As people across the country don their thongs, singlets and sun hats to celebrate Australia Day, we raised the age-old debate of an Australian republic with the Starts at 60 community.
It is often debated whether Australia should remain as a realm of the Commonwealth with Her Majesty the Queen as head of state or elect an Australian head of state, establishing the nation as a republic.
Starts at 60 readers took part in an online poll and had their say on whether they think Australia should follow in the footsteps of the likes of Singapore and Samoa, who have previously parted ways with the Queen as their leader, but remained within the Commonwealth of Nations.
An overwhelming majority of respondents voted against the notion of an Australian Republic led by an Australian Head of State, with the most popular reason for wanting to remain under the rule of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II being a lack of faith in the country’s top politicians, such as former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten.
Eight out of 10 respondents voted in favour of remaining part of the Commonwealth under the rule of Queen Elizabeth, while just 20 per cent said they would prefer to have an elected Australian as the head of state.
Many of those who voted against the election of an Aussie head of state shared their reasons, as reader Cyn Wray said: “Well imagine being a Republic and having a Donald!”
Phyllis Hunt commented: “With the quality of our politicians, I would hate to see who would be selected as president.” While Lisa Drury Hudson wrote: “Why would we need to change something that works and is not broken.”
“Can you imagine Shorten or Turnbull as President No way,” said Susan Weston and Eunice Helmore said: “The problem is I would hate to see what we would get as an Australian Head of State. President material we have none.”
And Valerie Bush wrote: “Not because I love the Royal family but because the system has served us so well.”
As Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen reigns over 16 of the 53 member countries, including; Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom.
However the head of the British royal family does not rule as monarch of the majority of the Commonwealth nations, known as ‘republics’, and this is what the Australian Republic Movement (ARM) believe is best for Australia.
National Director of the ARM Michael Cooney told Starts at 60: “I agree with your readers who want Australia to remain a Commonwealth country.
“Most of the nations of the Commonwealth are republics – from South Africa and India to Singapore and Samoa. The King or Queen of England is the head of state in only 16 of the 53 member nations that now make up the Commonwealth.”
Cooney added: “The Australian Republic Movement wants a national vote for Australians to say whether we want an Australian head of state and how an Australian head of state should be chosen. This should be followed by a full referendum to put the necessary constitutional changes to the people for their approval. Australians should decide our own national future, in our own time.”
Earlier this month, a similar poll revealed that the majority of Aussies believe Australia Day should continue to be celebrated on January 26.
The polling, conducted by Research Now, shows 75 per cent of Aussies want to keep Australia Day on January 26, while just 10 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed think the date should be changed.
“Only 8 per cent of young people between the ages of 18 to 24 say Australia Day should not be celebrated on January 26. Which proves that despite the media and political left narrative, young people are not drawn to the divisive argument of opposing our national day,” Bella d’Abrera, Director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at IPA, said.
“January 26 marks the foundation of modern Australia and it should to be celebrated by all Australians. Rather than being ashamed of it, we should be proud of it.”
The public holiday is a topic of regular debate as many people question whether it is right to celebrate the occasion, with some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people instead referring to the day as Invasion Day, marking the invasion by British settlers of lands already owned.
The poll also revealed a staggering 88 per cent of people were “proud to be Australian” while only 3 per cent disagreed. Additionally, 76 per cent believe “Australia has a history to be proud of” and 92 per cent said “freedom of speech is an important Australian value”.