Speech given at the launch of the ACT YES Coalition

By Sheryle Moon

Thank you for the invitation to be here today. I am very pleased to provide my personal support, input and commitment for the achievement of the YES vote on November 6.

There is much comment of late about Australia standing at the dawn of the new millennium without leadership or vision on the most important issue of self-determination since federation. As someone who’s been in private enterprise for 20 years and run two separate businesses during the nineties, I have a different view.

Traditional leadership has certainly focussed on taking charge of an issue or charismatically leading people to their point of view. Leadership for the new millennium, be it in business or in the political arena will be more consultative, allowing wide ranging debate and discussion. We don’t need to be led we need to be included in the debate and treated as adults. I don’t think Australians are apathetic to this issue as some commentators have said. I think we are listening to all of the arguments before making an informed YES decision.

So it is fitting that the question of an Australian head of state to replace our current foreign head of state should occupy a central place in our press, in the political arena and in workplaces and around dinner tables across Australia.

The use of the constitutional convention, parliamentary committees and cabinet debate as well as the discussion on the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate provides healthy debate and I think we are all heartened to see some degree of compromise in the referendum question. Compromise is an important part of consensual leadership and the only way we can move forward to achieve a common goal and vision for the future. Businesses fall or prosper on their ability to harness all of their staff in a common vision.

Earlier this year the high court ruled that it was inappropriate for a person with foreign citizenship to sit in the Senate. It is therefore equally inappropriate for Australia to have a head of state who’s citizenship and primary allegiance is to a foreign nation.

The current recommended solution provides Australia with one of our own as the head of state and provides the least disruption to our current form of government. As an innovative business person I am not persuaded by those who say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Australians pride themselves on being innovative and looking always for the better way of doing things. Ain’t broke does not equate to best solution.

As Australians we can aspire to lead Australian companies big or small, public or private, we can aspire to sit in any of the three tiers of government, we can aspire to represent our country at the Olympic games and be the ambassadors of our country at home and abroad. Sadly we cannot aspire to be the head of state of the country we hold citizenship in. In our hearts we know that doesn’t make sense especially as we approach the centenary of federation. The current debate allows our heads to follow our hearts in this realisation and commit to a YES vote.

As a nation we are making our way in a world which is Asia and pacific basin centric, a way which makes an English monarch as our head of state anachronistic and confining.

Australians all let us rejoice for we are young and free, free to make our own way in the world, free to choose. We celebrate the Made in Australia brand; we have pride in our nation I think the decision is clear Vote Yes for a head of state that is Made in Australia.