On the eve of the Royal Wedding, there is a very intelligent debate taking place on ABC TV at the moment on Q&A. It will be well worth catching up on iView if you have missed it.
I like listening to the Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton. She talks a lot of sense. Especially when she spoke of the the “traditional” nature of the reserve powers of the Governor General and the subsequent impossibility of codifying these powers. Her background as a native Australian seems to give her an understanding of the importance of “tribal tradition” that we white fellas and sheilas don’t seem to get.
I also can understand (former NSW premier) Bob Carr’s desire for a “simple” solution to the Australian Head of State problem. He says we should simply make a single change to our constitution, namely “declare the Governor General to be Australia’s Head of State”. Sounds fine, but the problem is that this would encroach on the independance of the States, as they are governed by Parliaments appointed by Governors who are representatives of our Head of State, ie. the Queen. If the Governor General were the Head of State, the Governors of the States would be representatives of said Governor General, thus putting the State Governments UNDER the Federal Government. This would be a major change to our current political structure in Australia.
May I remind readers of SCE that there is a simple solution? Whether you call it an “elective constitutional monarchy” or an “indirectly elected life presidency” (I prefer the previous designation), I have my own proposition in the side-bar of this ‘ere blog. I think it would work. No one seems to agree, though.
As I said to my kids tonight, I am a monarchist, but not a royalist. I don’t particularly care WHICH monarchy has the job, whether they are English or Australian or Aboriginal or what, as long as we DO have a monarchical system. Even Bob Carr can see that it would be a recipe for disaster to have a directly elected president on the American model.