I mentioned in the last diary that the Australian Republic is inevitable. I used the word as a means to legitimise constitutional change. This has been an undercurrent of Australian republican thinking since the first ships landed in Australia. Mark McKenna in "The Captive Republic" looks at the inevitability of the Republic and a larger question, just what really is a Republic? I offer my own belief as to what a Republic should entail.
Mark McKenna wrote in 1996;
For more than two centuries the familiar metaphor of Australia as a child awaiting maturation often carried within it the notion of a republican 'coming of age'. Today we are accustomed to public statements from politicians proclaiming the inevitability of the republic. But if we cast our eyes over the history of republican debate in Australia we begin to understand that the idea of an inevitable republic may be truth, it may be furphy, but Australians have used it to delay the coming of the republic as much as they have used it to legitimise the republic's arrival.
In the 1990's we have come to accept that the republic will come of its own accord - without any struggle and with little involvement on the part of the people. Like detached bystanders, we stand on the shore and wait for the boat to come in.
Much political change has come at the cost of upheaval or revolution. Australians pat themselves on the back for having bloodless changes in government, such as Federation and if the Republic had of gone through in 1999 - but for what. The "bearded fathers" of 1901 put in a poor effort and a weak constitutional system that was one hundred years behind the times. The Republican model put forward of minimalism would only have preserved the control on power the Executive Cabinet has. Like
in the previous diary on the bill of rights;
The lesson to be learned from this is that while bills of rights are useful they can, and will, be subverted should no powerful political and legal entities take a great interest in their defence.
One of the benefits of revolution is that it chucks out the existing power structures and enables them to be replaced with something innovative. The current crop of politicians are not interested in a Republic, and of those that are, such as Costello, they are more interested in maintaining the status quo of the current parliamentary system and just removing the Queen of England as the Australian head of state.
The minimalists see the Australian system as a Republic in all but name, and the only change needed to make Australia a formal republic is the constitutional change of what defines the Australian Head of State. But this isn't really the issue in the Australian republican debate. The real issue is - just what is a Republic?
James Madison wrote on this subject
What, then, are the distinctive characters of the Republican form? Were an answer to this question to be sought, not by recurring to principles but in the application of the term by political writers to the constitutions of different states, no satisfactory answer would ever be found.
Everyone defines it differently; after all, Saddam Hussein ruled over the Republic of Iraq.
What is a Republic?
South Sea Republic carries the byline, "Freedom, Liberty and Equity". In my opinion these are the fundamental pillars, for any consenting, rational individual and the society they are a part of, to suffer a government. The basis for Republican government is;
Legitimacy of government is derived from the people. In representative government there is no legitimacy without fair, uncorrupt elections that use a secret ballot.
Freedom from arbitrary rule. An individual should not have to suffer the tyranny of a government. The main purpose of a Bill of Rights is to codify the most egrigarious offensives to protect an individual from tyrannical government.
Universal suffrage. Voting is not just for citizens, but for anyone that the government has jurisdiction over. This is an extension of "no taxation without representation" and is based upon the principle of consent. Without suffrage, a government has no right to presume consent from an individual to follow a government's laws.
Government is drawn from the people, either directly or indirectly and by merit. Hereditary positions are excluded as they violate republican principles of equity.
Fully accountable arms of government, not just from elections. Government occupies the public space, not the private space. Government which is secretive, shields its operations from the public and seeks to deflect the public eye from it is not a Republican government. As a result government must be open to voluntary and spontaneous auditing by citizens at any point in time.
Government is seen as a necessary inefficiency against individual freedom to ensure an ordered society - as opposed to a chaotic one where all members of society are subject to the arbitrary wills of others. However maximum liberty is the goal, as the greatest social harmony, achievement and excellence comes from individuals who are free and not subject to the suffocating weight of an over-reaching state. This can be reduced to
; Abundance of democracy and scarcity of state, rather than what we have now, abundance of state and scarcity of democracy.
Minorities are encouraged and their rights inviolable in the Republic.A diverse society achieves as a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. To discriminate against any minority is to discriminate against the entire society, retarding the social development of all, and as such is a crime not just against the targeted minority, but against every individual that makes up the whole of the society. Discriminative government evokes a social cost that is worn by all - in the present - and the future.
The Republic is captive to what the current definition of a Republic is, as each new generation identifies their own ideals with the notion of Republicanism. I am not hip enough to know if I am GenX or GenY, but as an Australian raised in the western suburbs of Sydney and now part of the great Australian Diaspora, I reckon this is the definition of a Republic that we should be captive to .... until the next generation.
Most Popular on South Sea Republic
The articles that have been viewed the most:
Most Popular Restaurants in Phoenix
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Most Popular Hikes in Arizona
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Alternate Australian Constitutions
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
Archives For South Sea Republic
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
Who Is Cam Riley
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.
Websites Worth Reading
Websites of friends, colleagues and of interest;