The Celtic Club of Melbourne ran a competition for a Declaration of the Australian Republic. The only rule was that it be 470 words, the length of the Irish Proclamation posted and read by Padraig Pearse on the steps of the General Post Office in Dublin on 24 April 1916.
Here is the winning entry:
We the Australian people declare ourselves to be a self-governing republic, totally free of formal links to other countries in our governance arrangements, based on our established democratic traditions of a parliament freely elected by universal adult suffrage, the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government, and a commitment to the rule of law, applied equally and consistently to all citizens.
In making this declaration we recognise the continuing need to reconcile ourselves with the original inhabitants of this island, including by formal recognition in the Australian Constitution, of their prior occupation of the continent over thousands of years.
We acknowledge that this declaration is the final step on Australia’s journey to total self-government, initiated by the rebels of Eureka in 1854, and continued in the refusal to establish an hereditary (‘bunyip’) aristocracy, the extension of the suffrage to women ahead of other countries, and, belatedly, to indigenous Australians, and in the enshrinement of the fair go and respect for others as key principles in Australia’s economic and social policies, programs and institutions.
As a Republic, the citizens of Australia will continue to enjoy the rights and freedoms, now central to the Australian way of life, namely:
- Freedom of worship, thought, expression and assembly;
- The right to move freely within Australia, and from and to Australia;
- The right to live with whomsoever one chooses;
- Respect for the individual and his/her privacy;
- The right to a fair trial.
The Australian republic commits itself to:
- Promoting the prosperity and well being of all Australians;
- Continued pursuit of universal primary and secondary education, and of maximum access to post secondary education;
- Achieving greater equity between socio-economic groups and regions in access to resources, facilities and services;
- Sustainable use and management of the nation’s natural resources;
- The support and promotion of distinctive Australian perspectives in artistic and cultural activities;
- The free movement of goods, ideas, people and resources within Australia, and, subject to relevant international laws and conventions, between Australia and all other nations ;
- Peaceful resolution of all conflicts between residents of Australia, and between nations;
- Respect for the culture and history of persons born outside Australia who freely choose to live here, and recognition of the special and distinctive contribution of such people to Australian society;
- The generous and fair treatment of all displaced persons seeking asylum (for whatever reason) in Australia.
Australians all, let us rejoice in this unique island continent and its independent future.
Robert Glass Melbourne, 26 January 2016
Robert Glass is an occasional contributor to Tinteán, and has a background in economics and history.