Republic Advisory Committee

Republic Advisory Committee

The Republic Advisory Committee was a committee established by the then Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating in May 1993 to examine the constitutional and legal issues that would arise were Australia to become a republic. It was asked to consider issues such as

* a name for a new elected head of state;
* the method of selection for the head of state;
* what powers he or she should possess;
* the constitutional amendments and legal changes required to replace the Queen of Australia and Her Representative, the Governor-General of Australia by an elected native head of state.

Monarchists state that it is a matter of public record that when non-republicans requested to participate this was refused. The reason given was that the committee was only to explore republican options. Consequently critics alleged that both the Committee and its remit were observably framed to exclude non-republican input from preparing matters to go before the wider public, in effect if not in intent. (This effect cannot now be examined, and questions of intent are too subjective to go into.) It is certainly notable that many of the members of the Republic Advisory Committee (listed below) were people who had campaigned for, or expressed a clear opinion in favour of, an Australian Republic, and that none had opposed one.

Republic Advisory Committee membership

Malcolm Turnbullchairman (and leading Australian republican campaigner)
Nick GreinerFormer New South Wales Premier
Dr. John HurstLa Trobe University, Convenor of Australian Republican Movement
Mary Kostakidismedia presenter, SBS TV; member, Constitutional Centenary Foundation
Lois O'Donoghue CBE, AMChair, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Commission
Susan RyanFormer Labor Party senator & Education Minister
Professor George WintertonProfessor of Law, University of New South Wales
Dr. Glyn DavisSchool of Politics and Public Policy, Griffith University
Naomi Dougallsolicitor

The Republic Advisory Committee submitted two Volumes (Volume I - The Options and Volume II - the Appendices) to the Australian Prime Minister in late 1993. Part of Volume II was concerned with the international experience in moving from monarchical to republican headships of state. Six international reports were commissioned from local experts; four of the countries were former Commonwealth monarchies, while two had experienced their own regime change when their own monarchies (the Hohenzollerns in Germany, the Habsburgs in Austria) were replaced by republics.

Reports commissioned by the Republic Advisory Committee

CountryReport byQualifications
AustriaProfessor Bernhard RaschauerProfessor, Institute for Public and Administrative Law, University of Vienna
GermanyProfessor Klaus Von BeymeProfessor of Political Science, University of Heidelberg
IndiaA.G. NooraniFormerly at Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, now working as a freelance journalist
IrelandJim DuffyAuthor of major study on the Presidency of Ireland and political commentator/analyst
MauritiusMadun Gujadhurbarrister at the English, Indian & Mauritian bars and Chairman of the Mauritian Law Reform Commission
Trinidad and TobagoSir Ellis Clarkeformer Governor-General of Trinidad and Tobago, who went on to serve as its first president

The recommendations made by the committee were never voted on by the Australian people. A Constitutional Convention was held in 1998, resulting in a slightly different proposal which was rejected by the Australian electorate in the 1999 referendum.

Additional information

Copies of the Reports were published under the following ISBNs

Volume One - The OptionsISBN 0-644-32590-9
Volume Two - The AppendicesISBN 0-644-32589-5

External links

* [ Republican History - the Republic Advisory Committee]
* on the failure of the 1999 republican referendum

ee also

*Australian republicanism
*Bi-partisan appointment republican model
*Direct election republican model

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