Photo © 2010 Brad Wing-Quay
In the midst of constant public discussion as to which direction our country is headed in, I have to admit, Australia Day sure packs a punch. Not that I'd really know, the TV industry doesn't exactly stop on public holidays. Nevertheless, Australia Day seems to grow each year, with millions of proud 'Aussies' celebrating everything that is Australian. A barbie, a cold beer, the Aussie flag and of course, for many, the Triple J Hottest 100.
But with all of the celebrations and national pride, there are two important questions that must be asked. Is Australia really ready to become a Republic, and are we going to become a Republic anyway?
1. Is Australia really ready to become a Republic?
Hell no. Not by a mile. Who in their right mind can honestly take a look at our political leaders/parties and say that they'd love for them to lead our country as President? At least as part of the Commonwealth, we can do our thing and still snooze soundly under the warm bosom of the Queen. Okay sure, nobody wants to picture the Queen's bosom, but you get my point. At least she doesn't parade around in Speedos or try to impress everyone at face value like our childish political leaders (you know who you are).
I've witnessed it thousands of times, even first hand with two political leaders from opposing parties. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these two unnamed people talk on national television and then, afterwards, proceed to shake everybody's hand but each other's, not even looking each other in the eye.
It's this sort of behaviour and utter lack of respect that makes me certain nobody in any current leadership position in Australia can lead our country as a Republic. I don't care if they disagree on most things, I want to see respect. Agreement and teamwork would be great, but hey, so would world peace and a Cadbury world of chocolate. Why do you think Barack Obama was so highly praised when running for President of the US? He had a vision for a better America, was open to change and people actually liked him.
Do me a favour, think about all the conversations you've had with people about Australia's politicians. Have you ever once heard any of them say they 'like' a certain politician. I don't mean who they 'like more' or 'like what they say', but actually LIKE them.
Funny isn't it? I can honestly say I have not, and I'm sure most of you are in the same boat. Our leaders are idiots. And we cannot let an idiot be the President of Australia. We need a leader who is behind us as a nation and who we are behind as our leader. Electing somebody like Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott as 'President' is a total injustice to the integrity of the country we are trying to embrace in the first place. It would be like telling your parents to take your training wheels off your bike and then falling flat on your face when you hop on.
2. Are we going to become a Republic anyway?
Probably. It's the 21st century, Australia is very strong and we identify ourselves as different from everybody else in the world. So really, it's the next natural step in our journey as a nation. Not to mention the fact that it's one of the few public holidays on our calendars that people actually care about.
Another point: the USA is one of our strong allies and they're a Republic. And let's admit it, Australia has always been a bit smitten by the United States of America. Just take one look at the embarrassing fangirl antics of Kevin Rudd or John Howard whenever they met with a President. It was like a nerd going on a date with a total babe. Awkward, painful and embarrassing.
Oh and of course, let's not leave out The Queen. All she really does is provide entertainment through our ability to make rude pictures with her picture on the $5 note. You all know what I'm talking about.
I guess when it comes down to it, I'm not against us becoming a Republic, in fact I'm all for it happening. But with the state we're in now, I think it's one of the most irresponsible things we can do. We're still young and immature. We're like the Australian Idol contestant that the judges send home to 'get some practice and come back again next year'. It just doesn't feel quite right, and I don't think it will until some people take a reality check and realise what Australia really needs.
If we're going to go out on our own into something fresh and new, we need someone who can take us somewhere fresh and new, and that person may or may not be Hugh Jackman.