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Monday, February 9, 1998 Published at 22:03 GMT



Talking Point

Should Australia get rid of the Queen? Your reaction

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Send her packing

Australia wake up and smell the kangaroo... Kick the queen out and have a good day, mate.
Syed Tashfeen Bokhary, USA

I was in Oz during the Gough Whitlam episode, when those who had the power of the Queen were able to depose a democratically-elected leader. That is an achilles heel in the Australian system, more like a malignant growth, something very bad to have in the system. The Poms should not have that power.
If the people vote someone in, only they should be able to vote them out. Keep her as a figurehead, if you must, but put constitutional power in the people, and the people only.
Michael J. Carr, USA

I was born in England but believe that we (Australia) should become a Republic. The Monarchy is an antiquated and maladroit system. The sooner this country breaks its ties with England the happier most Australians will be. From my observations, it is my mothers generation that desperately clings to the Monarchy but then that was another and much different time. Come the next millennium, this country will have an Australian as its Head of State.
Bill Archer, Australia

Australia should have its own non-political head of state and a new flag. I favour (note the non-American spelling) maintaining close ties with UK through remaining in the Commonwealth. Australia is independent enough to declare its soveriegnity after 200 years of European settlement, much of which came from countries with no close link to the Monarchy. The Monarchy can still be revered etc by those with nothing better to do or say. New Century, New Flag, New Australia
Patrick Kennedy, Australia

I believe the monarchy is anachronistic, and I can't believe the millions of Greeks, Italians, Germans, Irish, etc. descendants want to have a queen from a country thousands of miles away.
Nicola Maderna, Italian citizen living in UK

This would improve Australia's image as independent and sovereign democracy.
Murlidhar Gupta, Canada

I am a Senator in the Australian Federal Parliament and I strongly support the conversion to republican status becayse I believe Australia should have an institution for Head of State reflecting the democratic and egalitarian values for which Australia stands.
The Monarchy is the very antithesis of these values based as it is on hereditary principles and is a British rather than Australian institution The republican concept is pro-Australian not anti-British and a republican Commonwealth of Australia will remain in the British Commonwealth recognising the Queen as its head, will still play cricket and enjoy friendly rivalry with "the poms " in many things, but Australia is a diferent country with a different set of national values and it is time we had our own Head of State.
Alan Eggleston, Australia

Within the next decade Australia's Anglo-Saxon population will be merely just over 50%, and a British head of state seems increasingly irrelevant. Our existing rights and freedoms have to be codified in writing and not left as mere "convention," technically alterable by anyone in authority. It's time to formally recognise Australia's Aboriginal inhabitants and its non-British ones who will most likely be calling the shots more as time goes on.
Jamie Horsfield, Australia

We did it in our country and we don't feel guilty. Australians need to have their own identity, as the above flag suggests. It is original and symbolises auntheticity. Be proud of yourselves. Why should the Queen be multi-headed?
Thanks and GOOD LUCK!!!!
Jessie Skosana, South Africa

How can Britain preach democracy, when it cannot practice it because of it's shackles of the past. With it's rulers born in to privelage.
Peter Wood, Australia

Though born in South Africa of British parents I was educated in England and served in the Royal Marines from '44 to '47. Having lived in Australia now for 35 of my 71 years I believe that it is time to "let go of Mothers apron strings" and forge our own future. There is no disrespect for the Queen in fact many Australians admire her and particularly the Queen Mother. As long as we can have the constitutional protection that we have enjoyed since Federation I am for a Republic.
David Knight, Australia

If your nation asks you to fight and possibly die for it, what would you rather fight and die for? A) The values laid down in a written constitution similar to that of the US(freedom of speech, expression separation of Church and State etc.) B) A bunch of over-privileged layabout Germans who have never done an honest days work in their lives. Abolish this absurd throwback to feudal times now!
Pete Coster, USA

I support the Australians in wanting an Australian to represent them as Head of State. This is an office that should be the highest honour for an Australian, not a member of the British Royal Family.
The office must be meritocratic. The drawback of a monarchy is you may have a very bad monarch, such as Nicholas II (Russia) and occasionally a very good one, Juan Carlos I (Spain) however ceremonial the position may be, you actually need someone who will understand his/her constitutional responsibilities.
Rafael Gutierrez, Mexico

From an Anglo/Australian family living in the USA. After Australia what about the UK becomming a republic. I am sure one of the other nations who use the same Queen will take her - New Zealand for example??
Barry Woodhams, USA

Although the UK has a lot to be proud of it has to acknowledge that the British government has consistently interfered with other countries causing long term damage in its various colonies. The damage is still with us today (just look at Ireland). And that's why we now want to become a republic - to dispense with that last symbol of British colonialism. As a Scot you of all people should understand that.
Elizabeth Henderson, Australia

Nothing personal, but we don't need her - nor do we want her. Only the over sixties seem to care about her and the rest of the royals.
Elizabeth Deveny, Australia

The British Royal family has failed the Australians as a constitutional institution. Rare visits and gratuitous and denigrating remarks about Australia and Australians by the Prince of Wales have had the expected effect a void which has to be filled by an Australian. No one underestimates the authority and respect Australians have for Queen Elizabeth II. This will continue after the Republic and she will always be welcomed there in her own right and as a Head of the Commonwealth.
Marc Ellis, USA

Lucky to have her

One look at the antics of Bill Clinton and Co. will hopefully enlighten you on how a steady influence the Queen really is....governments come and go, the Queen is above all those.
Martin R Marsola, United States Of America

Why don't you all (Australians and Britons alike) sleep on it for another, say, 30 years or so? Denying history and legacies may be fashionable these days, but will it last? Be proud of the ties between your countries!
Anonymous, The Netherlands

I think as far as the Queen goes the time for all this debate was at the end of her reign out of respect and decency if nothing else. Finally, as for those pro Republican moaners from Canada listed here - just you try to change this country - the Queen is our Queen and always will be so. If you have a problem with that you are welcome to move due south and join the rest of the rebels!.. Long live the Commonwealth family!
Bill Rae, Canada

The Queen is an example to us all of of how a leader aught to behave, with a republican leader one can never be sure of his honesty and integrity. Leaders come and go with the Queen there is stability.
Anon, Canada

It is an unnecessary, futile exercise which will in the end change nothing in substance but cost a lot of time and money! The Queen is only a symbolic head of state that yields no power in any country. For me personally however, the Queen symbolizes the United Kingdom, from where the traditions of democracy and rule of law come from. That's exactly the reasons why I left my native Hong Kong to live in Canada to remain to be Her Majesty's loyal subject.
Tom Lau, Canada

Since why should she have to travel all that way to be insulted by them. They have proved by their actions that they don't deserve her.
JM, UK

While I can understand the desire for pride in your country, I personally take great pride in the Queen and all the rich tradition that is in our history and see no problem in Canada finding it's place in the 21st century with the Queen and all that entails.
William W. Stewart, Canada

Without Britain or the determination of its Royal family, there would be no Australia to debate over. We only need look at the US and its current problems with its head of state to know that Australia, while looking to the future, should remeber, unlike the US,its past. God save the Queen!
Jonathan Bradshaw, United Kingdom

I don't think Australians want a President just for the sake of replacing the Queen! The Queen is a symbolic leader, with little or no real powers, so why not keep her, enjoy the historic link with Europe and get on with your daily lives?
Steven Zuanella, USA

Keep the queen!!! She adds value to an ever value-less society.
Jennifer Hoffman, USA

I think that the crown links that have bound together various commonwealth countries are admirable and worth preserving. We have a president and, given his behavior, having a head of state with the dignity and devotion to duty of Elizabeth II, is a plus for a nation.
Frederick Cohen, United States

The monarchy is a beautiful for history, traditions and heritage. Australia must, by no means, "cut out the union jack" from it's flag. The monarchy strengthens the ties between Europe as a whole and Australia.
G Frilund, Finland

Not only should they keep her, the US should invite her back as well!
Martin Ornstein, USA

Australians should feel proud to be part of the UK
Bill Wilder, USA

No, because they are British people living in former colony, and they maintain many other traditions and customs.
Kenneth Chisholm, USA

Yes, but what's next?

Yes, but can the single best element of the current arrangement (the political independence of the head of state) be preserved in a replacement system? That's the challenge.
Ross Gerring, Australia

As an American I am able to view this matter with a bit more objectivity as we are not directly involved. If Australia wants a republic so badly then take it, but they must remember once they've made their decision they can't turn back. I personally don't believe it would be an intelligent thing to do. "One should always be careful what they ask for....they may get it." On that point, no truer words have been spoken.
Stephen Alston, USA

The principal issues in the current debate are the powers of the Head of State and the method of appointment. The Governor General retains all those customary and unwritten powers of the Queen, including that of dismissal - exercised in 1975. Codifying these powers seems an impossible task, simply because they are so imprecise. The "official"Republicans are opposed to codification because the consequent constitutional changes are unlikely to pass the necessary referendum.
There is a similar divide on apointment. Popular election requires codification. But anything else is only tinkering at the edges. The likely result is the McGarvie proposal whereby the HoS is appointed by the Prime Minister with advice from "wise men", with no change in or codification of powers.
This differs from the present only in that the appointee would not represent the Queen, and her approval, which would never be witheld, would not be required. I'm sure that the leaders of the Republicans understand that this outcome is most likely, and are simply and quite cynically misleading the Australian people through a desire to deny the contribution made by Britain to Australia's institutions and development.
Brian Grimes, Australia

If the Australians think they're being grown up and independent by becoming a republic, they should act their age and promise to cut air emissions like the rest of us.
Arthur Edelstein, USA

Eventually, yes, but not until there is a consensus or overwhelming majority in favour, including of the details of the new system about the method of selecting the new head of state, any changes in parliamentary procedures, anything that is a change from present system. What is more important than having the Queen as head of state or not is having a robust and widely accepted system in all its detail.
Murray Hancock. Australia

Being an Ex patriot I can see things more neutrally. Australia are a mature nation and should remove ties with the "Mother country" This ancient tradition is at an end along with the Empire. Time to move on to the 21st Century!
Russell Trezise, USA

We should encourage this healthy distance between the two nations - let's start by granting less working visas to backpaking Australians!
Rocky, UK

The current constitutional arrangements work wonderfully well. As an Australian, I feel no special attachment to the Queen, but as a pragmatist, I do not want to change something that works so well.
Shane Curran, Australia

As the dawning of a new millennium draws near, the time for change has come. I think Rolfe Harris will make a wonderful Emperor for Australia!
Marie Elizabeth Edmond, Australia

The Queen as Australia's Head of State seems rediculous because of the geographic separation, but clearly it is Australia's choice.
Roger Dunham, Scotland

However, the Queen has done the UK a great service, since otherwise we would probably have President Thatcher! Australia must be careful not to ditch the constitutional monarchy for a less desirable constitutional model. The biggest problem I see in the American model is that the President fills two contradictory roles - as head of state (which is apolitical) and a politician. The new arrangement in Australia must safeguard the highest ideals and aspirations of the Australian people. Perhaps the Eire model is a good example for Australia to work from.
The move to a Republic is a great sign of strength and is a natural progression in the maturing of any democracy. For Australia, it does not diminish the heritage and cultural links with Britain, but more effectively reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of the majority of citizens.
Ted Wilson, Canada

I don't think that we are ready to become a republic but I also don't think that we need the Monarchy forever - it is just not the right time to become a republic in my opinion.
Katrina Hart, Australia

I have voted 'yes' because if that's what the people want then so be it. I am sure the queen would rather not reign over a country thousands of miles away whose population is hostile towards her. Britain gains no benefit from having this particular link with Australia. It is unfortunate that many Australians are using this issue as an excuse for a spot of pommie-bashing. I wonder if they realise the complete apathy most Britons feel towards the subject.
Richard Taylor, UK

I am struck by the irony of calls to get rid of foreign "power" and attain "freedom", when all Australians have to do is agree what to do next, and vote for it. What is actually a simple ceremonial change is being justified by some quite extravagant and borderline dishonest rhetoric. "This is like the American Revolution"? Bull. It's more like what it is: a constitutional amendment.
Jon Livesey, USA

I agree with a number of the pro republican comments made by my fellow Australians who have responded to your question. It's not a case of throwing out the Queen, rather, it's a case of cutting the apron strings, being seen as a grown mature country and being treated as an equal. No disrespect to Her Majesty intended. I still love and respect my mother even though I'm an adult, and have lived a separate life for 20 years.
Lill Roberts, Australia

Becoming a Republic will be the final step in the process of our country becoming a mature member of the world's community.
Kent Howland, Australia

They should compromise - they should get rid of the monarchy, but they should also keep their current flag and stay in the Commonwealth. Also, they should have a Presidency on the Irish or German model, not on the American model.
Richard Pond, UK

As an Australian living in the USA, I find the whole flag/republic debate an insult. I now have the luxury of being on the outside and looking in. While Australia and its economy swirl down the toilet, a small group of loud mouths imagine that a new flag/president will cure Australia's sad situation. No doubt the ring leaders of this vocal group imagine themselves going down in history as Founding Fathers (on some fantastic life long pay out). Ex-Prime Minister Keating used the flag/republic red herring to divert attention from his woeful performance as leader of the nation for years. Unfortunately, the latest crop of johnny come latelies seem to be the media's darlings.
Was it an Aussie or a Pom who coined the phraise "Rearrainging the deck chairs on the Titanic".
Robert Csintalan, Oregon, USA

The strength of the republican movement in Australia seems to me to be less of a sign of national maturity than of national insecurity. Perhaps triggered by the outside interference in Australian politics in the 1970s, or perhaps for other reasons, Australia seems to be looking, a little bit desperately, for a symbol that lets it say that it is its own country. And if republicanism does not sufficiently satisfy this urgent nationalism, what then?
Michael Witbrock, New Zealand

If this is the decision of the majority of the people, then so be it.
John Rigo, USA

Dame Edna for queen!
Robert Kemp, Hong Kong

It would be a tragedy

If Canada can live comfortably as a constitutional monarchy, why not Australia? It seems to me that some Australians' eagerness to ditch the Queen results from a national inferiority complex. I can understand the desire for a new flag, but why should Australia be so eager to sever the symbolic link to the nation which is, after all, its mother country? Finally, I would suggest that any Australian who imagines that a republic and a president would be more flattering to the dignity of the nation should look to Washington, D.C. I'd trade Bill Clinton for Prince Charles in a New York minute.
Tom Gregg, United States of America

Its seems a shame to me, that the people of Australia don't share the same sense of history with the other Commonwealth countries that still support the Queen (and not the Royal Family) as their Head of State. By keeping the Monarch, they are protected by an impartial final authority, than that from any elected or appointed person.
John Hender, Canada

I am British and live in a republic. Perhaps the British system does not seem totally logical to some who measure life in practical terms. But then their logic is usually based on such mundane matters as economics and petty self-interest. When nations are run under such practical terms the result is often corruption and trivial political self-interest. Take a look around the world Australia and count yourselves lucky to have a Queen under whom no other sytem of government ever been matched.
Peter Miles U.S.A.

I think that Australia should not severe ties with the Monarchy. The monarchy is a tradition that has been the principal characteristic of the British Empire, Commonwealth, and Culture. To cut these ties would be a destruction of the tradition that has existed in Australia since its foundation. When the United States separated from the rest of the Empire it lost a great piece of tradition. Australia would be doing the same none the less.
Jonathan Lieberman Fernández, United States

I think that the ties to a "larger whole", as in the Commonwealth, can be a very stablizing influence and can help people view problems and activities in the whole world in a larger context.
Hal Schneikert, USA

It would be a denial of Australia's rich heritage if it left the Commonwealth and her queen.
Michael Larson, United States

I am proud to have my country tied to such a positive and outward looking nation as the Australians, and I think that all members of the commonwealth benefit from The Australians sharing our queen.
Ken Stealey, UK

To remove the monarchy would be unnecessarily divisive and a betrayal of Australia's cultural and political heritage. If it is designed to win acceptance for Australia in Asia then it is particularly ill-conceived: Asians and their governments couldn't give a damm whether Australia is a monarchy or a republic; it's the business and investment potential of the country that counts first and last.
Andrew Pyne, Hong Kong

I think it would be a tragedy for the Australian people if Australia were to give up the monarchy. A constitutional monarchy is the most stable system of government yet devised by man; the Queen is also a vitally important symbol for unity in a world increasingly fraught by divisions.
We in the British Isles have much more culturally in common with Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada than we do with Europe - surely it's time to look again at the way in which we Brits align ourselves to the world?
David Christopher, Dublin, Southern Ireland, British Isles

If it isn't broken don't fix it! The present Westminster system of government needs an overhaul in Australia, but we should maintain the link to the monarchy. We have a Governor General who represents the Queen. I also believe that half of the Australian population would not know who he is anyway. The flag is a big issue here and should be changed to reflect a new world country similar to Canada. There is an underlying bias to drop the monarchy, it is, I believe, inevitable that it will go.
For your interest I'm a British Citizen and resident in Australia since 1981. Regardless of the outcome this is a great place to live.
Nigel Beresford, Australia

A country with so little history and tradition as Australia should not abolish its only link to history.
Michael Scherz, USA

Who needs a Queen?

First, Australia should dispense with the monarchy - then we should follow suit. As Denis Diderot said "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the intestines of the last priest". The quicker we rid ourselves of the epitome of state sponsored inequality the better.
Derek Dunn, United Kingdom

The Queen has no more place to be head of state of Australia as Bill Clinton. Australia need s to build better ties with Asian neighbours and relinquish it's Commonwealth ties once and for all. Otherwise it will continue to go down economically while its neighbours prosper at it's expense.
Michael Cobb, USA

Well, I love Australia, and I think our relationship with the country will be strengthened if they became a republic. It's just outdated post-empire stuffiness - they're 13,000 miles away - what has the Queen got to do with them?
Colin Neal, England

The political status quo is fine but the head of state should be Australian. In practice the Governor General's role in Australia is largely to rubber stamp legislation so the desire for change is not motivated by "Pommie-bashing" lust but simply to internalise the entire Australian political system, no hangovers and only the loopholes Australia deserves! Just make sure it isn't an American-style presidency. Please let's have someone equally as useless as the Governor General.....
James Horne, Australia

A mute point but has anyone considered that the Queen might wish to get rid of Australia ?
Kevin Morgan, United Kingdom

Time for a fair dinkum, true blue Aussie president.
Roger, Australia

Advance Australia the Fair! (Not God Save the Queen)
Mehmet Arda Soyusatic, Turkey

Australia should be allowed its own independance, and not have to be tied to the House of Windsor's rule which is unfavourable to the people of Australia. Give the Australians what they want.
Richard J. Thiele, Great Britain

In reply to Chris Gambon: We don't deserve a Queen either... Nobody does.
Kate Dowling, England

The usefulness of the monarchy is doubtful even for the United Kingdom so the decision for Australia should be simple...
Richard Gibson, United Kingdom

Australia's decision

Surely the Queen should speak up if she'd like to continue as Constitutional Head of State in Australia. Yes, the Aussie's are debating her relevance and role (if any), but what does she think? If she even wants the job, she should say so. She is not above the issue, she's central to it at present, and as a key player, she should be heard. Ultimately, Australians must decide, but shouldn't she present her view?
Bill Simes, Australia

The Queen as Queen of Australia and has never done anything to betray her constitutional responsibilities. Placing the blame on Monarchy is simply not acceptable. The blame rests with 97 years of sloppy legislation [and sloppy spelling too!]. If we have to change, then why not abolish the office of Prime Minister - as the President could do that job..... and while we are moving towards making Politics more Customer Service responsive - have a look at reducing the vast government sector - politicians that is, not the poor people trying to get on with their work!
P Colley, Australia

I think this has become more about so called "pommy bashing" rather than "should Australia remove the monarch". In recent weeks all I heard from Australians is how much more culturally diverse and vibrant Australia is over Britain but I have been living in Glasgow for the last 6 six after leaving Ireland and I believe that Britain is one of the most diverse and vibrant counties in the world ( that's what first attracted me to Britain) and I am now very proud to be able call myself a British citizen. I hope that issue in Australia does not become clouded by the fact that they have a rather distorted view of the UK.
Del Bullock, United Kingdom

Some of these comments are a bit odd. The Australians should do entirely as they please, and furthermore they will. No-one in Britain can obstruct them, or wants to, I think. The cliched demand that "the British should realize they no longer have an empire" is laughable. It's a straw man, an attack on something that doesn't exist. For those who think like this - it is YOU that cling on to "Empire", as a convenient hook on which to hang some good old-fashioned xenophobia. The British gave up on the idea a long time ago.
Ben Broadbent, (English in) US

To the Australians:
Good luck with the debate that you are facing now. We Americans have our way of governing & you must choose the way for yourselves.
Michael G. , USA

I am an ex-Pom and have lived in Australia for 19 years, I have two children and an English wife and take exception to the comment that Australia is taking this opportunity to Pommie-bash. In all the years I have been here I have hardly ever seen or heard any Pommie bashing, and certainly there is no visible sign in the media here of it now that we are moving to a Republic.
I think some ex pats or the English media create the idea of Aussie pommie bashing, it is more of a Myth than a reality.
PS, I believe very strongly that Australia should become a Republic sooner than later.
Stuart North, Australia

The fact that Australia is seeking to be a republic does not mean we think any less of Britain or the monarchy. The vast majority of Australians admire and respect the Queen. However, Australia is a multicultural society, and in a time when reconciliation with Australia's Aboriginal population is of national importance, it is appropriate that we rethink who our head of state is. We are not out to "get rid" of the Queen, we are merely asking for a head of state that will reflect the interests of ALL Australians.
Sarah Nicholas, Australia

I was born in Scotland and moved to Australia in 1965. I have been back to Britain several times in the last few years and I find myself classified as an Australian when I enter the country of my birth. So if you regard me as Australian and not British. I think that Britain has already divorced and annexed Australia. So it is about time we do the same.
B Jackson, Australia

If the vast majority of Australians are in favour of an a republic, then it should realised. In Britain we are looking increasing eagerly across the Channel to Europe (perhaps more so Scotland than England) to strengthen economic and cultural ties with our neighbours. So we can hardly condemn Australia for seeing its future associations involving other Asian countries rather than a distant European island.
S.C., Scotland, UK

It's their country, their future, their choice.
Lisa, UK






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