Article Index

Will Trade Improve Under a Politicians’ Republic?

There is no valid reasoning for arguing that Australians would think better of ourselves and become more loyal and united and more respected by our Asian neighbours if Australia became a republic.


A republic would improve our trade relations with Asia.


This is a republican red herring! In reality, Asian leaders would be gravely concerned at any threat to stable government which might occur under a new constitution and a new system of government. Indeed, such changes could adversely affect all our trade relations, not simply Asian ones.

A bigger threat to our sovereignty are the more that 2000 foreign treaties signed by Australia under the previous Federal Labor Government.


'Constant debate abort identity implies either that we don't already have one, or worse, that it is somewhat inadequate ... ... if Australia starts disavowing its history, or disowning its values, or changing its institutions simply because we think countries in our region will respect us more for doing so, we will be badly mistaken'.
The Hon J.W. Howard. (Then Leader of the Opposition) Speech. 'A Reflection on the National Identity Debate' 13 December 1995.

'The British High Commissioner, Sir Roger Carrick, yesterday warned that Australia's relationship with Britain could be damaged if his country was dragged into the republican debate. Sir Roger said it was 'none of our business' whether Australia became a republic and neither government could allow the 'tabloid level of comment' to affect the substance of the bilateral relationship. The UK could be dragged into the debate by others, beyond our two governments, in a way that could damage the bilateral relationship gratuitously,' Sir Roger said.'
Gabrielle Chan (Journalist) Article: 'UK envoy warns on republic debate' "The Australian" 12 December 1995 p5

There is no valid reasoning for arguing that Australians would think better of ourselves and become more loyal and united and more respected by our Asian neighbours if Australia became a republic.

'There is no good reason for changing the Constitution to a republican one, but there are good reasons ' for not making the change. Many important and controversial questions would have to be decided before a republican constitution could be adopted. However those questions were decided, the consequences of the change would be unpredictable, and could well prove detrimental to the working of our democratic institutions.'
Rt. Hon Sir Harry Gibbs (Chief Justice of the High Court 1981-1987) ACM Melbourne address 1 June 1994

'I don't think Asia understands what the argument is about. Australia would not generate greater esteem in Asia as a republic than it does with its present constitutional arrangements.'
Lee Kuan Yew(Si!-i Ere Senior Minister) "The Australian Financial Review" 19 April 1994

'It is a matter for the Australian people'
HE Mr Chris Patten (Governor of Hong Kong) Speech. 17 February 1994

'When asked at a media conference if there were any advantages for Australia in cutting ties with Britain, Mr Ramos was careful to avoid the issue of an Australian republic. 'I understand the question of Australia's future status is being hotly debated,' Mr Ramos said. 'It is your call really—I wish you the best"
David Nason (Journalist) Report on Philippines President's visit "The Australian' 24 August 1995 p6

'One need only point to another country, with a similar constitution which has been more successful than we have in attracting immigrants, in trade, in advancing higher education and yet she has done this as a constitutional monarchy, indeed as one under Elizabeth II. I refer of course to Canada. And what Canadian would doubt that she is independent? The Canadian constitution is perhaps more difficult to change than the Australian.'
Professor David Flint (Dean of Law, UTS, Sydney) In response to P.J. Keating's argument that a republic would be good for trade and for our relations with Asia. "Weekend Australian" 27-28 July 1996

'An Australian head of state would enhance Australia's economic links with East Asia because the head of state would, unlike the Queen, promote Australia's interests. ... ... It is incomprehensible to the countries of East Asia that Australia's head of state is not an Australian.'
Richard Woolcott (former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) Address to sixth ARM annual dinner 19 October 1996

'Richard Woolcott, addressing the annual dinner of the Australian Republican Movement, made only two sensible observations: 'The republic is not a burning issue that directly impacts (sic) on the daily lives of Australians'; and '[in] the four South-East Asian posts in which I served, whether Australia remained a constitutional monarchy or became a republic was not really an issue in our day-to-day bilateral relations'. ("The Weekend Australian" 19-20/10]. ... ...
Woolcott should not have tied himself in knots, as on his own admission he did, because President Suharto could not understand the role of [lie Queen or her representative in the Whitlam Government's dismissal. It was no business of Suharto's in any case. And Woolcott should have given him no more than the simple assurance that that colourful event's immediate consequence would be an election the result of which neither the Queen nor the Governor-General could determine. That distinction might well have been appreciated by Suharto.'
J.B. Paul (ACM Supporter) Letter to the Editor, "The Australian" 25 October 1996

'Since 1971, Governors-General have made forty nine official visits to thirty two foreign countries and were treated abroad as Australia's Head of State . ... ... When travelling abroad, protocol requires that the Governor-General be recognised as Australian Head of State . ... ... No doubt they'll (other countries) soon learn, but until they do, it's their problem not ours and no reason to change a system which works well for us.'
The Hon A.J. Abbott (former ACM Executive Director) "The Minimal Monarchy" pp 17 & 56

'President Menem told bankers and executives yesterday that lie is the father of the economic policies and that Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo follows orders, official sources said yesterday.
`The economy is subordinate to politics and only strong political leadership like the one I carry out can guarantee that this economic plan will continue,' Menem was quoted as saying by the sources.'
From 'Political beat' column "Buenos Aires Herald" 23 October 1995

'The Federal Government should not sign any more international agreements until they have been at least been examined by the Australian Parliament.
Australia is now signatory to more than 2000 treaties, conventions and agreements (not including those ratified under the International Labor Organisation).
By contrast, the United States has signed fewer than 400.
Many of these agreements are of doubtful merit and impose inappropriate requirements on Australia . ... ...
Do we really want countries like Cuba influencing our industrial-relations practices, the Europeans our farm-management practices or the African nations how we manage our and land.'
The Hon J.D. Anderson (then shadow minister for primary industry) Letter to the Editor "Canberra Times" 28 May 1994

'Like others I have lived for some years in Asia. I have done business in most Asian countries, the Middle East, North America and New Zealand.
Never have I been asked if Australia is a constitutional monarchy or if I see Australia as part of Asia. I have been asked if I was British, but given that up to recent times, Britain controlled a large part of the civilised world, this is understandable. The only consistent question I have been asked is 'How do I get a visa to live in Australia?'
Until I can see tangible benefits of a republic I am afraid that I will continue to be a fence sitter'
Letter to the Editor from R.D. Thomson in the "Daily Telegraph Mirror" - July 1995

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