Greens Senator Bob Brown will today introduce legislation to enable a vote at the next federal election on whether Australia should become a republic.
Senator Brown says discussion of whether Australia should become a republic should be back on the agenda and voters should be able to have a say at the next election, which would most likely be in 2010.
"This is a bill to have a plebiscite with the next election in 2010 to ask people whether they want a republic - yes or no," he said.
"That would lead onto a further vote down the line if people vote yes - and I believe they will - as to what sort of a republic."
Senator Brown denies it's the wrong time to revive the Republican debate amid the global financial crisis.
"I think people have got to have a spectrum of things to be thinking about and looking forward to and the country doesn't stop because of the financial crisis," he said.
"This is a thing about values and how we value our nation.
"It's a stimulus to put the issue back onto the agenda."
In 1999 a referendum to change Australia to a republic was defeated.
Defeated, and RIGHTLY SO. The Australian modification of the Westminster System works very well, thank you - the guardian of the constitution is (or ought to be) responsible to the Crown and not to the Government of the day, and may sack that government if it is engaging in unseemly behavious (as Sir John Kerr did to Gough Whitlam 33 years ago today). In matters of grave import, the combined Prime Ministers of the dominions may enforce their will upon the monarch (as they did upon Edward VIII to force either his abdication or his rejection of Wallis Simpson).
If this is a "thing about values and how we value our nation", maybe Mr Brown should ask himself whether he really values his. My personal opinion is that the Greens and the Australian Labor Party are motivated in their republican agenda by a virulent streak of anglophobia, with Labor additionally bearing a grudge for what was done to Whitlam. I think both parties have chips on their shoulders, which they think a change to the system of government would rid them of.
It used to be that the Governor-General was chosen from the United Kingdon, which made them completely independent of the Australian Government and utterly non-partisan. I would like to see not only the retention of the constitutional monarchy but a return to the system of external imposition.
I do not want to see a popularly elected president in this country. I fear what we would have is a political version of Australian Idol, with the victory going to the candidate who raised the most cash and looked best on TV. Nor do I want to see a president chosen by Parliament (even a vast majority of Parliament) unless it is graven immutably upon the constitution that the candidate(s) must never, ever, ever have had any significant ties to any political party.
I do not trust the republican movement in this country - not one little bit. I think they, particularly the politicians who have an investment in it, want it for all the wrong reasons. I will vote NO in any plebiscite or referendum that is put on the matter.
I am proud of my country, of its system of government, and of the cultural heritage which gave rise to both. To vote for a republic would be to betray that pride, and would in my mind be tantamount to treason.