Letter: Steps towards an Australian monarchy

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The Independent Online
Sir: In the light of the clear division of opinion within Australia on the question of the constitution, it seems strange that an obvious compromise solution is never raised either in the press (such as Robert Milliken's article, 15 March) or in the proposed referendum.

The alternative to the Queen as head of state is not necessarily a republic. The essential issue is that of indigenousness, not of style of government. It is natural that many Australians want a head of state born and resident in Australia, and speaking and acting like one of themselves. But if a member of the Royal Family were to succeed the Queen as sovereign, to be resident in Canberra, his descendants at least could hardly be spurned by a population composed largely of immigrants. Indeed there are precedents. Norway, for example, on gaining independence from Denmark early this century, chose a Danish prince as king, Haakon VII.

Of course, it may be that the Australian temperament is suited best to the republican style. (A republic in its truest sense, however, is a state without any formal figurehead.) Nevertheless, a just referendum is one that puts all viable options to the referees, particularly if they answer objections on both sides, and not merely stark opposites.

Yours,

JAMES ALLAN

Seeb, Oman

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