G'day, I'm Glyn Davis and welcome to The Policy Shop, a place where we think about policy choices.
It is the government's view that Australia's head of state should be an Australian. That Australia should become a republic by the year 2001.
If we are to become a republic then the people themselves should directly choose the president.
We are all Australians, we share a continent, we share a past, a present and a future, and our head of state should be one of us.
It is a smashing defeat for the Yes case, and for Malcolm Turnbull and the ARM. If you translate these figures into a federal election it would be a landslide for the No case.
To those republicans who voted no, thinking they will soon get another chance to vote, I'm afraid you have been had.
Federal Labor has revived debate about Australia becoming a republic, promising to hold a referendum on the issue within its first term of government.
A Shorten Labor government will take the first real steps to have an Australian head of state in our first term in government.
Since the failure of the 1999 Republican Referendum, the issue of Australia becoming a republic has been in political deep freeze now for nearly 20 years. Recently though there have been attempts by the Australian Republican Movement and others to reignite a national conversation on the subject, and hey, with members of the Royal Family due to visit Australia later this year, perhaps the question of Australia becoming a republic might begin its long thaw.
In this episode of The Policy Shop, we're going to discuss not the politics of Australia becoming a republic, but rather the policy lessons from our previous fractious republican referendum, and tease out some possible models of what an Australian republic might look like.
Joining me in the studio today is Laureate Professor Emeritus in the Melbourne Law School here at the University of Melbourne, Cheryl Saunders AO. Cheryl, welcome to the podcast.
Thanks very much, Glyn.
Joining us online is Dr Benjamin Jones, Australian Research Council Fellow in the School of History at the Australian National University, and the author of the newly published This Time: Australia's Republican Past and Future. Benjamin, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you, a pleasure to be here.
Before we turn to the technicalities of how Australia might become a republic, it would be good just to think for a moment about Australia's current constitutional arrangement. Cheryl, Australia is both a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy, can you help explain what this means, how these models are brought together, the role the Queen of England has in our constitutional arrangements?
Yes, I'm happy to do that Glyn, but can I also throw into the mix that it's also a federation, which is part of this story as well. The constitution does envisage a monarchy, it provides for the position of queen and it provides for her representative of the Commonwealth level in Australia who is the Governor-General. But she also has a representative in each of the Australian states as the state governance.
That sort of rather complicated arrangement means that a lot of power on the face of it is conferred either on the Queen or on the Governor-General, or both. Much of that power is expected to be exercised by one or other of them on the advice of the elected government. The constitution is not terribly clear about which powers are exercised on the advice and which are not, but the vast majority of them are assumed to be exercised on the advice of a government that has the confidence of the lower house of the directly elected parliament. So that's how representative government gets into the picture.
You've written elsewhere that the principles of monarchy actually inform the constitution, it's not just a matter of potentially taking out one title and putting in another.
I think that's right. The conception of what the head of state does has grown out of the experience with the monarchy in the United Kingdom as the monarch gradually lost power to elected representatives, but retaining quite a lot of formal power and a little bit of substantive power.
So to give you an extreme example, there's a provision in the constitution that says that the Governor-General can pirogue the parliament, meaning bring a session of the parliament to the end so it can't meet again until the Governor-General calls it together again.
Both of those powers would be exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister of the day, but it's an old-fashioned procedure that has grown out of monarchical experience and that may well not be appropriate in Australia today.
So you're suggesting that on the advice of a Prime Minister a Governor-General could pirogue the parliament say in September one year and not have it reconvene until April the next?
Absolutely, the only requirement in the constitution is that the parliament meet once a year, or that there be a session of parliament once a year.
So a government in risk of losing its majority has some options.
It does indeed. It can get rid of a pesky parliament for a while at least, and in fact this has happened in Canada in recent years where it was highly controversial.
Benjamin, from Cheryl's explanation we can see that the current constitutional arrangements ensure a symbolic role for the queen that then flows through to many of the powers. Your book passionately argues that we should have a republic that change should not be purely symbolic. Can you take us through the logic of your argument?
Well, I think what Cheryl has articulated very well is that the constitution was written with certain assumptions being made, one of those is that there should be a place for an unelected monarchy, but it's also reflective of the cultural identity of Australia at the time, which was best articulated as Australian Briton. Keith Hancock has a very famous chapter in his book Australia called Independent Australian Britons, I think all three of those words and indeed the order they appear in is significant.
But as Australia has changed culturally and in terms of its identity, the constitution has not. So what seems to have happened is that despite the constitution giving these very real powers to the Queen and her representatives, a protocol has needed to develop that some of these powers - it's expected that they shouldn't be used.
So I think it would be appropriate to end this tension or inconsistency between what the constitution says and what Australians now expect as a society that views itself not as part of the British Empire but as independent, and not as under a monarchy but as a democracy and not part of the British world, but now an active member of the vibrant Asia-Pacific region.
If we just pick up that idea of Queen's 'real powers', to quote you for a minute, Cheryl has argued I guess that those powers are exercised on the prerogative of the Prime Minister, but are you suggesting there are circumstances in which they might be independently exercised?
Well, I'm suggesting that the only thing that restricts the Queen is not legality but is protocol and indeed the only thing that restricts the Governor-General. So it's not that the powers have ceased to be real but just that a protocol of expectations that we expect that the monarch should view their role only as symbolic, even though a monarch could if they wanted test the limits of what they actually could do.
Just building on what Benjamin just said, I mean there's been two developments I think since the constitution came into effect. One, the role of the Queen has changed, as Australia has become independent it's become much less appropriate, even if it were practicable, for the Queen to do very much in relation to Australia.
So it's now pretty clear that all she actually does is appoint and presumably dismiss the Governor-General on the advice of the elected government. So it's really the Governor-General who is the actor under the constitution and that's been a big shift since 1901.
The other shift that Benjamin is talking about is the way in which either of them exercise their powers, the extent to which they treat them as independent powers or as powers that must be exercised on the advice of the government. He's right, there has been some shift in that regard and the shift has always been in the direction of requiring the Queen or the Governor-General to act on Prime Ministerial or government advice in some way or another.
But even in 1901 it was clear that a lot of those powers would have to be exercised on the advice of some government, whether it was the British government or the Australian government. But the framers of the constitution deliberately drafted it in a way that gave this formal or dignified powers to the crown, leaving the rest to the imagination of those people who understand how constitutional conventions work.
Benjamin, presumably when you refer to Australian Britons you've got in mind things like Section 44 which had an assumption about citizenship that's subsequently changed as circumstances have changed.
Absolutely, but also I think more in the way that Australians give expression to what it means to be Australian. So if you observe the cultural representations of federation for example, is it just littered with songs, flags, banners, all expressing membership to a British race.
The term race was interpreted quite literally in 1901, that the British race was in their blood, in their DNA, different to the Germans, to the French and to any other race. That this was a privileged and special family of nations with a particular destiny, and it's a way of viewing Australia that I would suggest simply does not exist any more.
Certainly there was an awkward period of transition and Stuart Ward and James Curran have written an excellent book called Unknown Nation that sort of charts the difficulties Australia faced in the 1960s and '70s of trying to carve out a cultural identity for itself.
But I think certainly in the 21st Century Australians see themselves unambiguously as an independent democracy and yet our cultural symbols, who we name roads after and parks - I thought it was extraordinary for example in 2012 where Parkes Place in Canberra, named after a person considered the father of federation could be renamed in honour of the Queen. That attracted very little controversial which I think speaks volumes about Australia still awkwardly trying to negotiate what it means to be Australia without Britain.
So I'm keen to understand some of the constitutional constraints and challenges about becoming a republic. I want to leave for a moment for the merits or otherwise of a republican form, and I just want to go to the question of if you want to get there would you start here, and then what it would mean.
Cheryl, the process undertaken in 1998 and 1999 involved a deliberative constitutional convention of appointed and elected delegates, followed by a referendum to amend the constitution and of course led to failure.
Nonetheless, is this the only available path for us realistically to consider such a major change to the fabric of our constitution?
Look I think we can take away a couple of lessons from the experience of 1999. One, I mean I thought that the convention was very stage-managed but it nevertheless attracted tremendous public interest and attention and I think it tells us that something like that is quite a good way, not just for trying to thrash out the details of a republic, but for any significant constitutional change.
So my own view would be that if and when the republican debate becomes ripe again we do need to think about a bottom up process for building the model, for identifying that the principle issues that we need to grapple with, including the question of how you appoint and dismiss a head of state and what that person should do, some sort of Citizen's Assembly model of the kind that they've recently used in Ireland. In other words, a much more open constitutional convention type approach I think would be a great idea.
Can you say something about that Irish experience? Because it's a very interesting development.
Well the Irish have played in several ways with some form of citizen's deliberative process over recent years to bring forward amendments to their constitution that everybody thought would be deeply controversial, but in fact passed in a way that made everybody feel really comfortable and happy about themselves.
So the Citizen's Assembly in Ireland as I understand it comprised a minority of political representatives but also a group of citizens who were chosen through a random process, and how you choose people through a random process is a bit of a work of art, but that can be thought about.
It was a structured process whereby people were made comfortable to talk about these things, rules of engagement that involved trust and mutual respect, and that first of all empowered them with knowledge so that they could come to grips with the issues. They came up with recommendations for change which were reflected almost exactly in the referendum results, which is also a very interesting sign of that being an approach that we might well investigate.
If I could just add one thing about Ireland quickly, I've actually just returned from Ireland and something I've noticed just in speaking with people is that they seem to have achieved something that Australian minimalist republicans have thought impossible, and that's have a direct election for the head of state without making it a political actor who might interfere in what's otherwise a Westminster system.
They've now have several elected presidents who do respect the role that the people expect of the president which is to be a figurehead. To the point that speaking to my cab driver on the way to the airport, he was grumbling that it's a waste of money having the position because the President doesn't do anything, they're just a ribbon-cutter.
But I thought from an Australian perspective well that's precisely what we've come to expect of a Governor-General, so I think it certainly is possible to have a directly elected head of state whether we call it the President or something else and have them stay in that ribbon-cutter position, which is what we've come to expect. I think most of us are quite comfortable with that sort of idea of having the ribbon-cutter and then having the Prime Minister with the actual power.
I should say that that President, the most recent president Michael D. Higgons was a guest on The Policy Shop last year and gave a beautiful exposition about thinking in Ireland. A very elegant waste of money if a waste of money.
I think the current President is a very impressive fellow actually. But if I can just add to what Benjamin has just said, he's absolutely right that the Irish example shows us that you can have a directly elected President in an essentially parliamentary system, without the President challenging the authority of the government to govern.
On the other hand, that is achieved by a careful drafting of the constitution which makes it quite clear that the President does act on advice, identifies the areas where he or she doesn't act on advice, and creates another body, the Council of State I think it's called, which may advise the President in certain difficult situations.
So the Irish model is a really interesting model for us but requires us to open our minds a little bit beyond bare minimalism of the kind that we flirted with in the 1990s.
Benjamin your book again addresses these questions and thinks very hard about how we might move, what the pathways would look like and how we would deal with the constitutional constraints. Would you like to reflect on what we've learned from past failures and how you think this should be tackled if it's tackled again?
Well, I put forward a specific model which I always am at pains to add, I throw in as a conversation starter and I think it's imperative for republicans to ultimately be willing after the discussion has been had, after the constitutional conventions have been had, to fall in line with the model most likely to succeed as a referendum.
But with that disclaimer out of the way, my own model is to take advantage of the existing federation system that we have and take advantage of the existing parliaments that we have representing the various states. It's a two-part system whereby in the first instance each state and territory government put forward a name or recommend someone who they think would be an appropriate head of state, and this is by a two-third majority of each of those parliaments. Then the second stage is a direct election process for those eight names and the most voted on becoming the head of state.
I think what I really like about Benjamin's model is that it does bring in the states and territories and it does it in a way that ensures that you will have a list of nominees from right across the country, which I think is a real strength of it.
I think to have a process for selecting a republican head of state that purely involves Commonwealth institutions is a mistake. You do need buy-in from around the country, however that buy-in is achieved, even though in addition there will need to be a process in each of the states and territories to work out what to do instead of the Governor.
That's an important point, often overlooked, isn't it?
Absolutely. I mean bizarrely in 1999 it was left completely unaddressed so that if the republican referendum had been successful in 1999 we would have been a republic at the state level with all of these monarchies slushing around the state - sorry, a republic at the Commonwealth level with the states still with ties to the crown which would have needed to be dealt with somehow.
That's exactly right. Benjamin, to get to the model you've proposed though, a very interested hybrid model, which we'll come to about what's in and what's out, but we still need a device to get there and we used a referendum in 1999 and of course it was defeated as most Australian referenda are.
Can you tell us a bit about the mechanics of the process you would see required to get to your model?
Well, I think one of the lessons from 1999 - or 1998 to be precise - that's when the Constitutional Convention was, is that two weeks discussion where it seems that the result is a foregone conclusion is not going to cut it with the Australian people as being consultative.
So the current suggestion by the ARM, and this appears to be endorsed by Bill Shorten, is to have a two-stage, first a plebiscite establishing in principle that Australians want to be a republic, and then a period of two to three years before a referendum. So exactly how those two to three years are used hasn't been exactly spelled out, but I would suggest it needs to be wide, community-based - I think the New Zealand model of looking for a new flag is actually worthy of some emulation. Using online technologies to make it far more interactive than just getting together a bunch of people, half of which appointed politicians and only the other half elected, as it was in '98.
So I think using the Internet but taking a long time, taking two or three years to seriously discuss the pros and cons of different models, I think a national education campaign is really needed to explain how the system works. I mean part of the battle is explaining to Australians how our current constitution works before you can hope to succeed with convincing them why it needs to change.
'If you don’t know, vote no', was quite a successful slogan of the 'No' campaign in '99. So I think rather than two weeks, Australia does need to have a very long, serious national conversation about models leading up to a referendum.
But I think we need to do something a bit more structured than just have a nation-wide conversation about a whole lot of issues that actually need to be decided.
Are we going to directly elect the head of state? If so, what are we going to say about the powers? What are we going to say about particular powers? What are we going to say about the removal of the head of state before his or her term is up, on whatever grounds? Are there any other things that should be taken out?
I mean these are all issues that are really going to require being hammered out. One of the things that we did - in those days the Constitutional Centenary Foundation, a body that I was involved with, one of the things we did in the 1990s was run local constitutional conventions around the country. We devised a model whereby people could be informed of what the issues were in a fairly open and honest way and could then get together and deliberate on them.
That model I think could be usefully developed to be used around the country to get people a) actively engaged with understanding how the present constitution works, and b) really understanding what the various options are and how those options would fit together in a final package.
It might even be that that sort of model could then be brought together in one final constitutional convention somewhere in the country, much along the lines of the Indigenous recognition dialogues and in the convention that recently culminated at Uluru. So that would be a way of achieving some of Benjamin's goals and still coming up with some sort of clear sense of direction.
Thank you for mentioning the Uluru Statement from the Heart, because that's in fact where I wanted to go for a minute. Mark McKenna in an excellent essay and then recently in the Daniel Deniehy oration, Professor Geoff Gallop, have both argued for reconciliation as not just alongside a republican debate but as central to that debate.
That makes the task of explaining advocacy and carriage even more difficult, but they both argued that a republic is not worth having if it isn't also about where Australia needs to go and a reconciled Australia.
Can I ask you first, Benjamin, how do you respond to that argument which both complicates the debate and yet introduces a very important dimension that a lot of people want to think about?
Well, I certainly agree that the republic and reconciliation are the two great pieces of unfinished work in the constitution. I think though that there's sort of two separate issues: there's the legal mechanics of what model republic should be put in and then there's things like the title used for President. There's things like the wording of the preamble, which are certainly areas that could be used in a very culturally sensitive way to be an important gesture towards reconciliation.
So whatever model, whether it's a direct election or parliamentary appointment or a hybrid model, I think that's one issue that needs to be thought about in a very legal mindset, and a mindset about what is going to be the best mechanics of a republic.
Then an issue which in one sense might just seem like window dressing, what should be the name, in one sense the pragmatists might say, well, who cares? Call it President, keep the term Governor-General, call it whatever. But I think it does actually have huge cultural significance and a subtle power of saying who we are as a nation what term we choose.
In the book I advocate for the term Beanna Elder which draws in both Indigenous language and English, but I think there are certainly other Indigenous words that could be considered with the permission of course of those Indigenous groups. I think that could be a very powerful symbolic step towards reconciliation and recognising that essentially we're one nation with two stories.
Cheryl, one agenda or two?
They are two agendas that need both to be accomplished, and the question is whether Indigenous recognition is accomplished first or whether there is some way that you can roll the two together. I'm a little inclined to think that maybe it should come first, but I'm open minded on that.
I think that Benjamin's suggestions are ingenious but I doubt that they are likely to meet the expectations of Indigenous people for recognition. The Uluru statement specifically rejected symbolism alone in favour of something that in the sense of the voice, which I think is symbolism plus something that has a chance of being effective.
So the question is how and when these two things are brought together. I think it's extremely important that they are, not just because this is a longstanding unfinished business, but because if you regard a republic as indeed Benjamin does in his book, as reflecting the outcome of active citizenship, to have a constitution which a very important proportion of our citizens think they are completely excluded from and that they do not own, is unacceptable.
If we are going to be serious about a real republic and not just breaking the ties with the queen, then we need to find a way of giving Indigenous Australians ownership of the constitution.
Benjamin you've proposed a hybrid model effectively, which you described a minute ago, where states put forward names and in a sense there's a vote from a limited panel of suggestions, and this meets a number of requirements, including the federalist dimension of our democracy.
But would it be considered perhaps semi-democrat because the people can choose only from a short list decided by political institutions? Is this likely to persuade where we failed as a nation to find a way forward on this last time?
So the two main models are minimalist or direct election and both of them have their criticisms and similarly the hybrid model does.
What I've proposed is not entirely different to what Geoff Gallop proposed at the 1998 Constitutional Convention where he suggested that the Federal Parliament just come up with a list of names and then that go to the people, and the same criticism was raised, that it's sort of semi-democratic to say you can choose who you like but only from this approved list.
So there's no model without criticisms, and I certainly accept the criticisms of mine. What I would say in its defence is that it in a sense attempts to appease the two main concerns from the two main parties, the minimalist and the direct electionist. The main concern of minimalist is that a directly elected person could feel that they've got the power to influence the day-to-day running and also that there's almost a fear of crass popularism.
So the hybrid model addresses those fears by having a two third majority of any of our state and territory parliaments is going to nominate someone. Also I should add, nominate someone who may not nominate themselves, who may not have the type of character to put themselves forward in a direct election model and say I think I'm wonderful and I think I'll do a great job. But often the type of person you want is someone who wouldn't put their hand up but are just going out and contributing to the country in their own way.
But then it also appeals to the direct electionists who think it's against the spirit of becoming a republic if the people aren't involved in it. As Cheryl said, the British monarchy has that sense of ownership and I think a republic can only have that sense of ownership if there a direct vote.
So in a sense I've tried to appeal to the two main concerns of the two main camps. Possibly I've failed, but I'd like the hybrid model to at least be in the mix I suppose when these things are debated.
Yes, I actually am prepared to defend Benjamin's model as well. I think his requirement for a special majority of the parliament at least ensures that the names going forward wouldn't be just a party-political choice by the government of the day. It may well be that individual states and territories would and could move to open the process up more.
I mean there's no reason why in Victoria for example you couldn't have some sort of process whereby the people suggested names on which the parliament itself voted. So there's plenty of variations on Benjamin's model and I think it deserves to be taken seriously.
But can I just say that I don't think it's quite right to say that there are only two models here, one the direct election and two what Benjamin is calling the minimalist model. There are various options in between involving a much more genuine parliamentary choice than the 1999 proposal allowed for.
There are many federated states around the world that find a way of adapting parliamentary choice in a way that picks up not just the parliament of the federation but the parliament of the states and territories as well, India does that for example.
So I do think there are probably three or four core options that we could think about and then of course there's quite a number of variations on each of them.
I perhaps should have said school rather than models, because certainly under minimalism there are a range of different models. I think Richard McGarvie's is probably the most minimalist of the minimalist and I include the two third model also under the broad school of minimal change.
Cheryl, you've lived this for decades, you've seen constitutional conventions come and go and then fail, you've seen referenda put up on a whole range of constitutional issues and fail, usually by a sizeable margin.
Persuading Australians to change their constitution turns out to be difficult and advocates have change have the double problem, they have to explain the constitution in order to explain why it needs to be changed, so they're having to run multiple cases.
Yet it's not so long since we saw a marriage equality plebiscite succeed and by significant majority supporting a meaningful change to a part of our national life.
Was it content or process that saw the plebiscite succeed when so many referenda have failed?
It's interesting, isn't it? I've given this a lot of thought in recent times and I've come to the conclusion that what goes wrong with constitutional referendums in Australia is that we have never yet worked out how to marry representative democracy and direct democracy, which is what Section 128 requires.
So almost always in one way or another the proposal that is put to referendum is top down. Sometimes there's a gesture to not being top down but it usually is, and one results of that is that the things that are put to referendum are quite often things that people don't care about. Or in the case of the republic they might have cared but they just didn't like what they were seeing by way of a model.
So that sort of brings me back to the point that I know I've already made a couple of times, that I think that working out how to build proposals from the ground up is the next big challenge here. It's not just a challenge in Australia, it's a challenge in other parts of the world and we've talked a little bit about Ireland, where direct democracy is now more practicable than ever it was.
We just need to work out how to use those techniques including social media techniques that Benjamin referred to to make all of this work effectively.
So are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I'm an optimist. I'm always an optimist. I always think that you could make these things work, but you've got to really try to do it, and to go back to your example of the same sex marriage plebiscite, one, it was a reasonably straight forward thing to understand, we knew there was a lot of Australians in favour of the proposal. But they were being asked to vote on something they were interested and cared about, from young people to old people, so you've got the results that you saw. Even in the rather surprising circumstances of an optional survey.
Indeed. Benjamin, do you draw lessons from the marriage equality experience?
Well, I think the main lesson is that plebiscites are important and they're a valuable tool for measuring public ideas. One thing that was so different to a referendum is the plebiscite on marriage equality had the liberty of just saying, would you like to see the law changed, without going into the marriage act will be adjusted in this way or that way as would have to be if it was an instance in the constitution.
The plebiscite very nearly happened in Australia as well in the late '90s, it was sunk I believe - if I'm remembering my history correctly - actually by the Greens rather ironically. It was a democrat introduced bill that Labor supported to have a plebiscite, and we can only speculate historically about what difference it would have made if Australians were just given the opportunity to express their opinion on a big issue that they were interested in.
In the late '90s the republic was an absolute hot topic issue. If they were given a question worded similarly to the same sex marriage plebiscite, 'would you like the law changed so that Australia becomes a republic?', without at that stage going into the intricacies of how the law needs to be changed. I think that would have provided an important momentum for change and a real impetus then, once the plebiscite has been passed saying this is what Australians want in principle. I think there is the extra impetus on politicians, on community leaders and others not to be a spoiler, but instead to say, well, the people have spoken so let's double our commitment to working out the technicalities and the legality to have the best possible model to suit Australia.
Benjamin, you wrote your very enjoyable book to argue the case for change, did the experience of writing it and the critical reception leave you an optimist?
Yes, and I've got almost empirical evidence in the sense that I released another book in 2013 called Project Republic which sort of made a little bit of noise and then just went away, and so I was quite pessimistic with the response.
But a few years later the response to this book seems to be far more interest and enthusiasm, so just in those few years from 2013 to now I think the public interest and appetite for republic talk has increased and one particular thing I point to is Bill Shorten committing Labor, an incoming Labor government to a plebiscite in their first term.
I think a lot of people back in 2013, even those who supported a republic almost had fatigue talking about it just as this theory or this idea that probably was never going to happen, was never going to have real political muscle behind it. The feeling I get now that Labor have committed themselves to a plebiscite is that this is real, this is actually happening, there's going to be a vote in a few years or whenever the next Labor government comes into power.
Even Turnbull actually spoke when he was still Prime Minister that he might introduce a postal plebiscite on the republic as well. So yes, that has left me broadly optimistic, at least for the plebiscite.
Well, thank you. It's been an absorbing conversation and I want to thank my guests today, Dr Benjamin Jones, the Australian Research Council Fellow in the School of History at the Australian National University, and the author of This Time: Australia's Republican Past and Future.
Benjamin, thank you for taking the time to speak to us on The Policy Shop.
My pleasure, thank you.
And to Professor Cheryl Saunders, Laureate Emeritus at the Melbourne Law School here at the University of Melbourne, Cheryl, thank you for taking time to talk about the republic yet again.
It's a pleasure, Glyn, I enjoyed it.
I'm Glyn Davis and for now I'll be hanging up the headphones. For the foreseeable future this will be my last Policy Shop episode. It's been an extraordinary journey and I never thought we'd find such a large and engaged audience, so thank you for listening and I hope we've contributed in some small way to some of the public policy discussions necessary in this society.
The Policy Shop may return with a new host, but for now it's goodbye, thank you for listening
The Policy Shop is recorded at the Horwood Studio at the University of Melbourne and is produced by Eoin Hahessy with audio engineering by Gavin Nebauer.
Copyright, University of Melbourne, 2018.
The issue of Australia becoming a republic has been in a political deep freeze for close to twenty years.
Recently however there have been attempts by the Australian Republican Movement to reignite a national conversation and, with members of the Royal Family due to visit Australia later this year, perhaps the question of Australia becoming a republic might slowly begin its long thaw.
In this episode of The Policy Shop, policy lessons from Australia’s previous fractious republican referendum in 1999 are discussed, while some models of what a possible Australian republic could look like are examined.
Episode recorded: 17 September 2018
The Policy Shop producer: Eoin Hahessy
Audio engineer: Gavin Nebauer
Banner image: Pixababy