Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Queen Must Die

Queen Elizabeth II must die, or at least abdicate so Australia can become a free republic. As the titular head of Australia's government, Britain's Queen Elizabeth stands in the way of true independence for the Land Down Under and Aussies will not vote for republic so long as Good Queen Bess reigns, said Malcolm Turnbull, opposition treasury spokesman.

In 1999, Australians voted in a referendum to establish an Australian republic, but failed to gain a majority, although the majority supported a republic, because of disagreement as to what type of republic to establish. Once a British colony to which convicts and political exiles were banished, Australia has become a federation of independent states and one of the world's most multicultural nations with immigrants from over 150 countries, most with no personal connection to Britain. Australians celebrated their diversity last Saturday, Jan. 26, with Australia Day.

The nation's majority has favored becoming a republic since 1993, opinion polls show, with most favoring a republic with a president elected by popular vote. The 1999 vote offered a republic with a president elected by vote of the parliament and a mature electorate rejected the model even though doing so would delay an independent republic for many more years.

"I said at the time of the 1999 referendum that if we voted 'no' it would mean 'no' for a very long time," said Turnbull, former head of the Australian Republican Movement. "My own judgment is that the next time when you would have your best prospects (of a republic) is at the end of the Queen's reign -- when she dies or when she abdicates." Turnbull believes the Queen's death will "galvanize the population" to seriously debate the type of republic they should have. The whole idea is very difficult for Australians for whom Elizabeth has been the only head-of-state they have ever known.

John Howard, the conservative prime minister recently turned out of office this past November, was a staunch monarchist. The current government of Kevin Rudd is avowedly republican. However, neither Rudd nor members of his government plan on another vote for republic in the near term because first, the Queen must die.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

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