Will Australia ever become a Republic?

 
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Yes.

Symbols matter.

Would you feel the same if WWII had panned out slightly differently and - all else being equal - our head of state was the Emperor of Japan rather than the Queen of England and the postage stamp on our flag was a swastika rather than the union jack?

And if the symbolism is irrelevant and only the tangible hard currency benefits of change matters, why would we not sell the rights to our national symbols?  Just imagine how much we'd all be better off if a certain US corporation paid the going rate to have a big yellow M in the top left of our flag with, and our GG being the duly anointed representative of our official head of state: Ronald Mac donald.

Symbols matter.

And as the Balmy Army example shows, the appropriateness - or lack there of - of our national symbols isn't lost on anyone, except perhaps die hard Aussie monarchists.
djf01
Keh???

Sponsored advertisement

  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
'xactly.
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
Oh yes they did.

The question was asked whether or not Australia should become a republic, and was simple, and as stated before, the majority said NO.
Newcastle Express

The Constitutional Convention members were 50% appointed by the Howard Government and the balance publicly elected. Of course, it was just coincidental that the appointed members were dominated by monarchists - a cunning action by J howard that could have been copied from Zimbabwe! The referendum was doomed to fail.

In any case, how anybody can still support inherited status on the basis of birth is beyond me.
Despite what the monarchists tell everyone, Australia is no longer part of the UK's in group. I worked there for a couple of years in the 80s and felt that the so-called special relationship was gone, apart from test matches. Their affinity is to Europe, not isolated Australia. It's interesting to note that at Heathrow Airport, there are three queues:

1. UK passport holders
2. EC passport holders
3. The Rest

Guess which queue Her Majesty's loyal Australian subjects get put through?
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
The Constitutional Convention members were 50% appointed by the Howard Government and the balance publicly elected. Of course, it was just coincidental that the appointed members were dominated by monarchists - a cunning action by J howard that could have been copied from Zimbabwe! The referendum was doomed to fail.

In any case, how anybody can still support inherited status on the basis of birth is beyond me.
Despite what the monarchists tell everyone, Australia is no longer part of the UK's in group. I worked there for a couple of years in the 80s and felt that the so-called special relationship was gone, apart from test matches. Their affinity is to Europe, not isolated Australia. It's interesting to note that at Heathrow Airport, there are three queues:

1. UK passport holders
2. EC passport holders
3. The Rest

Guess which queue Her Majesty's loyal Australian subjects get put through?
gippslander
Could be worse, in the USA we are classified as Aliens!
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

In any case, how anybody can still support inherited status on the basis of birth is beyond me.
gippslander
Yeah... well, to some degree inherited status happens to everyone who is born into a wealthy family, whether they have titles or not. I don't actively support inherited royalty status but nor do I have much of an urge to be rid of it because it won't make any difference to me nor will it address the broader economic equality issues in society despite claims that repairing such inequality has to start symbolically with the royal family. At least the royal family doesn't really cost us money. British taxpayers have to foot their bill, not us.


Despite what the monarchists tell everyone, Australia is no longer part of the UK's in group. I worked there for a couple of years in the 80s and felt that the so-called special relationship was gone, apart from test matches. Their affinity is to Europe, not isolated Australia.
It's interesting to note that at Heathrow Airport, there are three queues:
1. UK passport holders
2. EC passport holders
3. The Rest
Guess which queue Her Majesty's loyal Australian subjects get put through?
gippslander

Guess which queue is often the shortest at Heathrow? "The Rest"... That's been my experience, anyway. We often get through quicker than the British and Europeans because there are more of them. And as Commonwealth citizens we still have rights once we are in the UK that are over and above "the rest". It doesn't mean much, but nor does your passport "grievance" when it comes to making an informed decision about the benefits of an Australian republic. Such grievances are almost childish. At least they would be, if they were real. They're just part of the republican rhetoric.


Oh well. Since there are no compelling, real world result-oriented republican arguments, looks like it's time to get back to discussing which model to run with and forget the 50% or more of Australians (or whatever it is at the moment) who would probably vote no.

Give me a form of direct democracy and I might start listening more carefully. But that won't happen. All we will be "allowed" is an immeasurable symbolic act based on intangible benefits and vacuuous rhetoric; a waste of time and money.


And they are now looking for new colonies to treat the locals and immigrant workers like crap. Come to Dubai, most Westerns Expats will tell you many of the poms are a bunch of upstarts. They seem to loose their british driving skills and copy the locals if not more in their arrogance. They treat the SE Asian labour like smeg, are the lowest tippers to taxi drivers and seem mostly hell bent of having this upstart/show piece lifestyle. I think this must be like Adelaide in the early days, few working class just all top end. Even in the shops you don't tend to hear the typcial BRitish acsent, something more like from Royal side.
A new colony? British people in Dubai is nothing new. Didn't you know it was part of a British protectorate from 1820 to 1971? And of course the terrible conditions many workers endure in the modern UAE are the fault of the British, right? Even though the UAE has long had its own government that still refuses to legalise unions and so on. Enough silliness, please.
MILW

MILW we probably shouldn't even bother dignifying this shameless Anglophobia with a response. Many Aussies bash the Poms like no other nationality, because for some reason it is acceptable to do so in this country. They know if they spoke of other nationalities in the same way they'd probably be labelled racist or discriminatory. Good points though. I've spent time in Dubai and have seen the way poor people live. It's not the best and as usual, life sucks if you are poor. Big time. The UAE is an autocracy. It's not a free country. Even if some Poms are no good (and there are good and bad people everywhere), somehow I doubt the native Arabs are much better. In fact, I've even heard them joking about the way they treat the Asian workers, referring to them as slaves. There are a lot of Poms there, there are bad drivers there, but I usually can't tell what nationality a driver is... As for British expats in Dubai and their materialism (upstart/showpiece lifestyle), I know plenty of very materialistic Asians. Tipping? Not really part of their culture, same as Australia. Big deal...


The exact quantifiable damage this does to Australia in terms of our international trade , diplomatic and economic activities is unknowable. But it most definitely is real.
djf01

The economic/diplomatic case for a republic sucks.

Firstly, three of our major Asian trading partners (Japan, Malaysia and Thailand) are constitutional monarchies. Sure, their royal families are local residents, but the Japanese, Malaysian and Thai people still have to suffer the pain of elevating their royal families above all others. Japan is a highly advanced society with exceptionally good wealth distribution stats. Since some of the most advanced and fairest societies are constitutional monarchies (e.g. Australia, Japan, Norway, The Netherlands, Spain), it's clear that system does not mean inequality in a practical, real world sense. Socialist/welfare programmes can even flourish under it.

Secondly, many countries we engage in trade with have or have had serious human rights issues and real social and economic problems, so their people are all too familiar with them. I mean real problems, not the symbolic stuff we have to put up with here under our constitutional monarchy. If people from those countries poked fun at our system of government, they could easily be told to have a look at their own mess.

Third, there are certain major players who will trade with virtually anyone. We all know who they are. It's fairly safe to say that the Queen will not deter them.

Alarm bells are still not ringing. Nice try.
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
Yes.

Symbols matter.

Would you feel the same if WWII had panned out slightly differently and - all else being equal - our head of state was the Emperor of Japan rather than the Queen of England and the postage stamp on our flag was a swastika rather than the union jack?
djf01

Having the Queen as head of state damages our economy and foreign relations.

Why?

Because it does. I can't show you how, but it just does.

You got me! I'm definitely going to vote yes now! lol...

Symbols matter.

Why?

Because they do.

Actually, you're right - look at the new NSW Transport hop logo, new uniforms and so on. Superficial changes made using our hard earned cash, designed to help cover up the fact that much of what is beneath is either no different or worse than before. Sounds a lot like the republic. So symbols do matter after all... but in the case of NSW Transport, they haven't worked. They won't work with the republic, either.

Are we seriously comparing the union jack to the swastika?
I don't think so... The changes being proposed - or that I think are being proposed - are nothing like the difference between the swastika and union jack, are they? It's a false comparison using extremes, essentially vacuuous rhetoric, as waxyzebu put it. I don't think many Australians would be happy to see a swastika or Japanese sun on their flag. There is a reason why I think a lot of people aren't too concerned by the presence of the union jack on the Australian flag, or in many cases actually like it being there.

So, I'll grant to you that symbols do matter in general, but in this specific case it's a matter of change for tangible improvement to society because it requires our resources to bring about. The question is, if the benefits are essentially intangible and can't be clearly defined or measured, are the superficial and symbolic changes that we can see worth the trouble? I don't think so. We can make inconsequential changes and waste our money and resources as much as we like (and we do), but I wouldn't consider it prudent given the global economic climate, not when we are actually going to be given a say as opposed to letting self-interested politicians decide for us. The lack of credible republican arguments really makes this simple for me. I'm still all ears, of course. Keep them coming.
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
Yeah... well, to some degree inherited status happens to everyone who is born into a wealthy family, whether they have titles or not. I don't actively support it but nor do I have much of an urge to be rid of it because it won't make any difference to me nor will it address the broader economic equality issues in society despite claims that repairing such inequality has to start symbolically with the royal family. At least the royal family doesn't really cost us money. British taxpayers have to foot their bill, not us.



Guess which queue is often the shortest at Heathrow? "The Rest"... That's been my experience, anyway. We often get through quicker than the British and Europeans because there are more of them. And as Commonwealth citizens we still have rights once we are in the UK that are over and above "the rest". It doesn't mean much, but nor does your passport "grievance" when it comes to making an informed decision about the benefits of an Australian republic. Such grievances are almost childish. At least they would be, if they were real. They're just part of the republican rhetoric.


Oh well. Since there are no compelling, real world result-oriented republican arguments, looks like it's time to get back to discussing which model to run with and forget the 50% or more of Australians (or whatever it is at the moment) who would probably vote no.

Give me a form of direct democracy and I might start listening more carefully. But that won't happen. All we will be "allowed" is an immeasurable symbolic act based on intangible benefits and vacuuous rhetoric; a waste of time and money.
"waxyzebu"


You're quite right in that transition to a republic is not exactly in Australia's 'must do' list.
What I was trying to say was that the British don't regard Australians any more as particularly close. We were very part of their view of the world until the 1950s, but they have moved on. The overwhelming majority of Australians couldn't even explain the historical background of the monarchy - all they know is that William and Kate are a cute couple.
All I know is that a baby born in Australia today will never be good enough to be our head of state.
It is indeed a pity that the 1998 convention was such a fractious affair that the potential models got bogged down. In practical terms, a republican model could be virtually identical to a monarch. Instead of nominating a Governor-General to the Queen, the Government of the day would nominate a suitably eminent person to the Parliament. This method has generally worked very well in terms of the GG, with only Sir John Kerr's appointment in 1974 being in any way troublesome in terms of public opinion.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

This method has generally worked very well in terms of the GG, with only Sir John Kerr's appointment in 1974 being in any way troublesome in terms of public opinion.
gippslander

What about Hollingsworth?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE

Guess which queue is often the shortest at Heathrow? "The Rest"... That's been my experience, anyway. We often get through quicker than the British and Europeans because there are more of them. And as Commonwealth citizens we still have rights once we are in the UK that are over and above "the rest". It doesn't mean much, but nor does your passport "grievance" when it comes to making an informed decision about the benefits of an Australian republic. Such grievances are almost childish. At least they would be, if they were real. They're just part of the republican rhetoric.
waxyzebu

My Aussie passport gets me alot of benefits in the UAE too!
- Visa on arrival
- No bond required for friends and relatives to come a visit
- I can drive after showing my Aussie licence without a test
- My education qualifications need to be certified but are not challenged
- I get $15,000 a year more than my more expeirenced India peers in the same field
- I can drive into alomost any communty and rarely get challenged by the guard (skin colour more than passport)
- As a tennent, my passport interests some landlords over others applying for same property and rents are less likely to be increased
- As a tourist I can stay here indefinitly by just driving in Oman once a month
- etc

Not sure if this is more or less rights or how they compare in significance with UK, but what ever we have with the UK, BFD! Its probably more to do with the fact we come from a country who's people are less likely to cause a problem (and leave) in the UK compared to say Indian and Pakistani.

The issue with the current Head of State
1) He/she is not an Aussie and can never be. For many of us this is an insult.
2) He/she is not elected, we are a democracy (Ifeel more ways than US where the Presidents senior people are choosen, in Australia they are usually elected to paraliment), why is the HoS excluded from our electrol processes. What happens if we get some irrelevent fool as Monach. We may not like our PM past or presence, but we can vote them out and if you still vote and it doesn't happen you are in a minority and need to suck it up.
3) The historic links to the UK are broken/cut/finished
4) More Aussies each year are not descendents of the UK
5) More Aussie each year who are descendents of the UK have mixed blood lines
6) The Current status quo is nothing more than a puppet arrangement which works because we are realatively stable politically including the famous dismissal. There is no real or effective power, no real or effective input to Australian govt and how it runs, works or outcomes. The system is actually a farce and pretence.
7) The current system if anything gives the PM more power as GG is nominated by the PM and only post an election until the GG is actually replaced by the new PM is there any real independence.
8 ) If Australia was to ever really run into political problems far worse than Whitlam, the Queen's puppet arrangement would be pushed aside and ignored. What would Buckingham Palace do, nothing and leave us sort out our own issues. They would stand back and gaggle on mixed irellevents statements. Would the miltary side with the Queen, GG or the PM. DOn't know with last two, but it won't be first.
9) The UK has moved on even if some of us haven't, I have spoken to manny a pom who questions why we still have the HoS as the Queen. The issue question on who should open the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the actual outcome is a almost case closed on why the Queen is irrelevent as HoS.

If the above ain't an example of whats broken I don't know what is.

Regards
Shane
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
While I would probably vote for this ahead of the status quo at a referendum, I think many of the criticisms of the directly elected head of state are valid.  The main one being the head of state ends up being a politician.  A politician needs to campaign, and thus accept donations one way or another, and by the time they take office are already compromised (for want of a better word).  The most likely outcome is the Pres will be a major political party nominee, and they will exercise their role as head of state in a manner that best suits the advantage of their political party.  

With a popular mandate, the Pres could do anything if installed with the current GG's powers: appoint their choice of PM or ministers even if they didn't have the support of parliament for example.  Having a Pres who's campaigned on a political platform to exercise the veto power and elected in a different cycle to the other houses would see us have a system not unlike the American's, where executive government's function are spread over three institutions (with potentially differing electoral cycles), reducing both their power to implement policy and reduce their accountability for their failings.

But I think the biggest issue with the head of state being elected is the sort of high quality eminent people who have been our GGs in the past simply wouldn't run.

That's not top say it can't be done, but it really needs the Pres' powers to be codified and curtailed for our system of government not to be radically altered, probably for the worse.

My preference is to simply have the constitution reflect that the GG *is* the head of state, not their representative.  In practice, this is the case already.  The Monarch hasn't made a single decision in the affairs of Australia since before Isaac Isaacs was appointed GG.  The same certainly can't be said of the GG.  

Personally I think a bit more clarity in the constitution explicitly defining the supremacy of parliament would not do the constitution any harm, nor would beefing up the reserve powers: obligating the head of state to dissolve an unworkable parliament.  With this stuff actually in the constitution, it would open the way for the High Court to rule on the appropriateness of the actions of either the government or the GG in constitutional matters, and would also allow anyone to request (via the High Court) the dissolution of parliament and fresh elections in extreme (ie unconstitutional) circumstances.  That I think would be better than the potential "who sacked who first" race should another 1975 type event occur.
djf01
Well put thoughts!

The pilot of the Qantas A380 that had the engine blow up leaving Singapore was the GG representative for the Airforce at the time and with the GG the day of the "dismissal". He made some interesting comments in his book on the A380 incident reagrding the sequence of events and yes it was almost a case of a race between the two.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

The issue with the current Head of State
1) He/she is not an Aussie and can never be. For many of us this is an insult.
2) He/she is not elected, we are a democracy (Ifeel more ways than US where the Presidents senior people are choosen, in Australia they are usually elected to paraliment), why is the HoS excluded from our electrol processes. What happens if we get some irrelevent fool as Monach. We may not like our PM past or presence, but we can vote them out and if you still vote and it doesn't happen you are in a minority and need to suck it up.
3) The historic links to the UK are broken/cut/finished
4) More Aussies each year are not descendents of the UK
5) More Aussie each year who are descendents of the UK have mixed blood lines
6) The Current status quo is nothing more than a puppet arrangement which works because we are realatively stable politically including the famous dismissal. There is no real or effective power, no real or effective input to Australian govt and how it runs, works or outcomes. The system is actually a farce and pretence.
7) The current system if anything gives the PM more power as GG is nominated by the PM and only post an election until the GG is actually replaced by the new PM is there any real independence.
8 ) If Australia was to ever really run into political problems far worse than Whitlam, the Queen's puppet arrangement would be pushed aside and ignored. What would Buckingham Palace do, nothing and leave us sort out our own issues. They would stand back and gaggle on mixed irellevents statements. Would the miltary side with the Queen, GG or the PM. DOn't know with last two, but it won't be first.
9) The UK has moved on even if some of us haven't, I have spoken to manny a pom who questions why we still have the HoS as the Queen. The issue question on who should open the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the actual outcome is a almost case closed on why the Queen is irrelevent as HoS.

If the above ain't an example of whats broken I don't know what is.

Regards
Shane
RTT_Rules


That is not a list of what's broke. That's a list of things that bother some people, while others couldn't care less, with an interesting analysis and hypothetical scenario thrown in. More creating problems then offering solutions.

The impression I get from speaking to ordinary folk is that often they just don't trust politicians enough to vote yes (nor do they see/agree with the huge problems being broadcast at them) when they are given the opportunity for input, and why should they? If more common proposals for change, say asset sales and privatisation were put to referendum I can imagine most of them would fail and this country would be a very different place (some would say worse, but if that's what the people want...). That means the case for a republic has to be very strong, but it isn't.

It's interesting that while many Australians agree with some or all of your points - consider the monarch to be irrelevant, are not of British descent etc, these factors are not enough to deliver a yes vote. If we the people felt so passionate about these issues, maybe more of us would have voted yes in 1999 to get rid of the Queen. Even if the model on offer was not our favourite, we still would have eliminated a foreign head of state and proudly put an Aussie in office. But we didn't. Complaints of the wrong model being offered will never end, but it's clear that in addition to the model, people are still looking for tangible benefits and they just can't see many on offer. Even the directly elected president model scared some people.

Many Poms do believe Australia should become a republic. There are also plenty of British republicans. It's interesting to see their campaigns. However, that's not much of a reason for us to do it here and now. I would have thought independently minded republicans wouldn't really care what anyone else thought, especially the Poms.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
If we the people felt so passionate about these issues, maybe more of us would have voted yes in 1999 to get rid of the Queen. Even if the model on offer was not our favourite, we still would have eliminated a foreign head of state and proudly put an Aussie in office. But we didn't. Complaints of the wrong model being offered will never end, but it's clear that in addition to the model, people are still looking for tangible benefits and they just can't see many on offer. Even the directly elected president model scared some people.
waxyzebu
"people are still looking for tangible benefits and they just can't see many on offer". I don't think so, for the simple reason that you are giving the "people' more credit for intelligence than they deserve. I see that reason as yours, not that of the Australian people.

The fact is voters out there are highly resistant to change. Referendums are notoriously difficult to get passed for this reason alone.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

"people are still looking for tangible benefits and they just can't see many on offer". I don't think so, for the simple reason that you are giving the "people' more credit for intelligence than they deserve. I see that reason as yours, not that of the Australian people.

The fact is voters out there are highly resistant to change. Referendums are notoriously difficult to get passed for this reason alone.
TheBlacksmith

Obviously I've only discussed the issue with a small sample of the Australian population, read comments etc. A lot of the people I spoke to and whose thoughts I read asked questions like "how would this make it better?" and "what idiot will we put in the job?" It's hardly wrong or a sign of stupidity for them to do so.

I thought I touched on the voters' resistance to change in the previous paragraph, but you're right, a lot of people are conservative and resistant to change as our history of referenda shows. We've probably all heard comments like "I don't want Australia to be like America" and I guess this a sign of that inherent resistance. Whether Australia really would be like America as a republic is probably irrelevant to those people. They aren't going to vote yes. Does that mean they lack intelligence? Not necessarily. For many, they just aren't interested in republican rhetoric.

You may be right that the people are not well informed on every issue and not eveyone is a genius, but I doubt they'd appreciate having their intelligence questioned. As Kirby wrote, alienation damaged the republican cause.
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
"people are still looking for tangible benefits and they just can't see many on offer". I don't think so, for the simple reason that you are giving the "people' more credit for intelligence than they deserve. I see that reason as yours, not that of the Australian people.

The fact is voters out there are highly resistant to change. Referendums are notoriously difficult to get passed for this reason alone.
TheBlacksmith

Voters are highly resistant to change.

Why?

Surely, there must be a reason why they are resistant to change aside from pure contrariness.

It has been suggested that some people might be concerned about the tangible benefits arising from the proposed changes - I strongly agree. In response, you said that was crediting the people with more intelligence than they deserve.

Hmmmm.... I see what you are getting at: republicans are smart, no-voters are dumb. The public would vote "yes" if only they could see the light as we, the illuminated republican intellectuals can. Alas, they are too stupid.

You sure have a winning platform there! Even if that is not what you meant, it is the message some republicans have sent their opponents. Just because someone - or thousands of people - disagree with you does not mean they are unintelligent simple folk incapable of exercising their vote effectively. Arrogance and self-righteousness are not good ways of persuading people or winning votes. In fact, it is quite normal in Australia to detest such attributes, just as it is quite normal not to trust politicians. Fooled by political rhetoric and false promises in the past, it is no wonder many people consider the status quo safer than changes.

No doubt, there is some merit to the simple explanation of resistance to change, but it is also something of a cop out - an easy way out for republicans trying to explain away the loss of the referendum without admitting the shortcomings of their own ideas. However, not everyone will say "no" forever. Some can be won over on just about anything with a good argument, including me.

These people are highly resistant to change in the absence of good reasons why the change should occur, especially given their distrust of the political elite and oligarchical celebrities who promised all that is currently good about Australia would remain so and threw money at the campaign. They are not resistant for the sake of laziness, stupidity or stubbornness. If they can't see the benefits of a change, it is up to the republicans to show them using plain language. Otherwise, by voting "no", the "ignorant" public are making the only sensible choice. Surely, with their combined intelligence, republicans should be able to enlighten the public to produce a "yes" vote. If not, it could be an indication that the benefits simply do not exist or are much shallower than the hype would suggest, and their rhetorical skills are lacking, but for the latter I am thankful.


It has been widely asserted that some republicans voted "no" because they wanted a directly-elected president. Could it not be said that those people were concerned about tangibles? They believed, rightly or wrongly, that the tangible benefits of a directly-elected presidential model trumped those of the model on offer, and perhaps also that the benefits of the model on offer were not worth the cost of the change. Either way, they voted "no".


We've probably all heard comments like "I don't want Australia to be like America" and I guess this a sign of that inherent resistance. Whether Australia really would be like America as a republic is probably irrelevant to those people. They aren't going to vote yes.
waxyzebu
There is probably some merit in not wanting Australia to be like America. Some presidential models could have that effect. I would not support them.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
You sure have a winning platform there! Even if that is not what you meant, it is the message some republicans have sent their opponents. Just because someone - or thousands of people - disagree with you does not mean they are unintelligent simple folk incapable of exercising their vote effectively.
MILW
It is pretty much what I intended to say. A lot of voters out there ARE simple folk, and rely heavily on others to recommend a course of action for them to vote for. It has nothing to do with whether they disagree with me or not. You only have to look at the large numbers of people who are persuaded into voting for some of the more famous wacko parties and political representatives in the past to realise this.

And in case you want to believe I am elitist or denigrating the Australian voter in general, no, I am not. I am simply voicing what everyone knows, and that is the electorate is not necessarily composed of clever rational people who put a lot of effort into deciding where their vote will go.

Nor am I trying to influence their vote either. My position on a republic is that I believe our monarchist ties have served their purpose and it is time to move on, and reject those who have long since abandoned us. Everyone else is entitled to their position.
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
It is pretty much what I intended to say. A lot of voters out there ARE simple folk, and rely heavily on others to recommend a course of action for them to vote for. It has nothing to do with whether they disagree with me or not. You only have to look at the large numbers of people who are persuaded into voting for some of the more famous wacko parties and political representatives in the past to realise this.

And in case you want to believe I am elitist or denigrating the Australian voter in general, no, I am not. I am simply voicing what everyone knows, and that is the electorate is not necessarily composed of clever rational people who put a lot of effort into deciding where their vote will go.

Nor am I trying to influence their vote either. My position on a republic is that I believe our monarchist ties have served their purpose and it is time to move on, and reject those who have long since abandoned us. Everyone else is entitled to their position.
TheBlacksmith

If it is true that many people have been conditioned to allow others to do their political and economic thinking for them, surely this should make it easier for the republican movement to persuade the "braindead" public using typical propagandist methods with shallow, sophistic arguments in plain language that they can understand. What is clear is that there is no strong grass roots drive for a republic; the latent support for change in the community outside propaganda drives is not enough for success without some "brainwashing". Enter the elite.

You may not be elitist, but judging from various easily found articles and readers' comments there is a perception among some Australians that the main republican movement is elitist, tangibles do matter, and while support is there at a general level, it is very cautious - so cautious that if a second referendum was held at the wrong time, it could easily fail by a much bigger margin than in 1999. Even Julia Gillard said so, if her elitist word is worth anything.

I look forward to seeing Australia as a democratic republic. Directly democratic, as opposed to the representative system that allows elites to make major decisions without our input - what they like to call "tough decisions" when they know the people hate them. Anything less than that is not worth it. However, that would be difficult to implement, require an informed, motivated populace and run against the trend of declining democracy and freedom throughout the Western world. In any case, we cannot even secure a "yes" vote for that minimalist bourgeois republic, so the chances of getting enough people to band together in a popular democratic revolution are virtually nil at this time. Maybe later, but not now - people are focused on other things. There is no reason to believe the officially sanctioned republic model would serve as the first step of a popular democratic revival, anyway. More likely, it would perpetuate the myth that we have a strong democracy - as waxyzebu said, a waste of time and money.

There has been some discussion of direct democratic models, but they never get much mainstream (elite) republican support or media coverage. I get the impression we are not even supposed to be thinking about direct democracy, otherwise its advocates would get more airtime. Direct democracy would threaten the power of the present political and economic elite, the same people who know they would be able to control the presidency (and entire government) of their republic models. Therefore, it would not be allowed, necessitating revolution. Despite the built-in inequality of our constitutional monarchy, its ideological, symbolic and relevancy problems, there is also something decidedly repulsive about handing more power to the local bourgeoisie, who might publicly champion democracy but in reality form part of a very undemocratic global economic system, the moral virtues of which are questionable, to say the least. The local wealthy are arguably more a part of that modern global system than the royals, who come from an undemocratic, pre-industrial, feudal era in which average folk (poor people) knew they were not equal, had no say except through violent uprising, and were not persuaded into giving their vote to one group of ostensibly benevolent elites over another by multi-million dollar campaigns as they are now (often acting against their own interest); they just did what they had to do to survive. That is not an endorsement of feudalism, but an observation that despite radical technological and socioeconomic developments, modern democratic industrial societies are not altogether different from the social orders that preceded them; regression has taken place, particularly in the last few decades. These problems will not be rectified by a bourgeois republic, nor are they intended to be. Class identities might have become blurred and/or hidden to make us all seem equal, and the local bourgeoisie might be Australian citizens, but they still do not share my political and economic interests, making it hard for me to identify with them and support what I see as their cause. This is the perception of elitism and it is not restricted to me. Class relations are not listed as a factor for everyone, but many can still see that the republic is not really for their benefit.

So, for practical purposes it seems likely my vote will remain in the negative, despite there being some republic models I would support. It is one thing to support the general idea of a republic, but an entirely different thing to actually vote "yes".
  Electric C Junior Train Controller

Location: The Shed - land of junk, smoke and wonder
All good arguments, but as a monarchist myself I like the idea of a royal head of state. But that's where it ends I think we should have a "royal family" of our own, nutty i know. My idea is that we have a hunt for the "royalist family", by blood not attitude, and if suitable (sorry no boagns) they replace the GG! I have convinced several of my mates of this, from both sides of the debate, everyone's happy we are a republic with our own king/queen! The only person who has a problem is one of my lady friends who thinks that being born into the roll is unfair, but hey cant please everyone.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE

A new colony? British people in Dubai is nothing new. Didn't you know it was part of a British protectorate from 1820 to 1971? And of course the terrible conditions many workers endure in the modern UAE are the fault of the British, right? Even though the UAE has long had its own government that still refuses to legalise unions and so on. Enough silliness, please.
MILW
Mmm, a little knowledge is a danagerous thing in this case.

- In the protectorate days there was a smeg of poms here (like everyone else) compared to today. The Brits also ran many other now countries, but are no longer a significant portion of the population, unlike Dubai where they the far majority of western expat and I have yet to meet more than one actually born here, they are all migrants, mostly recent.

- The bad working conditions that the sub-continent labours work under are well known, however they have been improving since the country was formed 42 years ago (tomorrow) and nothing to do with my original statement you have responded to so really what is your point? However as far as westerners are concerned and indeed the sub-cont themselves, the Brits here by and large sustain the Colonalists attitude in their on going treatment of the sub-conts including poor tipping of taxi drivers and others, the way they talk and treat them and often providing the lowest employment conditions by western companies.

- As I mentioned above, conditions are improving, slowly. Some companies lead, many follow kicking screaming but things like Youtube and world wide public humiliation help and such as an Australian company which is one of few I have seen move the workers in A/C buses. While pays are still lacking, conditions are generally improving and within 2 years all workers will have compulsory health insurance. Lack of unionism is not an issue. In the 19th century you needed a union, these days how to treat people like humans is a well know formula. The locals which have taken to the Colonal class structure quite well and placed themselves on the top. Also remember when there is yelling at workers and unsafe pratcices to be done, its often the sub-cont management on their own kind who are usually the worst.

Silliness was never there, only in your reply. My statement was the Brits still today in developing countries often behave like Colonalists. How the native people treat others is completely irrelevent.
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
Mmm, a little knowledge is a danagerous thing in this case.

- In the protectorate days there was a smeg of poms here (like everyone else) compared to today. The Brits also ran many other now countries, but are no longer a significant portion of the population, unlike Dubai where they the far majority of western expat and I have yet to meet more than one actually born here, they are all migrants, mostly recent.

- As I mentioned above, conditions are improving, slowly. Some companies lead, many follow kicking screaming but things like Youtube and world wide public humiliation help and such as an Australian company which is one of few I have seen move the workers in A/C buses. While pays are still lacking, conditions are generally improving and within 2 years all workers will have compulsory health insurance. Lack of unionism is not an issue. In the 19th century you needed a union, these days how to treat people like humans is a well know formula. The locals which have taken to the Colonal class structure quite well and placed themselves on the top. Also remember when there is yelling at workers and unsafe pratcices to be done, its often the sub-cont management on their own kind who are usually the worst.

Silliness was never there, only in your reply. My statement was the Brits still today in developing countries often behave like Colonalists. How the native people treat others is completely irrelevent.
RTT_Rules
Lack of unionism in the UAE is not an issue?

Right.

Well, a quick search of news articles suggests that many workers who are denied the right to form trade unions feel differently. These are the workers who have to put up and shut up or face deportation.


In the nineteenth century we needed unions. Many people still feel they are needed today. Despite your reassurance that how to treat humans is a well known formula, there is evidence it is a formula that some bosses around the world would prefer to ignore. Business corporations are amoral, psychopathic, profit-generating institutions that tend not to do or allow anything that will eat into profits, if they can get away with it. That is where industrial relations law comes in (and unions). There are some who go well beyond the minimum legal requirements specifically because they believe keeping workers happy has a positive effect on productivity, others do it due to market conditions (to attract good people), but many do not act as though they see it that way at all. Where the supply of labour is plentiful, it is an employer's market and they are more likely to fall into the unfortunate third category. Even if a hundred or more workers walked out, they could be replaced with ease, which is not a good environment for advancing conditions. I feel sorry for the victims of that environment.


- The bad working conditions that the sub-continent labours work under are well known, however they have been improving since the country was formed 42 years ago (tomorrow) and nothing to do with my original statement you have responded to so really what is your point? However as far as westerners are concerned and indeed the sub-cont themselves, the Brits here by and large sustain the Colonalists attitude in their on going treatment of the sub-conts including poor tipping of taxi drivers and others, the way they talk and treat them and often providing the lowest employment conditions by western companies
RTT_Rules

My whole point was to ask you what your point was, when the question of an Australian republic was somehow linked to what British expats are doing in the UAE. An interesting approach, but not one in which I have ever seen an official republican movement engage, for the simple reason that it is easy to see it as a desperate attempt to bolster a weak argument.




Silliness was never there, only in your reply. My statement was the Brits still today in developing countries often behave like Colonalists. How the native people treat others is completely irrelevent.
RTT_Rules

How the native Arabs treat foreigners in the UAE is completely irrelevant?
The UAE makes extensive use of foreign labour and expertise in developing their country. They are in charge of the nation's industrial relations laws and have a say in what employers can and cannot do to their employees, if they so choose. If there are poor workplace practices, the UAE has to accept some responsibility even if the employers concerned are foreign corporations. They are beneficiaries of the work carried out by the labourers. Anyway, it is good to hear that things are slowly improving, yet I somehow doubt that is due to the kindness of the bosses' hearts. As you mentioned, internet exposés such as

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMh-vlQwrmU, and clear signs of unrest and a desire to form unions in the ranks (along with yet to be fulfilled promises from the government) are major factors. It is hard not to believe that the UAE government is also supportive of the atrocious situation and only improving things because they have been exposed.

I would be interested to see evidence that the British are demonstrably worse than others when they run businesses in developing countries. Generally, I see corporations trying to get away with whatever they can, wherever they are and no matter who runs them, as you also mentioned they often have to be dragged, kicking and screaming to make any improvements. That is a problem with the global economic system rather than elements of a colonial attitude that may live on in the hearts and minds of some British expats.

None of this ties in with Australia becoming a republic.
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
If you really want a republic, then you need another referendum. The best way to organise one is to enter politics.

Now you know what to do. Sick 'em, Rex. Smile
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

None of this ties in with Australia becoming a republic.
MILW
Oh yes it does. It's called demonisation - demonisation of the British as a substitute for a real case for an Australian republic. It wasn't just a random addition to the thread. I already called it shameless Anglophobia. And the imperial/colonial references are still going...

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."



I would be interested to see evidence that the British are demonstrably worse than other nationalities when they run businesses in developing countries.
MILW
Good luck finding any. They're all playing the same game. If the Brits weren't doing it, someone else just as ruthless and greedy would be. The same goes for the British Empire which keeps coming up. Doesn't make it right, but that's the system and we all know it.


Lack of unionism is not an issue.
RTT_Rules
Of course not. Trade unions are an evil British invention anyway. Twisted Evil

But hang on! If some of the worst bosses are British, what better to counter them than a bit of British working class union culture? Oh, that's right... they'd be arrested and kicked out of the country.


If you really want a republic, then you need another referendum. The best way to organise one is to enter politics.
Grantham
Yeah, like the rest of the elitist republicans lol... but don't do it too soon or you'll get a bigger no than last time.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Would you feel the same if WWII had panned out slightly differently and - all else being equal - our head of state was the Emperor of Japan rather than the Queen of England.
djf01

Given Japanese culture generally seems better than English culture....
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
Given Japanese culture generally seems better than English culture....
speedemon08
I wouldn't say that at the local RSL, mate. I think there are good and bad parts of both cultures, but making sweeping generalisations is not the path to accuracy!

M
  PaulAustin Locomotive Fireman

The constitution allows multiple referenda on different topics to be asked at a referendum, it does not allow multiple questions on the same topic.  The constitution referendum process only allows questions about specific text to be added (or deleted) from the text of the constution, it does not allow debate questions on what the form of that change should be.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: RTT_Rules, speedemon08

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.