By Lecquia Chang, Year 11
Australia becoming a republic has been an ongoing question mark that has lingered across the minds of many Australians. It has been a rather interesting topic that has emerged the various perceptions of our society such as questioning our identity, our national strengths, and our progress and capabilities.
The British monarchy’s reign as Australia’s constituent head of state officially dates back to 1901. 116 years onwards, the topic of a republic Australia continues to drift back and forth. In 1999, the Australian Republic Referendum took place for Australian electors to righteously vote for the establishment of an Australian republic and a preamble in the Constitution in which 45.13% voted ‘Yes’ whilst 54.87% voted ‘No’.
The Australian Republic Referendum in 1999
18 years since the referendum, Australia has certainly grown and there is no doubt our national opinions have evolved. Especially with a greater exposure to today’s global circumstances, is our society striving for the best within our own capabilities in all sectors of our nation’s interests economically, socially and academically. In comparison to the first 150 years of Australia’s early development, we today have rather become less reliant on the British monarchy politically and economically which raises the question: Do we have the capability to become an independent state? If so, why haven’t we and our government ministers not acted upon it in the last decade? Is it the apathy of our society that has caused us to hide the question under the covers? Or perhaps, with the many existing subjects that continue to reoccur on our top headlines concerning Indigenous rights and reconciliation, immigration, LGBTQ rights, environmental regulation, educational funding and national security, are we prepared for a national reformation?
Personally, I am a supporter of both arguments. An Australian republic will enable an Australian head of state who has been rightfully elected by the Australian people especially by the Indigenous custodians of this land- a representative who is familiar with the nation’s interests and values. For we have progressed independently in trade relations, economics, politics etc. without the reliance on the British monarchy for the past 100 years, we may as well continue to thrive under our independently stated Constitution. However, a factor that may hinder us from doing so is the possibilities of becoming a republic similar to America let alone the Australian people’s inconsistent relationship with our political leaders, will becoming a republic change the work ethics of Australia’s politicians? And there is also the longing to grasp onto tradition and our heritage that we have for so long have identified with in our flag and Coat of Arms, as well as sharing a common identity with the 16 Commonwealth realms, including New Zealand.
As a divisive topic, an “Australian republic” has opened a wide scope of interesting stances amongst conversations.
Should Australia become a republic? What do you think?