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Thematic Issue: Big Technology and the Law / General

Imagining an Affirmational Republic


Shireen Morris

This article explores the idea of an affirmational republic which, both structurally and symbolically, affirms rather than rejects Australia’s British history and heritage while equally celebrating the nation’s Indigenous inheritance and multicultural achievements. Part II explores the history of republican advocacy to unpack the common, predominantly symbolic, justifications for republican reform. It then elucidates dual, separate but connected, purposes – one small and practical and one big and symbolic – to show that each purpose may entail a different solution. Part III discerns lessons from the failed 1999 referendum, to help guide what an affirmational republic could involve. The proposed approach is developed further in Part IV. Addressing the practical purpose, I suggest the title ‘Governor-General’ could be retained (instead of ‘President’) and provide arguments against direct election. Addressing the symbolic purpose, I suggest an inspiring national Declaration could be better achieved extra-constitutionally, as the Referendum Council recommended in 2017.

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(2021) 44(3) UNSWLJ 1202: