Why should Australia become a republic?

Australia should have an Australian as our head of state, someone who lives here and is proud to be an Aussie. The advantages are that:

1) We’ll have a head of state that will put Australia and its interests first in all situations - the Queen or King of England will never be able to represent us properly while we share them with lots of other countries (15 others!);

2) We’ll be able to choose an Aussie as our head of state, instead of being told which British person we have to have because of their family connections;

3) Our constitution will be 100% Australian and independent of other countries; and

4) We’ll have a head of state that can represent Aussie values – mateship, equality and a fair go - more than a foreign royal family ever could.

Australia is ready to stand on its own two feet - we are independent and deserve to be the ones who make the ultimate decisions about our future. After all, every Australian child should be able to aspire to hold the top job. Plus, it's what most Aussies want.

What is a republic?

A republic is a country where power is completely in the hands of the people, rather than sharing that power with a Queen or King like we currently do.

The Queen of England holds the top job as Australia’s head of state. She appoints the Governor-General as her representative to act on her behalf. Her representative must approve every law made by our Parliament, every election and the appointment of every government. Becoming a republic means Australians will do all of this for ourselves without asking the Queen of England or her representative for approval.

So we'll have a president like the USA? No.

No. They have a completely different kind of republic where the President has lots of power over the government. An Aussie republic will keep our current parliamentary democracy with the Prime Minister in charge, but we’ll have the advantage of an Aussie as head of state to represent us with similar powers to the Governor-General.

But what if I don't trust politicians?

A republic means that authority comes from the people. So not matter what the pollies get up to there will always be an Aussie at the top to put us first. The constitution belongs to Australians, so instead of the top job belonging to the English Queen (or King), it makes more sense to have an Aussie head of state to represent us. This is an issue of national pride, not politics.

How do we change the Constitution?

The Australian Constitution can only be changed through a Referendum – a national vote by all Australians.

For a referendum question to succeed there needs to be a double majority. This means more than 50 per cent of all voting age Australians must vote ‘yes’, and a majority must also vote ‘yes’ in at least four of the six states.

What are the steps to become a Republic?

  • 2015: Republic supporters came together from across Australia to join the movement
  • 2016-2017: Volunteers build a grassroots campaign to spread the message to as many people as possible
  • 2018: With supporters spreading the message, the republic becomes a national issue (get involved today) 
  • 2019: Our leaders consult the Australian people about becoming a republic, and the best proposals are added to a short-list for the public to vote on
  • 2020: A national vote (plebiscite) is held on the questions:
  1. ‘Should Australia have an Australian head of state?’
  2. 'How should we choose our head of state?’
  • Now that most Aussies think Australia should be a republic and we know how they want to choose their head of state, a final YES/NO vote (referendum) will be held to give Australians the final say over whether the constitution gets updated, or keeps a foreign Queen/King reigning over us.

Doesn’t the Queen give us stability? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

The system is broke as long as an Aussie citizen is being denied the top job, and we have to share our head of state with lots of other countries. And even if the system seems to be fine, we should always be looking to upgrade to a better, 100% Aussie system. Australia is one of the best countries in the world for many reasons, including its belief in a fair go, equality, freedom and mateship. We’ve worked hard to make Australia one of the best countries in the world – it wasn’t given to us by the monarchy.

Aren't there more important issues?

Of course, there will always be pressing day-to-day issues – no one is saying that becoming a republic is the very top priority, but that shouldn’t stop us from making the system work better for us. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. And in a time of uncertainty, becoming a republic shows that we are confident and in control of our future.

What about the flag? Australia Day? The anthem?

Those are separate issues. The Australian Republic Movement is only focused on Australia becoming a republic, and the more people that come together around this common goal the stronger we are. When Australia becomes a republic we can look forward to celebrating a moment in history that Australians can all collectively own – our independence day.

What about the Royal Family? I like the Queen

Lots of republic supporters respect the Queen, but becoming a republic is a decision we need to make for ourselves. The Queen has always said that it’s up to Australians to decide for ourselves. It’s not about the royals – it’s about us.

As a republic within the Commonwealth we will always acknowledge the role the UK has played in our past, and future monarchs will continue to visit and be received by an Australian head of state as friends and equals.

Do we even need a head of state?

Every country has one – plus it’s good to have a someone who is above politics to represent the nation and Aussie people.

What about Indigenous Australians?

While the Australian Republic Movement is only focused on the campaign for a republic, our goal is a fully Australian constitution. Becoming a republic means paying respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the ongoing, central role of our First Peoples in our identity and our shared future as Australians.

Is this about multiculturalism?

Becoming a republic is about declaring our sovereignty as one Australian people, and having a fully independent Australian nation. An Australian republic will honour and respect our Indigenous heritage and culture, British heritage and immigrant heritage as part of our unique Aussie identity.

Why doesn’t parliament just vote on it?

The only way to become a republic is to have a referendum (national vote) to change the constitution. This is because the constitution belongs to the people, not parliament, and only Australian voters have the power to change it. 

Won't this cost?

We won’t be given a republic for free, but the government can easily afford it - just like they keep money aside to have elections, or keep Parliament running every year.  The Royal Family don’t come free either: we’ll have to change all our money when Charles becomes King, and continue paying for royal visits. 

Can we stay in the Commonwealth?

Of course! Most Commonwealth nations have already stepped up to become republics. Less than a third of member nations still have the Queen as their head of state. We will still host the Commonwealth Games and keep our close friendships with other nations, but we will be respected and recognised as fully independent.

Didn't we do this before?

A republic vote was narrowly lost in the 90s, and since then Australia has become even more independent and has developed an even greater sense of our own national identity. Now a new generation of Aussies want to have a say on the issue, including some young republic supporters who weren’t even born at the time of the last vote. The important lessons from the past have made the Movement even stronger today by focusing on 1) bipartisan support, 2) unity among republicans, and 3) grassroots campaigning.

What model of republic will Australia have?

An Australian republic would remain a parliamentary democracy just like we currently have. But instead of having a Governor-General representing Australia’s head of state - The Queen of England - we'd have someone representing the Australian people. The PM would still be in charge, but we'd have a head of state representing Australia and carrying out constitutional duties.

The Australian Republic Movement is campaigning for an independent constitution, with an Australian citizen as head of state with similar powers to the current Governor-General. At the moment we are focused on the question, ‘Should Australia have an Australian head of state?'. Once we've built consensus on this, the public will have a say on how an Australian head of state is chosen. 

What does a head of state do?

An Australian head of state will likely have a combination of 1) Ceremonial duties, 2) Government duties such as giving assent to legislation, authorising elections and opening the Parliament, and 3) 'Reserve powers' to be used in certain circumstances. The role would have similar powers to the Governor-General.

Who are the ARM?

The Australian Republic Movement represents millions of Aussies that want one of their own as head of state. We’ve been leading the conversation on Australian independence for over 25 years. Our campaign is powered by people in towns and cities across the country, and we help them become leaders to drive the conversation. If you’re passionate about your country we’d like you to be part of the team.

Are you a political party?

The Australian Republic Movement is a non-political organisation solely focused on making Australia a republic. Our supporters come from all sides of politics, and our members are regular Aussies who are proud of their country and interested in its future. 

Where can I sign up?

Become a member hereWe are powered by our members, every person that joins brings us closer to finally having an Australian as head of state.