This is Federal Opposition Leader John Howard’s response to Paul Keating’s proposal for an Australian republic by the year 2001.
Broadcast on national television, the speech was in response to the previous day’s announcement by the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, that the government planned to move Australia towards becoming a republic.
- Listen to Howard’s speech (30m)
- Text and audio of Paul Keating’s speech, “An Australian Republic: The Way Forward”
Text of John Howard’s speech to the House of Representatives.
Mr Speaker, the opposition welcomes the statement made last night by the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) about the government’s proposals to put a referendum to the Australian people inviting them to create a federal republic by the year 2001. The outlining of the government’s proposals, in a sense, ends the phoney war stage of the debate about Australia’s constitutional future and presents to the Australian people the option and the model desired by the government.
I want to say first, on behalf of the coalition, that this is an important debate. Although the question of the constitutional structure of Australia is not something that weighs heavily upon Australians as they go about their daily lives, although the question of whether or not Australia becomes a republic will have no bearing on our standard of living and our capacity to economically penetrate the fast growing Asia-Pacific region, nonetheless, the constitutional future of our nation is a matter of great importance. I believe it should be treated in an important, sober and, to the maximum extent possible, non-political fashion. [Read more...]