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An Australian republic is not inevitable

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  • An Australian republic is not inevitable

    Benjamin T. Jones, co-editor of Project Republic, teaches history at the University of Western Sydney. He is pessimistic about his group's efforts to establish a republican regime in Australia. On the ABC's Drum, he explains, why an Australian republic is not inevitable.
    "The inevitability of an Australian republic is a myth so often spouted that it is accepted as fact with little scrutiny.
    "Set against a Cold War back drop in 1954, when the Queen first visited Australia she was seen as a symbol of freedom and democracy as opposed to slavish communism. Country MP, Hugh Robertson gushed that her presence affirmed 'our faith in our democratic systems'. When she returned in 1988 to open our new parliament house, opposition Liberal leader, John Howard acknowledged her as 'the pinnacle of our democracy'.
    "This is precisely why a republic is not inevitable. The British monarchy has a proven record of remarkable adaptability to suit the times. Despite the dictatorial powers afforded to the British monarch in our constitution, through protocol and practice, it is seen as a powerless and inoffensive titular head that is worth preserving. Despite the inherent elitism and privilege, monarchy has somehow morphed into a symbol of Westminster democracy."
    Good to see some realism in the republican ranks. Her Majesty has outlived all republicans who one thought while they were in office they could topple her. The transition to King Charles III, whenever it may come, will be a smooth one and his reign will be as successful as his mother's.