Women Say...on the Republic


The Canberra Times, 19 June 2000

From: Catherine Moore (Greens, Bill of Rights, Indigenous Peoples delegate to the 1998 Constitutional Convention), Charley’s Forest, NSW

Your editorial of 10 June suggests that the "Republic issue needs reviving." I suggest that it should never have been allowed to become dormant. Regardless of Prince Charles and his private (public) life, there are many important aspects of the possible move to a republic that we, as a nation, need to be fleshing out, and discussion of these ought to have continued when the Constitutional Convention concluded in February 1998.

The move to a republic needs to evolve. It is not something that can be forced upon us by a vocal few. In order for that evolution to happen, we need to take into the community for discussion such issues as: the wording of a preamble; possible changes to the constitution itself; proportional representation; a bill or rights and responsibilities; appointment, dismissal and powers of a head of state; and even what that head of state should be called.

If we are to move to a republic, it has to be a republic that is owned by all Australians, not imposed on us by a small group who think they know what is right for us. And the only way, we will ever succeed at achieving the changes we need to make our system truly democratic (for I happen to believe that we have a long way to go in that area yet), is to ensure that, next time, all those who want a republic must work cooperatively together, no matter how much their views on the details may differ. Until that happens, the issue of an Australian republic will remain dormant for a long time.

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Last modified: November 04, 2003