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Thursday, 9 June 1994
Page: 1629

Senator BURNS (3.22 p.m.) —I think the debate should be brought back to earth on the basis that this country, in terms of white settlement, was based on the fact that England sent prisoners out here and made a gaol here. But over many years that has changed. The situation now is that people have been born here, the population is increasing naturally and we have immigration. We have now reached the stage where the people in this country come from many ethnic backgrounds.

  We had ties with Britain. Britain has decided to go into the European common market. We no longer have the sort of trading arrangements we used to have. The whole society in this country has changed. It is appropriate that we now look at an independent situation and have a republic. For Senator O'Chee to suggest that we just mirror other republics is quite stupid and spurious because that is not what is being suggested. It is not what the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) is saying. Having decided to go in this direction, it seems to me to be proper and reasonable for the Prime Minister of this country to indicate quite clearly to people in other nations where we are going and the reasons for it.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.