Allan Takes Aim Blog

The call for a Republic sounds again

Posted on: 16 June 2013


My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

 The call for a Republic sounds again

 The idea of Australia becoming a Republic is like an active volcano which from time to time erupts and spews out lava like streams of hot words that say goodbye forever to the Queen.  The stream of words then dries up until a politician in need of a distraction from his/her problem creates a new republic eruption clothed as patriotism.

The usual form of this eruption is that the world sees Australia as a colonial outpost with Australians as serfs of the British monarchical system which, according to Republican Movement has already reached its use by date.

Of course, as usual there are views to the contrary expressed by Australians who can’t see any benefit  in the change. Surprisingly, these Australians are not only confined to one section of the community but across the full range of the political spectrum.

(A brief digression: I would be in favour of Australia becoming a Republic if, in doing so, the change would help create a million new jobs or the money saved by the change was invested in something with a practical application. At the same time I would want the Republican movement to give support to Scotland becoming Independent.)

Cynicism aside, the recent eruption of the republican volcano has been caused by Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan, in what seems the forlorn hope that media reporting of it will make voters sympathetic to him and his Government and so avoid both of them being ditched by voters at the election in September.

On the basis of news reports it seems doubtful that more than media reporting will help either his or the Government’s re- election. If anything, I think both Mr Swan’s performance as Treasurer plus the Government’s will re-inforce voters views that if there is to be a Republic, the President should be elected by popular choice, which in turn, raised the question: how would the public make its choice? Well I’ve got an idea about how the public could make its choice.

Save the odd madman/woman among them, I doubt Academics would consider nominating, while Captains of Industry and Union Bosses too, would surely rule themselves out, in the latter’s case because they already wield more power than a President and would be loath to give it up just to preside over afternoon tea parties.

So who does that leave? The only people left are me and you – the common herd – ex-politicians and myriad ex others.  I could be wrong but I think the common herd has too much sense to want the job. On the other hand many ex – politicians so love the limelight they would probably queue up to get on the ballot paper. On the other hand it could turn out to be the longest queue in history and good for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. If that happened, the queue would be reduced in the following way.

First: This could be done by forming a panel of 14 voters, two from each state and one from each territory, all drawn at random from the electoral roll.  Second: The panel would set an examination paper with questions that asked candidates why they wanted to be President. The six top scoring entrants would then become Presidential candidates.

This election would be first past the post and to ensure each candidate had the same chance they would then be given equal time on radio and television and equal space in newspapers, to present to the nation in what I will call their Eureka Address as to why they should be elected President. I would suggest, also, that the Eureka Address be not any longer than the 272 words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

A voting slip and pre-paid envelope would be given to every voter before the candidates addressed the electorate. After the address the voting slip indicating the voters’ choice would have to reach the Electoral Commission within seven days.

However, just in case I’m wrong and some of you fancy being president why not put your reasons in no lmore than 272 words in the comment section at the end of the blog.

Comment welcome.

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13 Responses to "The call for a Republic sounds again"

The 50 million eligible voters had a choice between six candidates to replace incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Having been vetted by Iran’s electoral authorities, none is seen a challenge to the Islamic Republic’s 34-year-old system of clerical rule.

It is curious that so few of the former colonies of Britain that retain significant geopolitical power have adopted Republicanism. Perhaps because those that did not were relatively peaceful breakups.

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