1999 Republic Referendum

A proposed law: to alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.

A majority in no State and an total of 55% against, 45% for.

1983-91 – Hawke, Keating as Treasurer

1991 – Keating takes over

Keating is a very vocal republican (he was a senior adviser in the Whitlam Government, ‘maintain the rage’.

He pushed very strongly for a republican referendum

In 1996, Howard promised to hold a referendum on the issue, although he was a monarchist, since he would have lost many votes if he stopped it. He capitalised on the division in the republican side on how to appoint the president.


Yes Yes Yes No

    • Minimalist
    • Swap GG for President

      • President appointed by 2/3 of parliament
      • Pros: apolitical, president would be supported by all parties


Phil Cleary

    • Direct election
    • Neg: the Exec should be independent, above politics, but an election would ruin that
Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy

Phil Cleary was so against the Parliament choosing the president that he campaigned for the No side.

Their main argument played on the public’s distrust of politicians.


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