Hijack The Streets: Should Australia become a republic?
Last week, Joe Hockey announced he would head the push for Australia to become a republic. But this isn’t the first time a bipartisan movement has been spearheaded by members of parliament: In 1996, a little over half of Australia voted ‘no’ in a referendum to separate us from the motherland. So is it finally time for Australia to grow up and leave home?
Carol Cheng, 23, Bachelor of Laws/Criminology and Criminal Justice, UNSW
HJCKD: What do you think will happen to Australia’s legal system if we become a republic?
Carol: The Australian legal system is inherently British. We were a British colony, so our very first laws and the structure of our government come as a result of that relationship. I feel like there would be considerable confusion if Australia were to become a republic, both in terms of the applicability of legislation and the validity of certain government institutions and functions. The very core of our legal framework - the Australian Constitution - is a piece of British legislation. What would be the future of this document should Australia become a republic? Wouldn't becoming a republic imply the severance of all ties to the British system? Therefore, while it could be seen as a workable ideal for Australia, the practicalities of its implementation would call for caution in satisfying the desires of those calling for the change.
Kerrod Gream, 21, Bachelor of Economics, Sydney Uni
HJCKD: How do you think Australia’s political system will change if we become a republic?
Kerrod: It would depend as to whether we moved to an elected head of state, or it remained an appointed head of state. If elected, people would likely want them to have more power, and this would likely lead to more governmental overreach. If appointed, likely not much, but we'd be losing ties with our British heritage as a nation. Overall, there would be little to no benefits for moving to a republic.
Ethan Sais, 21, Bachelor of Arts, UWS
HJCKD: Do you think there will be any benefits of Australia becoming a republic?
Ethan: I think that there are many benefits of Australia becoming a republic, and I think that it’s very important. Although, I don’t believe that certain aspects are as important anymore: From an economic, cultural and environmental standpoint, we are part of a globalised society [from which we] benefit, regardless of whether we are a republic or not. My main concern is more so the role of politic and power, which is mostly connected to the role of Australia's sovereignty as a nation. As we are still a colonial power, we have no true power as a nation in real global matters, [because] we are reliant on the queen as our head of state. I think that this would be a huge benefit for Australia as a nation politically. Although, I [do] have concerns about the form in which the republic may take, most notably the issue of changing the constitution.
Caitlan studies Journalism at the University of Western Sydney and lives for political turmoil and crappy movies.