No President needed in a Democracy
The highly respected Republican Peter FitzSimons recommends a hybrid Republic with candidates for President nominated by each state government then voted on by the people. “It is primarily ceremonial, to call elections and endorse government”.
Why, if abandoning Royalty, would Aussies hanker after the expensive and dangerous ceremonial trappings of Royalty that actually deprive voters of direct control of their own democracy, as Labor voters believe happened with Gough Whitlam?
The country can be well run by our elected MPs and PM. I am surprised that Mr. FitzSimons would set up a repeat of The Dismissal. He sees us getting an “eminent person”. “This process ensures that Australia’s most distinguished, respected and trusted citizens will be in the starting line- up.”
More likely we will get an ex-politician, a friend of politicians or somebody that 90% of Australians don’t know, respect or trust. Politicians will pick the President to look after them, not the people. In a country of 26 million, voters will get a choice from 11 mostly unknown candidates.
This person, Mr. FitzSimons says “ Will represent and embody the dignity of the Australian people.” What, all 26 million of us?? The president would appoint as PM the person who controls the majority in Parliament.”
The Australian voters already appoint the PM by the party they vote into power. They do not need a “President” to endorse or reject that.
If Australians want a republic the role of the Governor General should surely just disappear. The PM who the voters elect should be the head of state. That is how Australian see their PM now. Most would not even know who the current GG was, or care.
The President would not be responsible to the people, but to the state governments who put that person forward. This person would be able to dismiss an elected government!!
Voters are far more able in 2022 to control inappropriate action by their MPs than was the case 50 years ago in 1972. It is now 35 years since I launched the Votergram Service, Voterlobby, FairGO and Voters Network. Voters are far more engaged with government than they were then.
In almost all cases politicians now accept sensible and fair solutions suggested to them by Voters. The Australian voters, not a politically appointed President, should be the ones to have Total Control and thus enjoy “Government by the people, for the people”. If they are denied that, a quick campaign by voters in some marginal electorates soon changes the government.
Politicians and the people are a good combination. It is hard to see why that would not work well. Australians can do ceremony, without forgoing control of government.