Page 5214 - Week 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2011

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certainly have some key reasons myself. I actually mentioned those at the event. Whilst I do not disagree with any of them in this document, my own personal ones were my experiences as an 18-year-old arriving in the United Kingdom, feeling part of the commonwealth and finding myself being put in the aliens line where I had to queue up with all the non-European passport holders to get into the United Kingdom, whereas the EU passport holders had a very fast and separate line.

This sounds a bit quirky in some ways and it sounds a little bit odd to raise that as a specific issue, but for me as an individual I guess it made the evolving nature of Australia’s relationship with the United Kingdom clear to me. We will never remove the history and the connection between our two nations, but I think it demonstrates that the world has moved on and the relationship between Australia and the United Kingdom is perhaps one of emotional ties and shared friendship rather than some of the more practical measures.

The second reason, for me, is the matter of our confidence as a nation. I think the idea that we need a foreigner as our head of state suggests some sense of inferiority on our part. Australia is a highly successful, highly respected nation around the world and we should have a greater level of confidence than that. I think it is very important that we do make that step.

My third personal reason is that we need a governance structure that is modern and relevant to all Australians. We live in a country now in which people come from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Having the Queen of the United Kingdom as our head of state, I think, does not reflect that modern, vibrant Australian democracy. I do not think any of those things in my mind are negative. They are very much about asserting ourselves as a nation that has grown out from under the wing of the United Kingdom and that is very much capable of, and should be, standing on its own two feet.

Coming back to the document, the first segments were about a vision statement. The document also contains a policy section. It spells out a framework for an Australian republic and sets out some quite specific steps. It deals with the issue of selection method. We recall the referendum last decade. I think that at this stage the Republican Movement has not specified exactly what the selection method should be. I think that is both wise and strategic. The document actually goes on to talk in the third section about a pathway to an Australian republic. I think this, again, is a wise approach because it moves away from the divisive way in which Prime Minister Howard put the referendum together in the 1990s.

What it suggests—and these are important steps—is a non-binding plebiscite on the threshold question along the lines: “Do you want Australia to become a republic by replacing the British monarch with a resident Australian citizen as head of state?” At the end of the day, that is what this is all about. It then goes on to suggest that we undertake national consultation to work through the process of how we choose it and then, finally, we move to a referendum, which will be necessary to change the constitution.

I would simply like to congratulate those in the Australian Republican Movement on putting together this document. It is a very short and effective document which can

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