Australian Republic 1999

Another Australian-related thread for DMA, Wombat and other Aussies: In Nov 1999 IIRC, Australia held a referendum to decide whether the country should become a limited republic (that is, candidates for pres not directly elected by the ppl, but arranged by the politicians themselves). The proposal was defeated due to the lack of a 2/3 majority vote, but what would've happened had the vote somehow actually been in favour of the proposed change ? How would Australia look like today ?
A couple of things Melvin:

1) Australian referendums don't need a 2/3's majority. They require a majority of votes (50% + 1 vote) with such a win in the majority of states (4 out of 6). The Territories aren't included in this last requirement to fulfill Sec. 128, but their votes do go towards the overall total.

2) I voted against the "politician's republic" because it was exactly that - a political structure put together which thoroughly ignored the public's wishes & pampered the politicians.

3) In keeping with point 2, 55% of other Australians smelled the same politician's bullshit that I did & voted NO! So you've got to deal with this all important aspect first, & considering most of us Australians are very skeptical about anything politicans tell us, I wish you good luck with your POD :rolleyes:

4) If they put forward a republic, wherein Australians voted directly for the President (who had no power apart from moral persuasion & acted only as Head of State), the referdendum would pass in all states with a 70% majority. But the politicans don't want that because the President would be thoroughly independent & could make themselves a real pest if they took a stance, opposite to that of the government's, on particular unpopular issues.

So with those four points in mind, in considering your question, I'd cynically suggest that there would be no difference whatsoever than is currently the case in Australian political & cultural life. The situation would be merely one where the word "Governor-General" has been liquid papered over & the word "President" written in its place.

If, however, we had a directly elected President, completely independent, well that's whole different matter. So when an unpopular policy is being debated, say Australia's involvement in Iraq, the government may not only have to deal with a negative reaction by the Australian People, but might also have an outspoken President on its hands suggesting that the government change its mind. As a result, it's completely possible that Australia would have kept out of the entire sorry mess in Iraq instead of being a partner.