Tracking the push for an Australian republic

Republicanism Citizenship Local government Australia

In the Australian Senate on 23 June 2003, the South Australian Senator Stott Despoja, also on behalf of Senator Bolkus, moved:

(1) That the following matters be referred to the Legal and Constitutional References Committee for inquiry and report:

(a) the most appropriate process for moving towards the establishment of an Australian republic with an Australian Head of State; and

(b) alternative models for an Australian republic with specific reference to:

(i) the functions and powers of the Head of State,

(ii) the method of selection and removal of the Head of State, and

(iii) the relationship of the Head of State with the executive, the parliament and the judiciary.

(2) That the committee facilitate wide community participation in this inquiry by conducting public hearings throughout Australia, including in rural and regional areas.

This was the first serious national move to reignite debate about an Australian republic since the failed 1999 referendum on the matter.

This paper explores developments in the Australian republic debate since the referendum, drawing on key books, articles, events and commentary. It also suggests how the debate might unfold.

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