Author(s): Barns and Krawec-Wheaton
An Australian republic is so near, yet so far. The prime minister, John Howard, is so vehemently opposed to any change in the status quo that there seems little likelihood of the republic being placed on the political agenda in the near future. As the 1999 referendum showed, the confrontational nature of our democracy is tailor-made for political opportunism and negative campaigns, and will always be a potential obstacle to the republican cause. The desire for a more appropriate constitutional form for contemporary Australia has been placed in the too-hard basket by many of its supporters. Greg Barns and Anna Krawec-Wheaton are more hopeful. They argue that the community is broadly republican in sentiment and that forces within both major political parties are sympathetic. They believe that the situation could change rapidly with a Costello prime ministership presenting a real opportunity to build consensus across party boundaries and between the major players. 'An Australian Republic' examines how the opportunity can be grasped, how the conditions necessary for achieving consensus can be created and how the political will to tackle the complex issues of constitutional change can be generated.