Special Sub-Topic: Australian Republicanism
|What is Australian republicanism basically all about?|
Changing the Constitution to replace the British sovereign with an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians. Australians support republicanism for a range of reasons. Some object to the English monarchy specifically for historical or cultural reasons, or because of its preference for males and exclusion of Catholics. Others feel that all hereditary models are out-of-date and result in a head of state who is not accountable to the population.
Parts of the community have advocated republicanism since the early days of colonial settlement. The Australian Republican Association was formed late in the 19th century. However, as political efforts focused on forming and stabilising the Australian federation the issue faded from public attention.
|The Republican Party was one of the parties represented in Australia's first parliament.|
f. The 1901-1903 parliament included 75 Members of the House of Representatives and 36 Senators. The parties represented were Protectionist (under the leadership of Prime Minister Edmund Barton), Free Trade and Labor, and three independent members also elected.
|What is the formal name given to Australia in the 1901 Constitution?|
Commonwealth of Australia. The 1901 constitution brought together the six Australian colonies into a federation, with power divided between state governments and the national government. The national (or federal) government is referred to as the Commonwealth Government and the country as a whole is the Commonwealth of Australia.
|"Banish from under your bonny skies
Those old-world errors and wrongs and lies"
Thus calls "A Song of the Republic", penned by which celebrated Australian poet?|
Henry Lawson. Lawson's poem appeared in the journal "The Republican" after he attended meetings of the Australian Republican Association. Henry Lawson is one of the most famous writers of the Australian colonial period, and his style of stark realism is often contrasted to the more romanticised worldview of his contemporary, Banjo Paterson.
|In what year was the Australian Republican Movement formally constituted?|
1991. The Australian Republican Movement is a lobby group advocating a change to Australia's Constitution. Its core belief is that the head of state should be an Australian citizen and resident. While it was founded in the wake of republicanism being officially adopted as a policy of the Australian Labor Party, it is a non-partisan group and has members from across the political spectrum.
|Which founding member and former chairman of the Australian Republican Movement later served as Minister for the Environment and leader of the Liberal Party?|
Malcolm Turnbull & Turnbull. Turnbull served as chairman between 1993 and 2000, a period which included the 1998 Australian Constitutional Convention and 1999 referendum. He entered parliament as member for the Sydney seat of Wentworth following the 2004 federal election.
|What was the name of the group formed in opposition to the Australian Republican Movement, advocating a continuation of the status quo?|
Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy. Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy was founded in 1992 aiming "to preserve, to protect and to defend our heritage: the Australian constitutional system, the role of the Crown in it and our Flag".
Its first National Executive Director was Tony Abbott, who later entered parliament, served as a Minister in the Howard Government, and became leader of the Liberal Party. In an interesting coincidence, the man he unseated as party leader was Malcolm Turnbull, a former leader of the republican movement.
|Which of the following high-profile Australians supported the constitutional monarchy model at the 1998 Australian Constitutional Convention?|
Neville Bonner - Australia's first Indigenous Senator. The convention met in Canberra over two weeks in February 1998. Delegates representing a range of positions and interest groups attended, half being appointed by parliament and half elected by postal ballot.
A majority of the delegates gave in-principle support to the idea of Australia becoming a republic, and proposed a model in which the head of state would be appointed by the nation's parliament. This model formed the basis for a referendum question that was put to the public in 1999.
|Which Australian state or territory voted in favour of the 1999 referendum on the republic?|
Australian Capital Territory. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) includes Canberra, the home of Australia's national parliament. 63.2% of ACT voters voted in favour of the republican question, making it the only state or territory to support the proposal.
Victoria (Australia's second most populous state) came close, with 49.8% of votes cast in favour of the proposal. The lowest 'yes' vote (37.4%) was recorded in the traditionally conservative state of Queensland.
|What was the overall national yes-vote in favour of a republic in the 1999 referendum?|
45%. Almost 11.8 million Australians participated in the referendum: a turnout of 95.10%. 5.3 million people supported the proposal (45.1%) but 6.4 million opposed it. Fewer than 1% of voters cast an invalid vote.
The precise wording of the proposal was: To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.
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