The Australian republic referendum

A while ago, Australia was poised to make a decision as to whether we become a totally independent republic, or remain under the authority of a foreign country (Britain).

The change, basically put, means the Queen is replaced by an Australian national, with similar roles to play in handling government indecisions.  Very little else will change (apart from some “Royal” named organisations, who don't have to change their names) that will be noticeable, as the Queen really doesn't currently have much of a role in this country.  The parliament will still work (an oxymoron, I know) in the same way.

Personally, I don't beleive that we should be under the control of a foreigner, and seeing as our country is populated by people from a diverse background, it's hardly appropriate to single out one country (i.e. the UK) as being more suitable than anywhere else.  In fact, for some people's origins, the UK could be considered very unsuitable, no more than I'd guess any Briton would relish the idea of their Queen being replaced by the USA president, nor their country overseen by the UN.

Unfortunately I don't see people voting to change.  Historically we have usually voted “no” in referendums, when there hasn't been a very obvious advantage in voting “yes.”  By and large, we don't trust the government's harebrained schemes (for them to actually get it right, or have some ulterior motive), and we're not keen to give them the chance to get away with them either.

So far, the politicians have proved that they aren't acting in the general population's interest.  Various polls have all said that we wanted to choose the head of state, and not have the parliament choose one of “their own”, though that is what they have decided is going to be the way to do it (them deciding).  Though upon reflection, it's probably quite unimportant; as no matter who's in charge, they all seem to screw up the how our country works.

The current method suggested for how the head of state will be chosen, is a two thirds majority of parliament deciding for us (so it's another “jobs for the boys” corruption to begin with), assuming that between now and then, they don't decide it's unworkable, and come up with another scheme that suits them even better.

Other polls have been unpersuasive as to whether the population wants to change the current system from a monarchy to a republic, despite the monarchists insisting that it's the media that's telling everyone that we want to become a republic (making, not telling the news), nor the republicans pointing out it's a small, but very vocal faction, that wants to keep the queen.  The general public seems to be ignoring the whole bunfight, until we actually have to do something about it.

Through the people that I've talked with, I've come across these responses:

We shouldn't become a republic, because the government is doing it the wrong way.

We should be a republic, but they won't do it right, so I'll vote against it.

Great ones they are, because we can't get it right, we won't ever attempt it.  It's just another example of the government stuffing things.

I'll vote “no” because I don't understand it.

I can't decide, so I'll vote “no.”

Damn fools!  If you don't understand something, DON'T bloody vote, ABSTAIN!!!

If there's one thing I hate about so-called compulsory voting, it's that stupidity will prevail.  Leave the decision making up to the people who actually care and put the effort in.  If you say “no”, just because you think you have to write something on a piece of paper, you may just as well write “yes”, or toss a coin.  You're not really voting, if you're not actually thinking and making a decision, you're just fooling yourself, and stuffing up the real vote.  Have the intelligence to say that you don't know, and don't artificially skew the results!!

Contrary to popular opinion, just because you have been forced to go to the polls, it does NOT require you to actually write something on that piece of paper.  ONLY write something down if YOU have actually made a decision for YOURSELF, and DON'T write down something, because someone has told you to write it.  If you're that much of a sheep, then vote “yes”, because I told you to!

I like the Queen, so I'll vote to stay the way we are.

The idiot sentimentality response.  Really, why?  No, really, why?!  Just for what reason do you like a person you've never met?  Perhaps we should suggest the covergirl from Penthouse as the head of state?  Just what relevance does some English–German family, full of scandal, with no real connection with our country, have to us?  It's as ludicrous as suggesting any Australian, without even any slight English origin, would be suitable as a head of state for Britain.

Our current system works rather well, so we may as well keep it.  Anything they do to change it, will probably make things worse, or cost us a fortune.

The only sensible “no” reason, I've heard so far.  And they're most probably correct too.

I'll vote “yes” because we should be a republic.

Well we should be independent.  It's a good answer, even if simplistic.

I'll vote “yes” because we should be a republic, and I'll just hope that it gets done right.

And that's the one that I most empathise with.  I will be voting yes, and hoping like hell that, somehow, it works properly.  We should be totally dependent, I have no loyalties to any foreign country, and I never been convinced that I should, and I doubt I ever will be either. And I can't really forsee them making a bigger balls-up of running the country in this fashion, than they've been already doing.

It's simple, two questions would have conducted the referendum properly:

If the people say we should elect the head of state, then some system has to be devised.  Which shouldn't be any worse than working out how we choose our members of parliament.  If we allow the politicians to choose the head, then that's their problem as to how it happens.

Chances are though, that the decision will not happen intelligently, but by which group can con the masses to vote the way they want them to.

The system has been cocked up.  We should be asked if we want to be a republic, then be asked what method we should use to elect the head of state, rather then be asked if we should become a republic, and be told how the head of state will be chosen.

Democracy?  Here?  Don't make me laugh!


Post script:

Well, the referendum was lost, but not by a sweeping majority (despite what some people would have us believe), so we're not a republic.  The most overwhelmingly common comment about the thing was that everyone thought the proposed method of chosing the president, and their powers, was completely wrong, though we really should be an independent republic.

Some people think we'll have another referendum on the matter soon, now that they realise this.  Though the government is taking the stance that the people said “no” because they don't want to be a republic, and there'll not be another referendum on the matter.

People are stupid if they didn't see that response a mile off.  Now we're stuck with the stupid decision.  One suggestion was that the referendum question should really have been, “Should Australia not become a republic?”  Which may have prompted a more accurate response.  Because in reality, although the question was whether we should become a republic, many treated it as a popularity poll on the suggested model of how it should be done, believing that a “no” vote would bring about another referendum with a better option.

Our government, in it's infinite stupidity, and self centred determination to not become a republic, refused to allow the referendum to have separate questions on becoming, or not becoming, a republic, as well as questions on the method of choosing a president (public election versus alternatives).


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