Details of the 1999 Australian Republic Debate

Essay by CrabholeJunior High, 9th gradeA-, July 2004

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The ball got rolling in 1993 with the establishment of the Republic Advisory Committee, which published a report called the "An Australian Republic". John Howard committed the (then) Opposition to a Constitutional Convention, which was held in the old Parliament House in Canberra in 1998, recommending the questions to be put to referendum in 1999.

we are looking at a system where the country is governed by elected representatives, the House of Representatives and the Senate, and we also have a Head of State who does not get the job because they inherited it

Its constitution reflected its status as a self-governing colony (later "dominion") within the British Empire, both in the document's method of creation and in its content. Although largely drafted in Australia by a popularly elected convention and approved by the Australian electors, the constitution acquired legal force through enactment by the British Parliament

the British government effectively abandoned these powers by the time of the Imperial Conference of 1926, which acknowledged dominion autonomy in internal and external affairs.


1) To enable the creation of an indigenous office of head of state

2) To substitute a head of state constituted on republican principles for one chosen by heredity.

Borrowing a foreign head of state, which despite the facade of an "Australian Crown," accurately describes the reality in Australia, is unsatisfactory in at least three respects. First, it is impractical, and detracts from national self-respect to depend on another country-over whose constitutional processes Australia has no control-for filling an essential constitutional office. The continuity of Australian government is thereby left dependent upon the actions of another country. If Britain were to become a republic, Australian government would be thrown into disarray

3) What image does this present to the...