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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
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Name: Karyn Marshall
Email: [email protected]
Course code and title: Foundations of Business Law
Program code: BLW16
Course Coordinator: Jim Thomson
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Assignment number: 1
Due date: 20/09/10
Assignment topic as stated in Course Information Booklet: Essay
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In this assignment I will be writing about whether it is inevitable that Australia will become a Republic or stay as a Monarchy. I will be putting forward a case if I agree or disagree with Mr. Abbott who is the Leader of the Opposition about whether Australia should stay monarchist country or become a republic. I have a theory and I agree with Mr. Abbott that why fix a constitution that isn??™t broken. To become a Republic would take a referendum and then the results would have to go to parliament and then they would have a debate and then have a vote to see if the referendum passed or was defeated; and this would take a while to happen as nothing happens in government in a hurry.
Our constitution is over one hundred years old and is still relevant to today??™s society; I can understand people wanting a republic but have they realized how long and a costly exercise it would be and I think the money could be spent on more important things (health and education). For an amendment or adoption of the present constitution there would have to be an abolition of the monarch??™s role as Head of State and then we would need to create a new office. There would need to be provisions for the appointment and also how the Head of State could be removed; other provisions that need to be removed would be the references to the Queen and her representative the Governor General. Or we could adopt what would be classed as an Executive President which would need a completely new constitution.
To change the constitution there would need to be a referendum and the advantages of this is that the population of Australia has the right to have a direct input into the process of change; the disadvantages are that since the constitutions inception there have been 42 amendments and only eight have been passed and of the thirty-four rejected proposals only five have attracted a majority of the total number of voters, but they failed to attract a majority in four or more states we see this as Australians are reluctant to make any radical change. (1) After changing the Constitution we would then need to change the name from the Commonwealth of Australia to what the Federal Republic of Australia; but there doesn??™t seem to be a strong case to change the name. Do we change the Governor Generals title to President, but there should be no need to change the preamble of the constitution
To change the Head of State from the Queen to for example a president, how would they be elected; by the Parliament, by the Prime Minister (which could lead to a conflict of interest), by the Council of Australian States or by the People. In a Republic the Head of State would have the same powers of the Governor General so why change what we already have; it has worked for over one hundred years and I don??™t see any reason for change. In the modern constitutional monarchy it consists of democratically elected parliaments and their leaders; such as the prime minister, who exercises the power of the government. The difference between a constitutional monarchy and a republic is considered to be more of a difference of detail than of substance. In both cases the titular head of state either monarch or president serves the traditional role of embodying and representing the people of the nation, while the actual governing of the country is carried by the elected Prime Minister.
A constitutional republic is a form of representative democracy where the head of state and other elected officials must govern according to the existing constitutional law that limits the government??™s power over citizens. This type of republic has been described as a government of laws not people and these republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the perceived threat of majoritarianism, thereby protecting dissenting individuals and minority groups from the tyranny of the majority. This not a pure democracy but it does has some democratic elements such as the ability of the people to elect their leader (e.g. the American president) and this is the type of republic that the people seem to want to have here in Australia. How would a head of state be elected in a republic, and the head of state would need to be above politics and they should be seen as a non-partisan figure.
With a constitutional monarchy it is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a codified, uncodified or blended constitution. The monarch has strictly Ceremonial duties and they may have reserved powers depending on the country??™s constitution and they have a directly or indirectly elected prime minister who leads the parliament. This system has worked well for Australia over the past one hundred years or so and many people can??™t see the need for change and also don??™t see the need for the unnecessary expense needed for a referendum.
In this instance I agree with Mr. Abbott that a Republic isn??™t inevitable; because as I see it people keep an open mind and they don??™t see the purpose in spending money on a referendum, so that then the parliament will have to agree to pass the laws to change the constitution which usually will take more than a few years; then they will have to enact a Bill of Rights and then get new law passed by the country??™s monarch which will most probably not be passed by her. Until the new laws are passed by the Queen or her representative there can be no changes to our constitution. Then we could have the problem that some of the states don??™t want to become a republic and some do; that will depend on the State??™s constitutions. I cannot see why we can??™t stay the way we are as I said before if it isn??™t broken why fix it, as I stated previously why spend all that money on a referendum when it could be better spent on health, education and infrastructure for the better of the Australian people.
(1) (Tasmanian Advisory Committee on Commonwealth/State Relations, A Republican Australia ??“ Issues for Tasmania, Tasmania 1995).
(G. Lindell, ???The Arrangements for Self-government for the Australian Capital territory. A Partial Road to Republicanism in the State Government 3 Public Law Review, p. 5, 1992).
(K. R. Handley, Constitution Building for a possible Republic ??“ The Problems, Paper delivered at the Curtain Raiser for the People??™s Convention, Great Hall, University of Sydney, 30 November 1996).
(B. Teague, ???The President of the Commonwealth of Australia,??? address by Federal Liberal Senator Baden Teague to the Senate, 25 June 1996)
(Republic Advisory Committee The Report of the Republican Advisory Committee. An Australian Republic, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra 1993)