Here are my Australia Day thoughts, inspired by the ongoing debate about whether Australia should or should not drop its ties with the English monarchy and become a republic in its own right (or hopefully of the Left.) Some of the the thoughts and phrases may seem strange to those not intimate with Aussie custom.
Becoming an Australian republic is not a simple matter of deciding to abandon the monarchy. This was one of the main reasons the public rejected the last proposal for Australia to become a republic; no one could inspire the people to believe that a republic offered anything superior to the present form of government.
Looking at the various alternatives for self government, throughout human history and we should see that all of them are fraught with dangers of corruption and manipulation for the benefit of the few, rather than the many.
Many republics have grown from the overthrow of a dictator or from some form of revolution against the oppression of the people.
Post revolutionary America and France both took great pains to devise their democratic republics to guard as much as possible against control and manipulation of the people by dictators, oligarchs, and other assorted forms of tyranny. Neither have succeeded completely, but neither have they completely failed.
The English monarchy has served its people as a democracy quite well, but is it truly fair to the Royal family for them to be thrust into their regal position at birth? It can be argued that they are well compensated, but can any amount of compensation really replace the freedom to which we all aspire.
The simple model placed before the Australian people previously was reasonable in removing the monarchy whilst preserving the democratic model on which our government is presently constructed. Yet this was rejected by the Australian population. Why? Are they waiting for a revolution? Does that mean we are not revolting enough to want to adopt a republican model for our democracy?
It is here that we should be drawn to discussion by our thinkers, our artists, and our indigenous people, for they can teach us about sharing.
Australia offers more opportunity than any other place on Earth, for a people to develop a multi-cultural society which expounds harmonious relationships, not just through tolerance, but through acceptance of the differences between people, and indeed by encouraging the divergent natures of humankind's creativity in all its varieties.
We don't have to fight a revolution here; we don't have to overthrow some despot, before we can build our republic of fairness and harmony.
But it is also true to say that if we allow the opportunity to languish in the mimicry of even the most successful previous republics, born as they were from revolution, then we will have abandoned our Australian way of life to be an imitation of their ideals and not ours. We will have missed the opportunity to be ourselves as fair-minded Aussies, even though we come from everywhere on the Earth. We will have missed the chance to show the world that all humankind can live in peace with each other.
But most of all we will have revolted against the chance for our own republic, a republic that could enshrine the meaning of giving the other bloke, "a fair go!"
We don't need to have a revolution to form a Republic of harmony, acceptance and Love; we just need to give it a go.
Happy Australia Day.
Advance Australia Fair. This is the long version of our national anthem, watch it at your peril, I quite like it.