Voting Yes for a Republic

This was the front page of this site for the 1999 Referendum on the Republic.

Please note: you can only vote in a referendum if you are over 18 and enrolled to vote.  Pick up an application form at any Post Office or for further information call the Australian Electoral Office or check their website at

Voting YES means you agree to:

gr_ball.gif (238 bytes)Establishing Australia as a republic with an Australian citizen as Head of State from 1 January 2001;

pr_ball.gif (238 bytes)Supporting the Bi-partisan Model for selection of the President consisting of:

  • a public process in which everyone is able to put forward nominations for the President of the Commonwealth of Australia;
  • consideration of the nominations by a Public Nominations Committee of 32 people (half Parliamentarians from all States and Territories and half community members nominated by the Government) who recommend a shortlist to the Prime Minister;
  • the Prime Minister consulting with the Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament with one name to be put forward to the Parliament;
  • that person being endorsed by a two-thirds majority of a joint sitting of the Federal Parliament;
  • the President having the same powers as the current Governor General as well as being Head of State; and,
  • the President can be dismissed by the Prime Minister who must then seek the agreement of the House of Representatives (but note, not the Senate) within thirty days.

Why many women support a YES vote for an Australian Republic and this model for selection of the President:

  • It allows all women in this country to have a say in who is Head of State;
  • All women who are Australian citizens will be eligible to be Head of State;
  • This model is the most likely to achieve a woman or indigenous person as President – direct election is most unlikely to do this given that our most popular and prominent public figures are men;
  • It will remove our ties to the British monarchy where presently a woman can only become Queen if she has no brothers;
  • A Head of State who is one of us will exclusively promote Australia’s interests, for example Britain supported French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Our own Head of State will support the policies of our Government and our foreign policy interests.

Here is the view of the Australian Republic Movement on a YES vote for the Republic:

What is the situation now?

  • At the moment, our Head of State is the Queen of England
  • In Australia, she is represented by the Governor General who is recommended by the Prime Minister
  • This means that Australians have no say in choosing their Head of State

How will your YES vote change this?

The Constitutional Convention agreed on the bi-partisan model for an Australian Republic.

Your YES vote at the 1999 Referendum this year will mean:

  • Australians will be able to nominate candidates for President;
  • A committee will refine the people’s nominations to a short list which will go to the Prime Minister; and,
  • The Prime Minister will consult with the Leader of the Opposition and the other parties on the most worthy candidate.

A joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate will then vote to approve the candidate (two-thirds must agree to the Prime Minister’s recommended nominee).

What are the advantages of the Bi-Partisan model?

  • The people will have a say in the nomination of their President;
  • The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the other parties agreeing on one person from the people’s list will give Australia some much needed unity; and,
  • We will all be involved in choosing our Head of State

 Will anything else change?

No. Australia will still….

  • be called the Commonwealth of Australia
  • be a member of the Commonwealth of Nations
  • have the same flag
  • have the same Coat of Arms
  • have the States operating as they do now

What will an Australian Republic mean?

  • Our Head of State will be one of us – chosen by us, not for us;
  • Our Head of State will be an Australian.

(Text from YES YES YES, Vote YES for an Australian Head of State, a pamphlet published by ARM)