Leon Mika

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The Australian Republic Question

With the passing of Queen Elisabeth II, the talk of whether Australia should become a republic will probably start making the rounds once more. I don’t consider myself a royalist, and when the last referendum on the issue came around, I voted in favour of becoming a republic. The idea of having the British Royal Family as the head of state of a country halfway around the world seem anachronistic to me, and I was disappointed when the referendum failed.

Since then, my position has been become slightly more nuanced. I still believe in the ideals of becoming a republic — in being a country that is more-or-less completely self governing. But after reading this article from Vox.com, I’ve come to see some benefits of having a head of state that is removed from the day-to-day politics of government. Sure, the stability from such a figurehead may not have been wholly constant, but that “lack [of] semblance of legitimacy” that comes from the royals being the head of state does provide some reassurance. One less divisive thing for people to think about when that position changes hands.

So if the referendum was held today, which way would I go? I’d probably still vote “yes”, but it would have a “can we make it such that the office is not in any way marred in the politics of the day?” qualifier attached to it.

Then again, I talking about the terms of a theoretical referendum where the proposed system is more than just replace-the-monarchy-with-a-president. Such concerns regarding the division of power might already be settled within the constitution. I really don’t know: might be worth looking up if the question were to come up again.

Either way, we’ll see which way the winds blow.

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