Proposed President of Australia

There is no President of Australia. However, as part of a possible move from a constitutional monarchy to a republic Australia has been debating the creation of such an office for many years.

Currently, Australia's Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II, called the "Queen of Australia." She is represented by a Governor General, appointed by the Prime Minister. Many Australians resent the fact that the Queen retains constitutional and ceremonial powers over Australia, despite the nation's political independence from Britain. Also, many resent the perceived undemocratic nature of the Governor General's office, and want greater accountability for the person who has the authority to use the Crown's various prerogative powers.

All this has led to the rise of republicanism in Australia. Most members of this movement argue that the Governor General and Queen should be replaced with a President, who would become Australia's new Head of State.

There is much debate over the powers that such an office would have, however, and controversy over the President's appointment (or election) process caused the failure of a referendum in 1999 on the creation of an Australian presidency. The Australian Republican Movement advocated that the President be elected by both Houses of the Parliament of Australia, while other republicans advocated the election of the President by universal suffrage, citing Australians' traditional dislike and distrust of their politicians.

A small minority of republicans have advocated a 'minimalist' approach, known as the McGarvie model, after the former Governor of Victoria. An Australian Head of State would replace the Queen, but would retain the title of 'Governor General' instead of holding the title of President. If this were to happen, it would be a first, as all other former Commonwealth Realms have created presidencies upon becoming republics.


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