When republics, beginning with India in 1949, were first admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations, Australia remained strongly attached to the Crown and the King’s (later the Queen’s) role as Head of the Commonwealth. Indeed, many Australians had seen a shared Crown as axiomatic, and a symbol of Commonwealth unity. Despite bursts of republicanism in Australia during the 19th and 20th centuries, it was not until the 1990s that a republic appeared likely. One historic driver of anti-British Australian republicanism has been the Irish heritage of many Australians. As republicanism grew, it was important that Australia could remain in the Commonwealth as a republic. The past decade has seen a stronger sentiment in Australia than in the other ‘old Dominions’—New Zealand and Canada—that national independence and identity require the symbol of a home-grown head of state, rather than one seen as British. The growth of republicanism in such countries, and in Britain itself, would be likely to encourage republicanism in Australia. Australia’s republican majority has been frustrated by its inability to agree on a model for parliamentary selection or direct election of the president. No Commonwealth country provides a model which Australians find compelling.
Field of Research
160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society