On my piece this week against Australia becoming a republic, Kingbuzz left this comment.
Adam, love your work, but not sure why we wouldn’t want Australians to elect their own head of state? Shouldn’t we “grow up” as a country, cut the ties from the old empire, and become a republic? I imagine this would give us a stronger sense of who we are as a country, not to mention also give us a better standing in Asia…but I’m interested in hearing arguments to the contrary.
This appeal to an emotional state of feelings that Australia for its entire existence has been immature; a problem to which the only solution, and a quick and magical one at that, is to become a republic, was a common rhetorical tactic used by the pro-republic side in 1999. Like all good rhetoric, it stuck.
This rhetorical rubbish is not only easy to debunk, but in its debunking we learn, not surprisingly, that the opposite of what is claimed is the real truth.
The claim that Australia will “grow up” if it adopts a republican model and its accompanying presidential head of state, assumes that Australia’s current government model is immature. Australia is a Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Constitutional monarchies are quite common forms of government. The United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxemburg, Sweden, and Japan all enjoy constitutional monarchies, not to mention the sixteen governments that make up the Commonwealth.
If Australia supposedly needs to grow up then there are a great many other nations with rich histories that need to do the same. Far from giving us a greater sense of identity, cutting the ties that bind us to our cultural and historical roots with Great Britain would leave us adrift and open to any sort of historical revisionism. This is precisely the situation that socialists, Marxists, and progressives crave.
Immaturity is best measured in actions, not words. A person can say whatever they want but it is from their actions that one can accurately gauge their level of maturity. So too with nations.
Australia is a Federal parliament. It has been around for some time.
Australia is the seventh oldest federation in the world after the United States (1789), Mexico (1824), Switzerland (1848), Canada (1867), the German Empire (1871), and Brazil (1891). Australia is the only one of those countries in which the territory of the original constituent states has since remained unchanged (although some overseas territories have since been gained and relinquished).
Seventh oldest in the world? Hardly the sign of an immature nation. The key to that passage though is the last sentence – Australia is the only one of those countries whose territory has remained unchanged.
The reason for this is that Australia is the only nation in the history of the human race where separate and self-governing states came together in a voluntary act to form a federation with no threat of war or force and with no blood being spilt. No other nation has ever achieved this. The American model which the Australian republicans wish to copy enjoyed the bloodiest civil war in modern history so as to force federation on the southern states.
Actions speak louder than words, and even louder again than intentions. Based on this history it could very well be argued that the Federation of Australia is the most mature nation that the world has ever known. It is the only nation existing on earth at this point in time where no blood has ever been spilled on its soil over internal political unrest.
Our standing in Asia, and to a larger extent the world, should be one of great pride. The more pride that we as Australians show in our own institutions and our own history then the more that other nations will seek to emulate us. One does not gain greater standing in the international community by throwing away the most successful political structure and history that has ever existed.
On the contrary, such an act would eventually open us up to pity. The pity that comes when a nation is torn apart by political unrest. It has happened to every other nation that presently exists in the world. The only nation where this has never occurred is Australia. And people want to change this state of affairs to feel “more grown up”. It is nothing short of pitiful.