Republic debate should spark in Ballarat

2012 marks the 60th year of reign of Queen Elizabeth.

As we approach the commemoration of the 158th year of the Eureka Rebellion then is it appropriate for the discussion of the inevitable transition of Australia as a Constitutional Monarchy to the official status as the Federal Republic of Australia should begin in Ballarat?

Ballarat sells itself nationally as the birthplace of Australian democracy.

Ballarat has given Australia so much that is un-heralded by name of intellectuals; real war heroes; business people; industrialists and prominent parliamentarians.

Yet the debate about our future constitutional status was gerrymandered over a decade ago by our then prime minister deliberately posing the wrong questions to the nation in what was veiled as a national referendum.

The monarchists won the vote because the wrong questions were posed and the republicans could not agree on the model of republic that Australia should adopt.

As far as I am concerned this did not kill the debate. All that we republicans could not agree to was a model, not an affirmation of Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom.

In her 60th year of reign, it is time for this debate to start again in Australia and definitely in the birthplace of Australian democracy. I pose these questions with no sense of disrespect to the Queen or the position of authority that she holds in Australia at present.

I am a 29-year serving soldier of the Australian Army and swore allegiance to "our head of state".

Our head of state is any person who represents our Australian nation regardless of whether it is a queen or a president.

I pose these simple questions that should have rightly been posed over a decade ago to the people of Ballarat.

1. Should Australia have an elected head of state?

2. Is the Eureka Flag and appropriate emblem to be flown as our national flag given Ballarat's status as the birthplace of Australian democracy?

3. Should Australia now be starting to take the necessary planning steps for and eventual transition to a republic after the Queen eventually passes?

4. Advance Australia Fair is so changed in wording to be politically correct from its original penmanship that it is completely irrelevant as our anthem. Do we need a new and fresh anthem?

5. Finally, given that Ballarat influenced and changed so much toward the shaping of our present Australia during the period preceding federation, should the next step of the shaping of our nation toward a republic be driven and ultimately pushed by modern-day Ballarat?

CLINT CROUT

Seymour

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