Here are some ideas about becoming a Republic.
I don’t want an elected president because we have just seen what happens when the President is elected – the President then becomes political. I don’t think that is suitable for Australia. No one wants the person who represents the highest office in the land to be a lying and manipulating politician looking after his own interests and those who fund his campaign.
In Australia we could even say we don’t want a president at all. Is a president really necessary in our democracy? We don’t have one and we seem to be getting by pretty well.
By having the Queen as “head of state” we have eliminated the need for our own president but it is at a cost, the cost is in terms of pride and self-respect. How can we hold our heads up in the world when we accept a foreigner as having the ultimate power. Although this arrangement has actually served us well that is not sufficient justification for continuing the status quo. So a change must come eventually.
The 1999 referendum failed because republicans failed to come up with a single suitable model for appointing or electing a president. Some wanted an elected president and some wanted an appointed president. Strangely, those who rejected the “appointed” president did so because they didn’t want politicians making the decision, even though a popularly elected president would perforce be a politician. The division between those who wanted a minimalist change and those who wanted a radical change ensured that nothing happened.
My idea is this. We reject the concept of an actual person being president. Our leader should be a virtual leader comprised of a set of ideas, principles or aspirations. These ideals should encompass the best parts of our society and be written in a new section of the constitution and effectively replace reference to “the crown.” The national ideals and principles would rule the country, and the Parliament would continue to appoint the Governor-General to represent these ideals. The Governor-General would be honour-bound to uphold these ideals and the Constitution in executing his powers.
We would never need to elect our leader; our leader would never die in office, become senile or act against the good of the people; our leader would be eternal and enduring, allowing us to hold our heads high in the world. Our leader would be a sign to the world displaying all the good things of our society and would represent the next stage in the evolution of democracy.