue 28 Apr 2009 11:33:50 GMT+1 davebandit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=3#comment4 oops!, here. I hate bad spelling! Tue 28 Apr 2009 11:19:24 GMT+1 davebandit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=2#comment3 Can someone tell me what the Monarchy actually do for Australia?All I hear of is the occasional visit (holiday??) to shake some hands and then it's back to blighty.That said, I live in the North of England... What do the Monarchy do for us up hear?? Tue 28 Apr 2009 11:12:54 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=1#comment2 Dear moderator, I accidentally clicked the 'post' button just then yet I haven't quite finished my post. Please ignore it. Tue 28 Apr 2009 11:05:01 GMT+1 TrnOvrANwLeaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/nickbryant/2009/04/australian_republic_back_on_ra.html?page=0#comment1 Gosh, two days ago Kerry-Anne Walsh's 'Talk is cheap on republic' (SMH 26/4)dimmed my hope Tue 28 Apr 2009 11:03:32 GMT+1