Letter: Australia's choice

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Am I to judge from Howard Jacobson's article that we need the monarchy so that we may get a bit of a laugh from those that rule us, to remind us to be sceptical? If so, he is a poor judge of the Australian electorate, which is more than capable of laughing and remaining sceptical of its own politicians, without the need for a foreign one.

The referendum is about national identity, a realisation that we are our own people, no longer needing constitutional dependence on a foreign head of state. It is about casting off the last vestiges of the "cultural cringe" that clung on until only a short while ago. It is about the constitution maturing into a document that better reflects what Australia is today.

You claim we are offered a president elected by a two-thirds majority of parliament because we can't trust ourselves not to vote Kylie Minogue into office. To elect a president by the majority of the people would give that president a greater mandate than the parliament itself to govern. The point of the president is to keep the parliament in check, and vice versa.

Australia does not need the Queen any more than she needs us.


London W4