Kate and Wills Fever Down Under

Well, we’ve just finished a FIVE day break, last Thursday being the last serious work day here in Australia for many people. With Tuesday being declared an extra bank holiday because of the clash of Easter Monday and Anzac Day, this may just have been the longest weekend in Australian history.

But we get stuck back into the hard grind today, Wednesday and tomorrow, Thursday and then…..

The Royal Wedding: Kate and Wills Get Hitched!

Kate and Wills engagement picture

The Official Engagement Picture

With the wedding due to start at 11 am in the UK, that’s going to be 8 pm here in Oz. Whoopee! Prime time TV. And party time again here in Australia.

For further details, let’s go to our Royal Correspondent, Mrs BobinOz. She’s been watching endless “Kate and Wills” TV programs since most of her favourite cooking shows have ended.

“Mrs BobinOz, how do you see the Royal wedding panning out?”

“Well, TV coverage starts at six o’clock in the evening here on Friday and about five or six of us girls are all going round Annette’s house armed with bottles of wine.”

There you have it.

But I know during my post on The Comedy Club, I promised you a look at an occasional yet ongoing debate here. Today seems like a good day for that. So, here is the BobinOz brief guide to…

Australia: Monarchy or Republic?

The question:

Should Australia ditch the monarchy and become a republic?

The current setup:

Australia is a constitutional monarchy. Technically, Queen Elizabeth II is Australia’s head of state. But, as Australia has its own constitution, the Queen doesn’t really have any power here, she’s more for show really.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

But as the Queen is v busy and lives 11,000 miles away, she is represented here by the Governor-General, currently Quentin Bryce…

Quentin_Bryce

Quentin Bryce: Australia’s Governor-General

The Governor-General is appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, so you can read into that what you like. I suspect the Prime Minister chooses and the Queen rubber stamps it. But maybe it’s the other way round.

For the Monarchy

Pro monarchists say by staying as a monarchy…

  • We continue our strong relationship with England.
  • We can get all excited and wave flags at Royal weddings.
  • And, well, the system has been good for us so far. It works.

But the republicans argue that a republic…

  • Would give Australia greater independence.
  • Would be good for business and the economy.
  • Would allow an Australian born citizen to be Australia’s head of state. Currently, that can’t happen.

The debate is clearly bigger than this, but as I said, it’s a brief guide.

Challenges of changing.

  • What kind of republic would Australia be?
  • Who or how do we choose our President?
  • All our coinage and notes would have to change to replace the Queen’s head.
  • And then there’s all the effort of going through a national referendum.

Which Australia did in 1999. The question was, take a deep breath…..

‘….should Australia alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament’

Result: 55% no, 45% yes.

The no’s won the day.

But this royal wedding has certainly given the monarchy a big boost in this country as it is probably has in many parts of the rest of the world. And if Prince William and Kate Middleton end up honeymooning here in Australia, as some have predicted, then that might just swing the debate even further in favour of a continued monarchy.

Either way, my congratulations to Friday’s newlyweds and I hope they find a level of happiness and contentment that appears to have eluded so many of their close relatives.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • David Greggory June 10, 2017, 7:28 pm | Link

    Reasons I believe we should have a monarchy in Australia:

    ⁃ respect the history of Australia
    ⁃ Hold strong relations with the United Kingdom (a powerful, rich and influential country). This not only promises for strong military support in most cases but also allows us to utilise them in creating deals with their allies (To all those people who say the USA can protect us they have shafted us when we went to war with Indonesia the first time and when we almost went to war the second time with them as recently as 1999, you can’t trust them). Also this makes it easier to trade with them and travelling and obtaining work in the UK is easier than what many other countries have to go through.
    ⁃ Assists with international relations with other countries as well. This occurs because someone who symbolises/ embodies the country can assist with negotiations without dictating if what the government did was alright. It is going to be hard to build diplomatic bridges if you are the ones who bombed the country previously for example and a monarch can be very useful in assisting in this area.
    ⁃ Monarchies also stop extremist individuals rising to power. People like Donald Trump, Rodrigo Duterte and Hitler would have a far less chance at staying their countries leaders. This occurs because whilst monarchies do not hold any real power as explained in my next point they can technically dismiss Prime Ministers if there was a large public opinion, the government or if the UN for example was behind them due to ‘incapacity to complete the necessary duties’ (don’t worry this does not mean they can just get rid of someone they don’t like as constitutionally it must be as just stated due to ‘incapacity’) because they would see it as a very important thing that must be done and the way to get it done is through the monarchy. This however is an unlikely occurrence to happen anyway as it would put the country into unrest. However in the extreme case in which a Prime Minister is not serving his/her duties in a capable manner it would be a very beneficial act but as stated they would need proper support coming from mainly the public and the government itself but also the UN in certain cases.
    ⁃ The British Monarchy is a Constitutional Monarchy meaning it is much like Japan’s system in which they play a purely symbolic role and we activate just as if we were a complete republic. Meaning that Australia is in control of itself and is indeed independent. Not to mention Australia actually has two heads of state, with one of them obviously being the current leading British monarch and the other being the current Prime Minister proving that we are indeed in control of ourselves. (Arguably the biggest sign of this is that the Queen accepted and signed the bill for the UK to leave the European Union even though the UK’s economic future would be largely at risk and it doesn’t give her or the monarchy more power or influence by saying no to it, it may even weaken it as their country may possibly become weaker)
    ⁃ Since the British Monarchy as mentioned has no real power they can not abuse anyone. But this is also cemented in the 3 clauses left today in the Magna Carta created in 1215 protecting people against possible mistreatments by the monarchy. And the monarchy became officially a constitutional monarchy in 1688

    ⁃ They Monarchy whilst having no real power has the most valued opinion you could say in diplomatic areas. This can be very useful as they can hear the complaints/ issues to do with the country and can put them forward to the current government or to world organisations with an unbiased view that benefits the people of the country. Making sure that the country is properly heard
    ⁃ They are a living embodiment of national pride and unity, whilst some would argue that it is the wrong national pride like mentioned before they represent Australia’s past and so many people would say it is the correct national pride
    ⁃ In times of war they can inspire a nation. Imagine your country has been at war for a long time and people are ant to pull out or no one else wants to sign up for the army but they need to continue the war for the greater good. Sure a speech from the Prime Minister/ President could inspire some people but most people in war times blame the government for them not succeeding at this point in time also about half the country wouldn’t have voted for them. Whilst a Monarchy does not experience these issues and since they are as mentioned before a living embodiment of the country they can inspire people through speeches or even visiting or fighting on the front line like most monarchies have done for the past 100 years. A prime minister/ President would almost never risk their lives going out on the battlefield as if they are killed then it can put the country into even more issues but a Monarchy can go without this issue.
    ⁃ Monarchies assist with a lot of charities and raise a lot of money and awareness. Whilst it is true that this is mainly in the UK thing such as the Invictus Games which is a kind of ‘Military Veterans Olympic Games’ are supported heavily by the monarchy especially through Prince Harry
    ⁃ They also represent the country and politicians at several occasions especially to do with speaking with the average person and opening several sites and speaking with foreign nationals what not. They actually do this almost everyday and this allows other politicians to continue their work.
    ⁃ The queen will also hold private audiences with foreign ambassadors and leaders from around the world closeining their relationship

    Other things to also be noted:
    ⁃ people think that the UK citizens have to pay money to the monarchy but in reality they don’t. The monarchy created a deal with the British government years ago whereby the monarchy gives them the right to a large portion of their lands which are worth around 200 million pounds annually in exchange for 40 million pounds annually meaning that the monarchy actually makes the UK citizens taxes cheaper and essentially gifts the government 160 million pounds a year for free.
    ⁃ Every week the U.K. Prime minister and the head of the monarchy meet in private for an hour and discuss domestic and international problems and challenges and former Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that talking with someone outside the political process is “an incredibly useful exercise” and he has also said “it is of great benefit to me” with the reason being “because I find it helps sort out the problems in my own head about the things we need to do”. This whole process makes the UK government more efficient and focused which not only assists them but assists their allies
    ⁃ The monarchy has several awards which are there to honour both the citizens of the UK and international citizens for their achievements and is something special and unique compared to other awards especially because you can change your name to include them in it. Without these awards from the monarchy many would go unrewarded or people would not care about the achievement especially in terms of awards that are granted due to achievement in a certain academic field, such as David Attenborough’s knighthood for his contribution to life science. The giving of awards to other international citizens also assists in international relations.
    ⁃ Accumulate billions for the country due to tourism and TV shows and movies being made about them
    ⁃ They do far more than you could imagine in a societal and political sense. To get a full scope of just how important and time consuming their jobs are you should check out their website – royal.uk and even princeofwales.gov.uk
    ⁃ Without the monarchy the commonwealth might cease to exist as they were largely a part of founding it not to mention still have an on going role in the heads of government meeting between the commonwealth countries. Once again proving that the queen has a large influence and assists with global diplomacy

    Overall what all these points mean is that if you want Australia (or even the UK) to become a republic you would actually be disadvantaging yourself and your country and be doing the wrong thing simply because you ‘just want to have the title of being your own thing’ even though you already are. Also the other options around the world are usually filled with massive holes and are absolutely detrimental to legitimate democracy including the American system. It should be noted that What we have now is a fully functioning democracy that does not and should not be changed. Saying this when it eventually comes around to Australia having another referendum Australians will most likely vote to leave because almost every politician is in favour of it (because they just want the title and are happy to dismantle a good thing for their own selfish gains) and this means that there will only be arguments in favour of abolishing it from the politicians which will massively influence the public.

    • BobinOz June 12, 2017, 9:03 pm | Link

      Well, I am not going to argue with you 🙂

      You have made some excellent points and given a strong pro-monarchy argument, maybe there is someone out there who is passionately pro-republic who would like to provide a counterargument?

      Anybody?

      Personally, I don’t imagine there’ll be another vote for quite some time yet, and if there was, I’m not sure there would be enough support to ditch the monarchy, it would probably end up similar to how the vote went in 1999.

      I get the feeling the royal family has a lot of support here, and why not, as you pointed out, I think they give more than they take. If you ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      Thanks for taking the time to give us your views, Bob

  • biddy November 22, 2016, 11:35 am | Link

    i am doing a debate aboutn tit and i was wondering if anyone could help plz??

    • BobinOz November 22, 2016, 8:37 pm | Link

      You don’t need help biddy, you can do this! You can win this debate. We are all behind you here 🙂

  • John Gibson September 17, 2016, 2:29 am | Link

    There is no official evidence to say the economy would grow or the business’s would be better so don’t just assume and be ignorant. People aren’t just going to spend more money and we aren’t going to get more international investment in Australia if we got rid of the monarchy. Also considering its a constitutional monarchy we are already independent meaning we cant gain anymore. And finally the Prime Minister of Australia is actually a dual Head Of State with the queen. Once again a lot of misinformation and assumptions that is often seen in this topic.

    • BobinOz September 19, 2016, 1:44 pm | Link

      What a shame, it seems the humour in this article has completely passed you by. Never mind.

  • Corey February 18, 2014, 7:27 pm | Link

    Hi,

    I’m doing a school essay on the topic of whether Australia should become a Republic, or stay as a Constitutional Monarchy, and I was wondering if I could have your opinion. 🙂

    Corey

    P.S. Who said the quote in 1999?

    • BobinOz February 19, 2014, 4:39 pm | Link

      Hi Corey

      You are probably not going to like this, but I don’t really have a very strong opinion either way. That’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I really don’t understand fully the implications of going from a monarchy to a republic.

      I’m not a big fan of the Royal family, but it’s nice to have strong ties between Australia and the UK. Some say that if Australia became a republic it would be good business and the economy, but I’m not sure why or how. Maybe if someone could convince me of the why’s or how’s, then maybe I would favour a republic here.

      So, in summary, I have not yet formed an opinion on the matter, based on not knowing enough about the effects.

      I don’t know specifically whose idea it was to hold that referendum in 1999, but it was under a Howard government and I do know that Malcolm Turnbull was a significant figure at the time trying to make Australia a republic.

      Good luck with your essay. Cheers, Bob

      • Corey February 19, 2014, 4:44 pm | Link

        It’s ok, I undestand.

        Thanks Bob 🙂

  • Kayleigh Slack April 28, 2011, 2:17 am | Link

    My family are having a huge street party on Friday! Literally all the shops here are covered in red white and blue decorations!

    Me however, I’m celebrating in style by partying at Blackpool Pleasure Beach 😀 Can’t wait!

    Congrats Will & Kate!!

    • BobinOz April 29, 2011, 9:02 pm | Link

      Hi Kayleigh

      There’s a pretty awesome roller coaster ride there, I’m sure you’ll give it a go. I imagine there will be quite a few street parties going on today as well. Hope the weather holds, I hear it’s been good so far this week.

      Have fun!

      Bob

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