Monday, July 31, 2017

Are we going to let Australia beat us to a republic?

The republic debate is back on the agenda in Australia again, with Labor leader Bill Shorten promising a referendum if elected:

Bill Shorten says Labor will activate the process towards Australia becoming a republic if he wins the next election, and put a question to the voters by the end of his first term in office.

The Labor leader will use a speech to the Australian Republican Movement to lay out a concrete timetable for a referendum, and argue Australia should not wait for a change of monarch to activate the debate.

Shorten will pledge to make a member of a newly elected Labor ministry responsible for advancing the republican push post election, “and – by the end of our first term – we will put a simple, straightforward question to the people of Australia”.

“Do you support an Australian republic with an Australian head of state?”

And that could be coming sooner than we think. Australia currently has a hung Parliament, and the government has a majority of one. But they've also just had several Senators resign over unexpected dual citizenship. The same clause which has forced them from office also applies to MP's, and there's an awful lot of them who might be dual citizens. It takes only a single such resignation, and Australia will be back to the polls.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, our politicians all say a republic is "inevitable", while doing nothing to bring it about. But if they piss about, we're going to be beaten to it by Australia. Do we really want to let that happen?