Papers on Parliament No. 24
September 1994

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This issue of Papers on Parliament brings together several brief essays published elsewhere and one not previously published, on the subject of republicanism in Australia.

In the public debate on the question of whether Australia should become a republic, that is, remove from its Constitution the provisions whereby the sovereign of the United Kingdom is the titular head of state of Australia, several issues have been largely ignored: the meaning of the term republicanism itself; the elements of republicanism as a theory and as a practice; the intellectual and historical foundations of republicanism as a phenomenon of European culture; the enormous extent to which republican theory and practice has influenced government in Australia and the framing and operation of the Australian Constitution; the extent to which the theory and practice of government in Australia actually reflect republican and monarchical elements; the question of whether those advocating a change to a republican head of state in Australia actually adhere to republican theory or follow republican practice.

These essays draw attention to such issues without any pretence of analysing them in great depth, and it is hoped that republication will help to bring out the issues in the continuing debate.

The articles aim to draw some attention away from what is misleadingly called “The Australian Republic” (as if it were some monolithic entity to which total loyalty must be given) towards small r republicanism, the principles and practices of republicanism as an historical phenomenon.


Acknowledgments are due to the editors of the journals and the monograph in which all but one of these articles appeared, for their very kind permission to reprint the articles. The publication in which each article appeared is shown on the first page of the article. The journals, Legislative Studies, The House Magazine and Policy, have made valuable contributions to furthering informed debate, as has the Centre for Independent Studies, the publisher of the monograph from which one of the articles is taken.

Harry Evans

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