Next Governor-General should not be a “captain’s call" – Republic Movement call for democratic decision

The Republic Movement calls on the Prime Minister to give Australians a say in the appointment of the next Governor-General.

Peter FitzSimons AM, National Chair of the Australian Republic Movement, has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to propose that the Government conduct a vote of the Parliament, or a vote of the people, before the appointment of the next Governor-General.

Mr FitzSimons writes:

"We suggest that you take the opportunity to involve the Australian community in this decision and to trial a method of selection for a future Australian head of state. You could open the process up to wide nominations before moving to a resolution of the House and Senate (moved by you and the Opposition Leader) to advise the Queen to appoint a Governor-General – a method which would in effect trial election of a head of state by Parliament. Alternatively, you could nominate one or several leading Australian individuals to the people for endorsement in a national vote - a method which would in effect trial election of a head of state by the voters."

[The full letter is available here]

Michael Cooney, National Director of the Australian Republic Movement, says this is an important step for democracy and inclusion.

"Australians should have more say in this decision. Our institutions should be more democratic. There should be an opportunity for Australians to nominate a person or to vote on the position," says Mr Cooney.

"And our institutions should be more inclusive. Choosing the Governor-General should not be a 'captain's call' where the Prime Minister picks from a handful of boardroom buddies, retired lawyers or military leaders. We believe Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women, and Indigenous Australians should have an equal opportunity to serve."

The Republic Movement calls for a national vote in 2020 on the questions "should Australia have an Australian as our head of state", and "should the head of state be elected by the Parliament or elected by the voters", to be followed by a referendum to change the constitution in 2022.

Contact: media@republic.org.au