Students say Yes to an Australian republic
There were twenty-seven students from Queensland among 122 Year 11 and 12 students who attended the National Schools' Constitutional Convention in Old Parliament House, Canberra between 29 April and 1 May 2008.
Wavell SHS students (Qld delegates), Kate Stevenson and Temiah Henaway
On the Convention topic Australian Republic: to be or not to be? the students, who were from across all states and territories, voted in favour of a republic. In response to the question: are you in favour of the Australian Constitution being amended to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic? 54% were in favour and 45% were not (There was one informal response).
The students listened as experts in constitutional law outlined three possible republic models for Australia:
Model 1: A republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President selected and appointed by the Prime Minister.
Model 2: A republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.
Model 3: A republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President elected directly by the electors of Australia.
Each student was required to deliver a brief address outlining their point of view. Following discussion and debate, the students took part in a mock referendum using a preference voting system to determine the preferred model: Model 2 was favoured by 73.1% of students; Model 1 by 18.5%; and Model 3 by 8.4%.
It was only the second time in thirteen years that delegates to the Convention voted in favour of amending the Australian Constitution. Decisions taken at the Convention were presented to Deputy President of the Senate, John Hogg, Senator for Queensland, for tabling in the Senate.
The votes in favour of an Australian republic at both the National Schools Constitutional Convention and the 2020 Conference show a mood swing in favour of a republican Australia.
Three cheers for the coming republlic!