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Republicans release declaration of principles for an Australian Head of State



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To: Political editor Media Monitors

I.

Republicans urge citizens to think on Australia Day - pass a vote of confidence in the nation in November's referendum

Republicans release declaration of principles for an Australian Head of State

Republicans across Australia rallied today from Perth to Sydney to call on Australians to look to the future this Australia Day and to pass a vote of confidence in the nation by voting Yes in November's referendum on an Australian Head of State.

Releasing a declaration of principles as to why the nation should have an Australian as its Head of State in Sydney today, the chair of the Australian Republican Movement, Malcolm Turnbull, old a representative gathering of Australians that the November referendum is a vote on our future.

"This is the year we can vote for Australia," isaid Mr Turnbull," not for a political party, nor for a politician. But for our own country and for our future.

"This is the year we can vote to ensure that fevery public office in this country will be unequivocally Australian. Tin's is the year we can ensure our Head of State is not the monarch of another country, but an Australian - one

of us."

In public gatherings over the next two daysj in Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, NSW and the ACT, republicans will call on Australians to carefully consider whether they wanted to continue ψ have a foreigner - someone who does not live here and who has never lived among us - to be our Head of State.

Mr Turnbull told Australians at the Sydney1 gathering, including Liberal MPs, the Opposition Leader Mr Beazley, Democrats Leader Meg Lees and well known figures such as Andrew Robb, Maxine McKew, Leo Schofield and Jason Li, that having an Australian Head or State will also unite all

Australians, regardless of who they are or where they were bom.

"The republican cause unites many Australians. Tt is supported by Australians from all walks of life and all political parties

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"The cause is not a rejection of our enduring links to the United Kingdom. It is an affirmation of ourAustralian identity and our pride as Australians.

"The referendum is a test of our commitment and of our belief. We cannot afford to fail this test. We cannot carry a noteonfidence motion in ourselves.

"If this referendum fails we will have said tb ourselves and the world that we have so little faith in our own country and its people that no Australian, not even the best of us, is good enough to be our Head of State."

Mr Turnbull said that a few republicans who will advocate a "No" vote in the referendum because they think the proposed constitutional changes do not go far enough, were misguided.

" We believe that the measure of the worthJof political change is not whether it goes far enough, but whether it is a step m the right direction.

"On any republican view, the amendments!will be at least an improvement to the status quo because the Head of State w monarch, and the President will require the support of both sides of politics, not simply that of the Prime Minister as is

General."

11 be an Australian not a foreign

he case with the Governor-

Mr Turnbull and republicans across the nation indicated that the key focus of the Yes campaign will be to convince Australians that the time is now right for an Australian to be our Head of State, and that this will be the last opportunity for decades to make such a change.

"On Australia Day, we should be thinking about the future, not only for ourselves, but for young Australians to whom we have a duty to ensure they inherit a strong, modem, confident and united nation, proud of its people and with enough confidence to have on of our own as its first citizen - its Head of State."

January 25,1999

Enquiries: Wayne Burns, national media director, Australian Republican Movement, 0416 041 567.

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ΟD E C L A R A T IO N BY REPU1 V O T E FO R A U ST R A L IA !3L IC A N S FO R A YES vj H E A D O F ST A T E1999 - A Year o f Confidence anThis is the year we can finally cast a vote of conThis is the year we get the chance to vote yes foThis is the year we can show how we proud we sure that our Head of State is not the monarch o one of us.d Pridefidence in Australia.• our people and our future.ire o f o u r country by voting to make ' another country, but an Australian -The referendum will propose amendments endorsed by the Constitutional Convention in February last year. They will allow an Australian President to be chosen in a bi-partisan way, exercising precisely the same duties and having the same powers as the Governor-General.The amendments improve the current system in two ways:Australian - ONE OF US rt of both sides of politics, unlike the Governor-General now, who is selected by tpe Prime Minister.• our Head of State, the President, will be an• our President will be selected with the suppeThese amendments, while of immense symbolic' importance, do not involve wide- ranging constitutional change. They reflect a continued commitment to our Australian system of federal parliamentary government.The debate about the amendments is over. The :;implc question now is whether wc have the courage to change our Constitution to 1 ave an Australian Head of State. Wc join other Australians in urging our fellow citizens to have the courage to make our nation better.Some Australians believe the amendments do ncsec further change to our political system. We believe that the measure of the worth ofpolitical change is not whether it goes far enoug direction.t go far enough. They would like tol, but whether it is a step in the rightThe republican cause unites Australians from cvjry background and every parly. It is not a rejection of our enduring links to the United Kingdom. Rather, it is an affirmation of our Australian identity and our pride as Australians.The referendum will be a test of our commitment, to Australia and our belief in its people. Wc cannot carry a no-confidence motior in ourselves. We cannot, say to ourselves and to the world that no Australian, nut even the best of us, is good enough to be our Head of State.We call on all Australians to vote Yes in the referendum and to work toensure this great national vote is carried. The last year of this millennium is a yearwhere our destiny challenges us to vote yes.Vote for Australia and make sure our nation enters the new millennium declaring our pride in its people and our commitment to its future. Vote Yes for Australia.