Here is a brief summary of the new model.
What we have now – this is the current reality
We have a constitutional monarchy for Australia.
The King / Queen of the UK is Australia’s Head of State as the monarch.
The rules for succession for the monarchy are the same or all the Commonwealth realms.
The King / Queen provides unity for all the divisible Crowns in Commonwealth realms through the person of the monarch. In the past the indivisible British Crown provided this unity.
By history and convention the monarch cannot interfere with responsible government and is effectively a ceremonial and powerless Head of State.
The monarch has a representative for every divisible Crown. The monarch’s representative only acts on advice of the responsible government, however, the monarch’s representative can have recourse to reserve powers if circumstances warrant it.
There are seven representatives for the monarch in Australia, one each for the seven divisible Crowns in Australia:
- Governor-General for the Crown in right of the Commonwealth of Australia (starting from September 3, 1939).
- Governor of NSW for the Crown in right of NSW (starting from March 3, 1986).
- Governor of Victoria for Crown in right of Victoria (starting from March 3, 1986).
- Governor of South Australia for the Crown in right of South Australia (starting from March 3, 1986).
- Governor of Queensland for the Crown in right of Queensland (starting from March 3, 1986).
- Governor of Western Australia for the Crown in right of Western Australia (starting from March 3, 1986).
- Governor of Tasmania for the Crown in right of Tasmania (starting from March 3, 1986).
Vision for the future Australian republic with a democratic Crown
We could have a constitutional republic by replacing the monarch with an elected Australian who will serve as our Head of State for a fixed term.
We will have a constitutional republic for Australia.
An Australian is elected to be our Head of State for a fixed term in office.
The rules for succession for the Australian Head of State are defined in a new Section of the Commonwealth Constitution after successfully passing a referendum under Section 128.
There is a formal agreement among the Commonwealth and all six states to accept the elected Head of State as the one person who replaces the monarch as Australia’s Head of State for all the divisible Crowns in Australia. The person who is elected Head of State performs the essential function of unifying the Australian Federation through their person.
As the elected Head of State replaces the monarch, the Australian body politics would insist that the the elected Head of State abides by the Westminster conventions restraining the exercise of power by the monarch. The elected Head of State cannot interfere with responsible government and is effectively a ceremonial and powerless Head of State.
The elected Head of State has a representative for every divisible (democratic) Crown. A representative of the elected Head of State only acts on advice of their responsible government, however, the representative of the elected Head of State can have recourse to reserve powers if circumstances warrant it.
There are STILL seven representatives for the elected Head of State in Australia, one each for the seven divisible (democratic) Crowns in Australia (as listed above).
Everything else stays the same as in the constitutional monarchy.
This is a very brief outline for how Australia can transition from a constitutional monarchy to a constitutional republic.
This approach is very different to the approaches proposed by the Australian Republic Movement in 1999 and in 2022.
This approach is conservative. It will protect and enhance our liberal democracy and the Westminster system of Government as it has developed in Australia.
Some additional points that I think are important:
- The term of office for an elected Head of State is one year – starting from the 3rd of September.
- A suitable title for an elected Australian Head of State is “Australian of the Year”.
- There is a round robin of the states and Commonwealth so that each state and the Territories combined can elect the Australian Head of State on average once every seven years.
- The gender of the elected Head of state alternates between men and women from year to year.
- Since the term is so short, an elected Head of State would need to serve a 6 month apprenticeship starting on the 3rd of March before their term in office.
- Since the term is short, a retiring elected Head of State is expected to continue to serve for an additional 6 months after their term ends as a mentor to the incoming elected Head of State – to complete their service on the 3rd of March in the year following their term in office.
- An elected Head of State would serve the Australian public for a total of 2 years – starting and ending on the 3rd of March.
- The voting for an elected Head of State is limited to the state or Territories from where the person will be elected from. A voter would expect to vote once every 7 years for the Head of State.
- The States and Territories would take responsibility for the nomination process and campaigning.
- The focus of campaigning for candidates would be around philanthropic activities, raising awareness for community groups and causes, and raising funds for charities, etc. The elected Head of State cannot influence government policies, so they must not campaign on policies or divisive political issues. We would expect the conventions and norms limiting the monarch from expression political views to be applicable through the election campaigns.
- This process may favour people at the beginning of their careers. Many former elected Heads of State may decide to enter politics after their term in office is completed.
- I see this election process for an Australian republic as being completely aligned and in tune with the Voice to Parliament.
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