This Country A Reconciled Republic

Good Essays
“A Republic is the last step in our journey of departure from our colonial origins. And it cannot be achieved as a truly significant step ─ a moment of re-funding ─ unless it also represents the end of the colonial experience for Aboriginal people.” (2004, p.20-21)
This argument is at the heart of Mark McKenna’s book “This Country a Reconciled republic? “, that was published in 2004, only a few years after the failure of both the 1999 republic referendum and the reconciliation movement. This book is based on a mix of official sources, thoughtful analysis of the failure of the two major symbolic issues that dominated Australian politics in the 1990s ─ the republic and reconciliation as well as personal recollections of the author. Indeed, Mark
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The Republican Advisory Committee barely paid attention to the Indigenous issues. As a result, the Republic was defeated and the indigenous right agenda was marginalized with the failure of Howard to propose a preamble which was not related to the republic. The preamble was severely condemned by Aboriginal leaders because Howard did not consult them to draft it. McKenna highlights the impact of the Mabo decision on the republican movement. Indeed, the Mabo decision shattered “the spirit of Terra Nullius” drafted in the Australian Constitution and appealed for constitutional reform which would acknowledge the Aboriginal people and reveal the new reality of the Australian society. As McKenna wrote, “At the 1998 Constitutional Convention, the preamble would become the only constitutional vehicle for advancing reconciliation” (2004, p.44). The Constitutional Convention helped to create the perception that the preamble was a necessity for the republican movement and reconciliation but the Howard-Murray preamble was an affront to the reconciliation movement because it did not recognized the legitimacy of the historical injustice suffered by Aboriginal people which was the basis of their political request. McKenna demonstrated that the use of language is a major factor to define the Australian identity in the …show more content…
The paintings of Gary Shead help to understand his arguments. It displays the incongruity of British Monarchy in Australia landscape. However, the reader needs to have some knowledge on republicanism in Australia and reconciliation. McKenna manages to create a new vision of a republic which could be interesting to use in the next republican debates and reconciliation. For any student of modern history, regardless of their focus, this collection cannot be overlooked, if for no other reason than its highlighting of the dynamic nature of Australia’s

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