Opinion Piece - An Australian head of state can unite us

Today is Wattle Day when we mark the first day of Spring. It’s a celebration of our nation’s cherished flower, but in the post war years also became a day for Australians to unite and look forward to a better future.

Today, with hope and unity in mind, Australians across the land are gathering to campaign for an Australian head of state.

In backyards, local parks, pubs and shopping malls we will be discussing the importance of having an Australian as our head of state and committing to working together to achieve this important, positive constitutional reform.

It’s the first time since 1999 that Australians are working together, in every state and territory, to unite around the cause of an Australian republic- a great symbol of the momentum that is building across Australia for one of our own to be our nation’s head of state.

An Australian republic is becoming a new positive force to unite Australians in a time of division and derision.

Our politics of late has become characterised by vitriol. Dare I say, it has become un-Australian.

A government tearing itself apart, attacks on migrants and migration, stalled reconciliation with indigenous Australia and almost no bipartisanship to deal with the nation’s challenges have become the hallmark of the present Australian polity, and Australians are sick and tired of it.

We are better than this.

Our nation is yearning for an issue that can bring us together, a movement to unite Australians and provide some pride in who we are and our many achievements and symbolise the progress of our modern democracy.

That issue can, and should, be having an Australian as our head of state.

For too long we’ve lived in the shadow of a foreign monarch. We have become a nation underpinned by a belief that we are not worthy enough, not confident enough, and not capable enough to chose an Australian citizen to be the head of our democracy under our Constitution.

We have deluded ourselves into believing that the strength and stability of our democracy and our government comes from the head of a foreign monarch, rather than the decisions of and hard work of the Australian people. That is a great shame.

Australians have a lot to be proud of.

We are the home to the oldest continuing culture in the world and we have the evidence to prove it. Yet we don’t celebrate this, we don’t mention it in our founding document and the notion that those whose ancestors have loved and nurtured this land for tens of thousands of years are excluded from holding the position of moral figurehead of the Australian people is absurd.

We have built a wealthy, prosperous nation with the help of millions of migrants who have made our nation their proud home. Yet all of those who have come across the seas are not eligible to be considered for the position of our head of state. That entitlement is reserved for someone who has never lived here. This is not reflective of modern Australia.

Australians have shaped a nation that is the envy of the world without resort to bloodshed or revolution and we have developed a unique culture and have a go spirit.

We have earnt the mantle of one of the best countries in the world not through our historical link to the crown of Great Britain and Ireland but through the hard work, ingenuity, sacrifice and determination of the Australian people.

This is our story.

The Australian story is something we should be proud of, something we should celebrate, and something we should replicate and symbolise by coming together to choose an Australian as our head of state.

We have earnt the right to choose our own figurehead, the person who represents us on the international stage and is the embodiment of what it means to be Australian.

On this Wattle Day 2018 and beyond, let us unite and work together to recognise the remarkable achievements of the Australian people through the symbol of an Australian head of state.

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