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Australian Republican Movement

RoosTah

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Hey guys, with the Royal family having just arrived in Aus recently I thought I'd gauge how people here generally feel toward the monarchy. It's a bit weird in Australia at the moment, with support for a republic dropping below 50% by some measures (but by others remains at almost 70% - the kicker is whether they ask if they want one now or after Elizabeth).

There was even an article in the financial review by a rep from the young monarchists movement. It was a ridiculous article in my view, so I responded. I've been told I may get it printed this week. You can have a read below if you're interested:

Rachel Bailes' piece in the Financial Review today was an interesting insight into the mindset of people not much younger than I on the subject of Australia becoming a republic. Sadly, the insight was that the support of the monarchy is based on beliefs that are both shallow and superficial.In her piece, she cites an interest in "what works" and "what is most effective in containing the creeping power of the political classes". Contained in this statement are two fundamental ideas that simply do not survive any detailed scrutiny.

The first is that constitutional monarchies "work", or at least provide stability. This was raised by Eric Abetz, who was quoted recently in 'The Saturday Paper' as saying Germany's history was an example of the extremism that republicanism can breed.

But both Minister Abetz and Ms Bailes are guilty of confusing the signal with the noise. As so often happens, when people feel uncertainty, they cling to things that seem to work. But the data-set Abetz employs is stiflingly narrow. While far from the only example, he seems to ignore that Japan's 20th​ century history was hardly any more stable or free from extremism than his homeland, and yet an unbroken monarchy has watched over the country for over 2000 years.

The second notion alluded to in Ms Bailes statement is that a monarchy somehow provides a check on rampant political power. Again, this simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Indeed, the idea is the constitutional equivalent of the 'flat-earth' movement; constitutional monarchies of the type Britain has developed exist because the opposite was necessary.

If it were true that monarchies served to provide checks on power, there would be no republics, least of all an Irish one that was born out of British mismanagement and prejudice.
In truth, apart from the Governor General's democratically antithetical power to dismiss a sitting Australian government on their behalf, the Monarchy has almost no role at all in Australian life.

Their existence in the 21st​ century is that of quasi brand ambassadors for British culture and trade. The argument that they provide us with stability is an example of the most superficial and shallow of historical record analyses and understanding of their current role.

If it is checks against political excess that monarchists are truly desire, advocating legislative reform on the powers of the executive branch of the government would be a more rational action to take. Support for the house of Windsor will not achieve it.

All of these reasons make me opposed to having the monarchy as our head of state. But most of all it is what they represent on a fundamental level that I disagree with; an institution of entrenched (and British tax-payer funded) privilege. This is antithetical to both meritocratic and democratic principles.

As an Australian, this simply doesn't sit well with me. It means our head of state represents an institution that we would describe as being opposed to our values in different circumstances. It is for that reason that I support a republic and have trouble understanding monarchist sentiment.

Becoming a republic would not be the "upheaval" feared by monarchists either. It need only mean the removal of ties to the Monarch, with little other impact to our system of government.

The change would largely be symbolic. But symbols are important; they communicate things about our character as a nation to the wider world that we otherwise may not be able to say.

Regrettably, having the monarchy as our head of state communicates little more than a collective cognitive dissonance on our values and identity.
 
The thing that's always stalled the Republican movement in Canada is the divisions on what to replace the Queen with, there is little agreement on whether a President would be a figurehead or have real powers, or would the parliamentary system change entirely. Along with the annoying constituional battles and referenda that would need to be held in order to remove the monarchy. A lot of those that even support a republican vision would probably not have the motivation to go through all the hurdles.

The only way I can see Canada getting rid of it is if A ) The UK becomes a republic or B ) if virtually every other commonwealth country changes to a republic as well and a critical mass is reached. Polling here is similar to yours where it depends on the questions asked, though with Canada it also needs to be said that support for the Monarchy in Quebec is almost non existent so that skews the data considerably where as in English Speaking Canada I would suggets a majority support the retention of it(or certainly aren't arsed enough to have a big debate about it when there are other important issues at stake).

My view is if it isn't broken don't fix it, Canada has a heck of a lot more important issues at the moment than this, which tends to be an emotional debate anyway and not something the practically effects the way things are run. The Republican movement has never been able to convince me that's it's absolutely imperative we ditch the Monarchy.

The usual arguments about inherited power(hilariously rich argument in Canada these days as the leader of the centrist Liberal party is essentially there due to his Father having been leader), and "grown up countries have their own soverign leaders" don't exactly stir my passions, along with some of the idiots we have running for office, there is no way I'd want to see any of them as President it's bad enough they are PM candidates.
 
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I'm an anarchist/libertarian, so I'm strongly opposed to the idea of superior human beings by the grace of whoever. Given that, I'd say your system is a good one to keep the ties between countries. I don't want a king of Spain, but if he were the king of former spanish empire now countries, I wouldn't think of it like the worst of the ideas.

I know you could not find any actual reason to the queen being the one who keeps the bonding in the anglosphere. I do know that, but think about it like an intangible issue.

By the way, I have some gold australian nuggets and canadian maples and they would look weird whitout the queen face on their heads :p
 
My view is if it isn't broken don't fix it, Canada has a heck of a lot more important issues at the moment than this, which tends to be an emotional debate anyway and not something the practically effects the way things are run. The Republican movement has never been able to convince me that's it's absolutely imperative we ditch the Monarchy.

The usual arguments about inherited power(hilariously rich argument in Canada these days as the leader of the centrist Liberal party is essentially there due to his Father having been leader), and "grown up countries have their own soverign leaders" don't exactly stir my passions, along with some of the idiots we have running for office, there is no way I'd want to see any of them as President it's bad enough they are PM candidates.

The thing is, in Australia at least, it's been apparent that our system has been broken since the Whitlam government was undemocratically dismissed by the then GG, John Kerr. I'd argue that any system where an appointed representative of a foreign Monarch can dismiss a democratically elected government is fundamentally flawed.

As for the arguments about inherited power, yes there is plenty of nepotism in most societies, but as a rule we don't hold nepotism in particularly high regard. So it's more than a little odd for us to be gushing over the a tax-payer subsidised (yes, British taxes, but all the same) institution who's defining characteristic is nepotism.

In terms of systems, I think the smartest thing to do is effectively maintain everything bar the power to dismiss the government and simply change the ***les. Make the GG President and eliminate ties to the Monarchy. I'd be happy with that.

I'm an anarchist/libertarian, so I'm strongly opposed to the idea of superior human beings by the grace of whoever. Given that, I'd say your system is a good one to keep the ties between countries.
I know you could not find any actual reason to the queen being the one who keeps the bonding in the anglosphere. I do know that, but think about it like an intangible issue.

By the way, I have some gold australian nuggets and canadian maples and they would look weird whitout the queen face on their heads :p

The problem with that line of reasoning is that it assumes there's some benefit to being part of the commonwealth. There isn't. Indeed, it's put pretty well by The Lowy Interpreter's Nick Bryant when he says, far from benefits our relationship with Britain "has continually been punctuated by colonial slights and imperial underhandedness. Had successive British governments put their minds to concocting a strategy designed to alienate their Australian cousins, they could not have done much better than Gallipoli, the Melbourne Agreement during the Great Depression, the great betrayal during World War II, the British nuclear tests in the outback and entry into the Common Market."

The truth is that Australia has gained little from its relationship with Britain since Federation, and could arguably have even been said to have suffered because of it (in strategic policy circles there's a strong argument that in WW1 Australia would have been far better off simply building its own Navy and leaving Britain to its stupid and thoughtless 'tactics' in the trenches).
 
The thing is, in Australia at least, it's been apparent that our system has been broken since the Whitlam government was undemocratically dismissed by the then GG, John Kerr. I'd argue that any system where an appointed representative of a foreign Monarch can dismiss a democratically elected government is fundamentally flawed.

As for the arguments about inherited power, yes there is plenty of nepotism in most societies, but as a rule we don't hold nepotism in particularly high regard. So it's more than a little odd for us to be gushing over the a tax-payer subsidised (yes, British taxes, but all the same) institution who's defining characteristic is nepotism.

In terms of systems, I think the smartest thing to do is effectively maintain everything bar the power to dismiss the government and simply change the ***les. Make the GG President and eliminate ties to the Monarchy. I'd be happy with that.



The problem with that line of reasoning is that it assumes there's some benefit to being part of the commonwealth. There isn't. Indeed, it's put pretty well by The Lowy Interpreter's Nick Bryant when he says, far from benefits our relationship with Britain "has continually been punctuated by colonial slights and imperial underhandedness. Had successive British governments put their minds to concocting a strategy designed to alienate their Australian cousins, they could not have done much better than Gallipoli, the Melbourne Agreement during the Great Depression, the great betrayal during World War II, the British nuclear tests in the outback and entry into the Common Market."

The truth is that Australia has gained little from its relationship with Britain since Federation, and could arguably have even been said to have suffered because of it (in strategic policy circles there's a strong argument that in WW1 Australia would have been far better off simply building its own Navy and leaving Britain to its stupid and thoughtless 'tactics' in the trenches).


There was a similar type incident in Canada during the 20's known as the King-Byng affair http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Byng_affair though this was before the patriation of the Canadian constitution and the further seperation and clarification of Canada's relationship via the UK and Monarchy by extension. It's also fully possible that such incidents might still occur under a largely symbolic President who has to manage the occasional constitutional issue and this President could be even more partisan than GG's appointed by democratically elected governments.

Would you bring in another method of dismissing the government? Even in plenty of Republican states there is the choice to impeach politcians a.k.a. the United States and Nixon being forced out of office(I know he resigned before the Senate vote but knew he was going to lose and was saving face).

It's intruiging to see that this seems to be a much more important issue in Oz. In Canada I think there is a lot of apathy/indifference to this debate. There are certainly passionate supporters on both sides of the argument but it's rare I see anyone get too worked up, and when they do it's usually the Republican's acting like party poopers when some popular royals come visit which makes them come off as whingy in the press or the Monarchists being a little too sycophantic at times.

None of the major political parties touch this issue much, the Conservative party would certainly support the Status quo and I think that's there official policy, they have renamed some of the military arms back for example the Royal Canadian Navy rather than the ridiculous "Maritime Forces Command" we had for forty years. The Liberal party would also lean to status quo though I think they'd change in a heartbeat if publc opinon swayed. The NDP(our equivalent of Labour) would seem to be the most natural party to oppose the Monarchy but they've never weighed in as far as I can tell, the Quebec Speratists want her gone but that's pretty obvious as they want themselves gone as well.
 
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There was a similar type incident in Canada during the 20's known as the King-Byng affair http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Byng_affair though this was before the patriation of the Canadian constitution and the further seperation and clarification of Canada's relationship via the UK and Monarchy by extension. It's also fully possible that such incidents might still occur under a largely symbolic President who has to manage the occasional constitutional issue and this President could be even more partisan than GG's appointed by democratically elected governments.

Would you bring in another method of dismissing the government? Even in plenty of Republican states there is the choice to impeach politcians a.k.a. the United States and Nixon being forced out of office(I know he resigned before the Senate vote but knew he was going to lose and was saving face).

In the US the impeachment safeguards are necessary because of the greater reach of the President's powers. The position is far more powerful than that of a Prime Minister. Ultimately, I just don't think it's necessary in a Westminster system like ours, as if the Prime Minister lost the plot a bit, it's pretty simple for his/her own party to get rid of them. And if they don't smarten up, the chances are they won't be back come the next election anyway.
 
Personally I like having a head of state who has no political agenda and I'm intensely skeptical that a president could ever be non-partisan. I'm happy sticking with the monarchy forever. Lots of Republicans here say the NZ head of a state should be a New Zealander and that sort of thing. I couldn't really care less.
 
Personally I like having a head of state who has no political agenda and I'm intensely skeptical that a president could ever be non-partisan. I'm happy sticking with the monarchy forever. Lots of Republicans here say the NZ head of a state should be a New Zealander and that sort of thing. I couldn't really care less.

Yeah, I deal with that in my first post. No offence, but the idea that you want a monarch to be your head of state because you don't trust politicians is one of the dumbest statements that monarchists pull out. If you get a crap politician, you can vote him/her out. If get a wack-job Monarch, you're stuck with 'em for the rest of their life.
 
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Yeah, I deal with that in my first post. No offence, but the idea that you want a monarch to be your head of state because you don't trust politicians is one of the dumbest statements that monarchists pull out. If you get a crap politician, you can vote him/her out. If get a wack-job Monarch, you're stuck with 'em for the rest of their life.

That's not what I said though and that's not what I have heard any Monarchist say. I never said anywhere in my post that I don't trust politicians. I said I like having a non-partisan head of state. Any president will be basically always partisan. I tend to be right wing but I don't want a right wing head of state. I want a head of state all New Zealanders can look upon fondly and not bring political considerations into the mix. If I get a wack-job Monarch it doesn't even matter to me, as long as they aren't political.

I don't want a political head of state no matter how competent or trust worthy they are. No matter how trust worthy they are some people will always thing otherwise.
 
That's not what I said though and that's not what I have heard any Monarchist say. I never said anywhere in my post that I don't trust politicians. I said I like having a non-partisan head of state. Any president will be basically always partisan. I tend to be right wing but I don't want a right wing head of state. I want a head of state all New Zealanders can look upon fondly and not bring political considerations into the mix. If I get a wack-job Monarch it doesn't even matter to me, as long as they aren't political.

I don't want a political head of state no matter how competent or trust worthy they are. No matter how trust worthy they are some people will always thing otherwise.

To be honest, saying that you want the head of state to be outside of politics doesn't really require a monarch... There are plenty of note-worth people you could appoint as a president who have no interest in Politics.

At the end of the day I just think the whole idea of a monarchy is just plain stupid and completely the opposite of what we pretend our values are. There's just no other circumstance in a democratic country where anyone would think it's a good idea to have a job given to people purely on the basis of who their parents are.

Also, as an Australian who knows his history, I just don't feel we ought to stay tied to those back-stabbing f#$ks in England. They hardly deserve our admiration after all they've done these last 100 years.
 
The problem with that line of reasoning is that it assumes there's some benefit to being part of the commonwealth. There isn't. Indeed, it's put pretty well by The Lowy Interpreter's Nick Bryant when he says, far from benefits our relationship with Britain "has continually been punctuated by colonial slights and imperial underhandedness. Had successive British governments put their minds to concocting a strategy designed to alienate their Australian cousins, they could not have done much better than Gallipoli, the Melbourne Agreement during the Great Depression, the great betrayal during World War II, the British nuclear tests in the outback and entry into the Common Market."

The truth is that Australia has gained little from its relationship with Britain since Federation, and could arguably have even been said to have suffered because of it (in strategic policy circles there's a strong argument that in WW1 Australia would have been far better off simply building its own Navy and leaving Britain to its stupid and thoughtless 'tactics' in the trenches).

Diversity, China, more diversity, white guilt, ties with Asia/Pacific...

Exactly, he puts it very well. As southamerican countries (former spanish provinces, not colonies) have become kind of USA puppet states or even worse in an effort to get away from that state of things like Cuba or Venezuela droping themselves into the arms of USSR/Iran, etc...you'll end up like a chinese protectorate. Southamericans...They wanted to split, and when they did, Washington was ready for the ambush.

Only western white people celebrate diversity as an ending to a purpose or like a good thing per se.

I'm not saying your points are kind of a brainless liberal, nor even telling you have to worship an english human being. Just telling to deal with your actual past, incorporate them in some ways to your present and keep it as far as they remain largely simbolic.

Rituals, symbols, culture...that's what I'm talking about. Intangible issues. I'm jewish, I do know what I'm talking about.
 
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Diversity, China, more diversity, white guilt, ties with Asia/Pacific...

Exactly, he puts it very well. As southamerican countries (former spanish provinces, not colonies) have become kind of USA puppet states or even worse in an effort to get away from that state of things like Cuba or Venezuela droping themselves into the arms of USSR/Iran, etc...you'll end up like a chinese protectorate. Southamericans...They wanted to split, and when they did, Washington was ready for the ambush.

Only western white people celebrates diversity as an ending to a purpose or like a good thing per se.

I'm not saying your points are kind of a brainless liberal, nor even telling you have to worship an english human being. Just telling to deal with your actual past, incorporate them in some ways to your present and keep it as far as they remain largely simbolic.

Rituals, symbols, culture...that's what I'm talking about. Intangible issues. I'm jewish, I do know what I'm talking about.

I don't consider myself a liberal. In fact I consider myself a moderate conservative. I'm also passionate about my country, and I can tell you now that if you had the barest idea of Australian 20th century history, you'd know it was one of dogged Australian loyalty to the mother country punctuated by British betrayal at every turn. Australia has been its own country for over a hundred years, and we have plenty of our own traditions and symbols at this point, so we hardly need to continue piggybacking off our forebears.

Look, I'm not saying your points are a load of sentimental, unimaginative and antiquated bulls#!%, but Australian culture doesn't need the symbols and rituals of some bloated pommy monarchy to survive. Heck, if that were important, the United States wouldn't be the most powerful country in the world and Britain wouldn't have virtually gone bankrupt after WWII. Or do you think the French and the Irish feel their societies are poorer because they don't force their tax payers to subsidise the family of a pack of murderers from the middle ages to sit around expensive estates drinking expensive whisky and wine?

I agree with you on one thing though, rituals and symbols are important, and that's why I'm a republican. Because it's important that we stop borrowing our identity and symbols off people we only superficially resemble. Otherwise we're little better than religious folk who borrow their morals and identity from the words of dead men who lived in an age punctuated by ignorance and brutality.

As for South America and US protectorate states... well, again, you clearly don't know d*ck about Australia if you don't know that it was the US that saved our ass after English incompetence left us open for invasion in WWII, and that we've effectively been a US protectorate state ever since. Heck, in a certain sense it would be more logical to have the US President as our symbolic head of state. At least US power is actually relevant in Australia. Because I can tell you one thing: our ties with Britain will mean f#** all if China's power continues on its current trajectory - that's why we're strengthening our ties with Washington, Japan and South Korea.
 
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Hey don't get me wrong Tallshort, nothing against the British people, but our association with England has been anything but helpful since federation, and I don't think any informed Englishman would deny that. So I honestly don't see how or why the connection via the monarchy has any rational or symbolic reason to remain.
 
"Also, as an Australian who knows his history, I just don't feel we ought to stay tied to those back-stabbing f#$ks in England. They hardly deserve our admiration after all they've done these last 100 years."

So if thats not directed at the British people then who is it directed at? and how the **** can you claim anyone stabbed you in the back?
 
It's an interesting argument and one which is also being talked about a lot in New Zealand. I tend to agree with you sanzas.

I would like New Zealand to become a republic for many of the same reasons as you wish Australia. I like remaining a member of the Commonwealth - all my Grandparents are English and so I do in some senses view England as a country of many New Zealanders origins and historically we have fought and died for the same causes. However I don't feel our relationship is what it was. From an econimic sense the UK abandoned us when they joined the EU, and we now have a better trading relationship with Australia, US and Japan - and free trade with other countries that we don't have with the U.K. Having a non-elected representitive in a Governor-General is just as token as any 'president' and at least provides a genuinely democratic check - to a democratic system. I also agree that it's obsurd for individuals to inherit a superior status, and the role of the monarch seems to take on more of an 'entertainment' factor than that of a diplomatic one.

The genuine arguments against it are as LittleGuy states - its role is symbolic. If it causes any realy problems to the government, the government will ultimately remove it. One has to wonder if it generally serves its role as a system of checks and balances if it could be removed. However the political infrastructure changing can be genuinly problematic. Not only does it mean throwing another election for a president - it effects legal documents. In New Zealand - the Treaty of Waitangi is one of the most controversal and historically important documents in New Zealand's history. It guarentees certain indigenous rights from the Crown. If we change to a republic, does the government of New Zealand (which represented the crown as all legislative has to be approved by the governor-general) still have to honour the treaty? In reality I think they would, but in principal they wouldn't have to. My current job is a political pollist - so I know one option being floated around is to change to a head of state elected by two-thirds majority of parliment - while the other is an election to detirmine a head of state - which has its merits but I feel New Zealand is generally too apathetic to politics to really investigate candidates, especially when their likely job will be to tick documents handed to them.

On a similar topic - one of the biggest debates in New Zealand is whether we should keep our flag or change it. There is a referendum in New Zealand in November on this issue. While it smacks of John Key trying to put a stamp on his time as Prime Minister - there are many that feel the Union Jack is not longer culturally relevant to New Zealand, and the flag is too similar in degisn to Australia. I personally am also in favour of a change of flag - however I would be against changing to anything that I felt didn't represent New Zealand as whole. So far the silver fern has been suggested - which while a bit tacky (and people for some reason don't want a black flag - which personally I'd love to be associated with pirates) I wouldn't hate.

Ultimately I just find the idea of a monarch being in charge of a country they don't live in...a bit patronizing. It's like "I know we don't do anything for you, but we'll visit you like we own you...aren't you lucky!". As far as colonization goes, we're pretty lucky. We were taken over at a time in history where Britain wasn't truly invested in expanding an empire - and if truth be told didn't have a whole lot of local opposition to contest with - and so our colonization was pretty smooth sailing. Regardless, I feel becoming a republic is the inevitable conclusion of New Zealand, we're stable and unreliant on England. I don't have the (what I feel is) harsh views sanzar has on the English - I just think we may as well leave sooner rather than later.
 
"Also, as an Australian who knows his history, I just don't feel we ought to stay tied to those back-stabbing f#$ks in England. They hardly deserve our admiration after all they've done these last 100 years."

So if thats not directed at the British people then who is it directed at? and how the **** can you claim anyone stabbed you in the back?

The British government stabbed us in the back with both the wanton disregard for Australian lives in WW1 (and your own too) and again with the Singapore solution in WWII. The Singapore solution in particular was more than just incompetence, it was emblematic of a complete disinterest in the future of the country and a poor show of gratitude for 300,000 Australians served and 60,000 lives so needlessly lost for Britain in WW1.
 
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It's an interesting argument and one which is also being talked about a lot in New Zealand. I tend to agree with you sanzas.

I would like New Zealand to become a republic for many of the same reasons as you wish Australia. I like remaining a member of the Commonwealth - all my Grandparents are English and so I do in some senses view England as a country of many New Zealanders origins and historically we have fought and died for the same causes. However I don't feel our relationship is what it was. From an econimic sense the UK abandoned us when they joined the EU, and we now have a better trading relationship with Australia, US and Japan - and free trade with other countries that we don't have with the U.K. Having a non-elected representitive in a Governor-General is just as token as any 'president' and at least provides a genuinely democratic check - to a democratic system. I also agree that it's obsurd for individuals to inherit a superior status, and the role of the monarch seems to take on more of an 'entertainment' factor than that of a diplomatic one.

The genuine arguments against it are as LittleGuy states - its role is symbolic. If it causes any realy problems to the government, the government will ultimately remove it. One has to wonder if it generally serves its role as a system of checks and balances if it could be removed. However the political infrastructure changing can be genuinly problematic. Not only does it mean throwing another election for a president - it effects legal documents. In New Zealand - the Treaty of Waitangi is one of the most controversal and historically important documents in New Zealand's history. It guarentees certain indigenous rights from the Crown. If we change to a republic, does the government of New Zealand (which represented the crown as all legislative has to be approved by the governor-general) still have to honour the treaty? In reality I think they would, but in principal they wouldn't have to. My current job is a political pollist - so I know one option being floated around is to change to a head of state elected by two-thirds majority of parliment - while the other is an election to detirmine a head of state - which has its merits but I feel New Zealand is generally too apathetic to politics to really investigate candidates, especially when their likely job will be to tick documents handed to them.

Constitutional issues shouldn't really be all that complex; you just substitute "crown" for "government of New Zealand".

On a similar topic - one of the biggest debates in New Zealand is whether we should keep our flag or change it. There is a referendum in New Zealand in November on this issue. While it smacks of John Key trying to put a stamp on his time as Prime Minister - there are many that feel the Union Jack is not longer culturally relevant to New Zealand, and the flag is too similar in degisn to Australia. I personally am also in favour of a change of flag - however I would be against changing to anything that I felt didn't represent New Zealand as whole. So far the silver fern has been suggested - which while a bit tacky (and people for some reason don't want a black flag - which personally I'd love to be associated with pirates) I wouldn't hate.

Ultimately I just find the idea of a monarch being in charge of a country they don't live in...a bit patronizing. It's like "I know we don't do anything for you, but we'll visit you like we own you...aren't you lucky!". As far as colonization goes, we're pretty lucky. We were taken over at a time in history where Britain wasn't truly invested in expanding an empire - and if truth be told didn't have a whole lot of local opposition to contest with - and so our colonization was pretty smooth sailing. Regardless, I feel becoming a republic is the inevitable conclusion of New Zealand, we're stable and unreliant on England. I don't have the (what I feel is) harsh views sanzar has on the English - I just think we may as well leave sooner rather than later.

This. The whole thing is just so stupid it's beyond words...

As for a new flag, we both need them. At the moment the Aus and NZ flags are a joke. Quite literally too - Jerry Seinfeld commented that Australia's flag was simply "Britain at night", so lacking in imagination and so poorly reflecting its inhabitance.
 
In the US the impeachment safeguards are necessary because of the greater reach of the President's powers. The position is far more powerful than that of a Prime Minister. Ultimately, I just don't think it's necessary in a Westminster system like ours, as if the Prime Minister lost the plot a bit, it's pretty simple for his/her own party to get rid of them. And if they don't smarten up, the chances are they won't be back come the next election anyway.

Don't have too much time ATM, but this is a major diffference between Canada and Oz. The Canadian Prime Minister has been frequently evaluated as the most powerful executive in the Western World with little checks to his/her power, this might be a large cause of the differences in our points of view on this issue, having followed Oz politics casually I've noticed how easy for the caucus to remove Leaders, here it's considerably more difficult though it did happen recently at the provincial level in Alberta where the unpopular Premier was forced out by her party(and the public by opinion).
 
I am one of those that would like to see a Presidential system here in Canada, but to be honest, as LG said earlier, there are a lot more pressing concerns in Canada. There has been talk about bring Harry over and having him start his own branch of the monarchy and I would be open to that too. Apparently Canada had considered bring over KG6 before his brother was forced out back home. Someone also said earlier that the GG is a fairly unbiased political post in Canada and I do like that. When/if we move to a Presidential system the Position of President would become a lot more political by default and I am not sure I would like that change either.
 
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