Shorten calls for Australia to become a Republic

Sooner rather than later

Shorten calls for Australia to become a Republic

In 1999, Australians went to the voting booth to decide whether we wanted to split away from the British monarch and become our very own Republic. Back then Malcolm Turnbull was the man leading the charge for a 'yes' vote to transform the commonwealth of Australia into an Australian Republic and the campaign was voted down resoundingly across Australia. Every state voted against it, and about 55% of the entire population fell in the 'no' camp.

Now, almost 20 years later, it's Turnbull's predecessor Bill Shorten, who is calling to scrap the Queen and take on Australia as an independent country.

The opposition leader was vocal on his appearance on the ABC's Q&A program, saying he didn't believe Australia should continue “borrowing a monarch from another country”.

Mr Shorten: “If we are to become a truly independent nation, we should at least have as our head of state someone who is an Australian citizen,” 

When asked about concerns involving our relationship with UK following a split, Mr. Shorten seemed unperturbed saying Aussies and Poms would maintain "perfectly close ties".

Mr Shorten pointed out that other countries had broken free from their British shackles and still retained a healthy relationship with the Commonwealth, even retained their position in the Commonwealth games. 

He said the positives far outweighed the negatives, “We will just send a big message to the rest of the world that when you talk to Australia we’re an independent country.”

The difficulties in a successful Republican campaign would focus on how an Australian head of state would be selected. Currently the Governor-General assumes that role on behalf of the Queen and is (generally) observed as a symbolic position (don't ask Gough Whitlam though!).  Once ties are severed from the Queen this position becomes defunct and an Australian representative, or President-like role would be established, possibly similar to the American model.

There are also issues of heritage, with the aging Australian population still desperate to acknowledge our relationship with he Queen and our first Australian flag, especially with respect to the soldiers who died in battle attempting to defend it. 

It's an issue that will become more pertinent as the younger generations lose their attachment to the British monarch, with many particularly loud young people, or Republican sympathisers, believing independence is long overdue.

I do know that it would certainly make the Ashes seem a little more spicy!