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An Australian Republic: it's time.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Australian Democrats Spokesperson for the Republic 26 May 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/363

An Australian Republic - It’s time

The circumstances leading to the Governor-General’s resignation illustrates the inherent flaws in a Constitutional system where the Head of State is appointed by an absent monarch on the sole advice of the Prime Minister, according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ Republic spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, said the current Constitutional arrangements need fixing and it is time for Australia to recommence the move towards an Australian Republic.

“It has long been recognised that the majority of Australians want Australia to become a Republic. The situation involving the Governor-General provides greater impetus for this change and the Prime Minister cannot ignore public sentiment on this issue any longer,” said Senator Stott Despoja.

“The Democrats will not wait around for the Prime Minister to initiate change. In November 2002, we announced our intention to establish a Senate Committee Inquiry into the Republic. We will deliver on that promise in the next sitting week of the Senate.

“On June 17, we will move a motion to initiate an Inquiry which will examine the next steps towards an Australian Republic. The Inquiry will give all Australians the opportunity to have their say on how they think Australia’s Head of State should be appointed.

“Currently, we have a system where the Queen of England must choose someone to represent her in Australia, but because of her unfamiliarity with the Australian community, she must rely entirely on the advice on the Prime Minister,” said Senator Stott Despoja.

“This system lacks accountability and gives the Australian community no opportunity for input into who the Governor-General should be.

“Without proper accountability mechanisms and consultation, the Prime Minister risks making an inappropriate appointment, as was the case with Dr Hollingworth.

“The Prime Minister made a very serious mistake when he appointed Dr Hollingworth - a mistake that brought Australia’s highest office into disrepute and undermined the confidence of many Australians in our system of Governance.

“The system is broken and it is time to fix it up. The Senate Committee will be the first step in this process.

“I encourage all Australians to participate in the upcoming Inquiry. This is our opportunity to decide what kind of Australia we want for future generations,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

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