The Anacronistic Constitution

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INTRODUCTION In recent years, the Australian Constitution has come under increasing scrutiny. Pro republicans have argued that the Constitution is anachronistic and that it should be replaced by a better system; one that is more complimentary of today's lifestyle and does not include an hereditary monarch as the nation's Head-of-State. Monarchists believe that while the Constitution may need amending in some areas, the Queen as the Head-of-State reflects our history as a nation and that Constitutional crisis such as that of 1975, have been rare.

It has also been suggested that the Constitution does not guarantee any particular rights for Australian citizens and that the Queen is not representative of the Australian people. Furthermore, republicans argue that heredity and appointed Heads-of-State are not consistent with a democracy.

While these issues are by no means the extent of the argument for either side of the republic debate, broadly speaking they are the strongest and throughout this essay, these elements will be discussed in more detail.

THE ARGUMENT FOR CHANGE As the current Constitution approaches its centennial anniversary in 2001, the demand for a republic appears to grow stronger. However, history has shown that previous attempts to amend, or replace, the Constitution have not been terribly successful. The Constitution as it currently stands is reported to be anachronistic, meaning that it is out of date and thus does not reflect the current ideas held by the majority of Australians. With the suggestion that a Constitution is "concerned with values, structures, functions and procedures....[and] It establishes formal relationships between the government and the governed" (Jaensch D "The Australian Constitution" in The Politics of Australia 2nd edition Macmillan 1997 pg 44) it can be argued that since the Constitution does not represent the views of the people, it is not operating correctly.