Given the well-covered opinions of those OUTSIDE Scotland there are many who were probably under the impression that the yes vote would win by a fair percentage. For some reason media outlets went to celebrities, many of whom have already left and answered the question themselves. Of course they were fans of the yes campaign despite the fact that, no matter what happened, they weren’t the ones who had to live with the consequences.
The polls INSIDE Scotland throughout the lead-up, apart from one small patch, indicated a small victory for the ‘No’ vote the whole way through – and wouldn’t you know it, that’s what happened. 55-45 – and in some ways it makes sense.
Economy, geography, tradition and shared history must all factor in some way – apart from nationalist sentiment there weren’t too many practical reasons for the yes campaign.
Either way, I live in Australia so who should give a shit what I think?
But that, to me, is where the sense of disappointment in the Scottish result comes from over here. I can rationalise the result with the reasons I just mentioned, I can admit that I know nothing, but I can be disappointed – because it’s a question we deserve the right to ask (again).
Yes, we had the vote in 1999, and we said no – but there were different reasons at play.
The Scottish referendum asked the question – Should Scotland be an independent country?
Yes, it itself was criticised, no doubt by both sides in the hope that they could blame it should they lose – but it’s pretty straightforward. Too much so? Maybe – but sorting out the nitty gritty had the ‘yes’ vote won would have been a process unconstrained by any limitations or conditions set out in the asking of the question.
What was our independence question? Voters were asked if they approved of 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
I’ve italicised the second part because that, to many people (myself included, even though I was 14 at the time) is why the vote lost. Not only did it explicitly take the power of the people away from the process of electing the first Australian President, it even succeeded in dividing the many people who believed in the republican campaign because, as much as they wanted dearly to become a republic, they too disagreed with the explicit method of election outlined in the question.
While the polls in Scotland ended up indicating the result, the massive pre-vote support for becoming a republic throughout the Australian people failed.
Then again, this is Australia so there were probably a large amount of people who just didn’t give a shit.
Yes, we have a long shared history with the motherland – but what are our economic ties? Little to none.
Our biggest trading partners are in Asia, our biggest economic and strategic ally is the United States, the only things we have left to do with the Queen and England are ALL of our coins, our five-dollar note, one corner of the flag and an increasingly nothing-more-than-symbolic post of Governor General!
Geography? Ha! We’re on the other side of the fucking world! We’re not next door like the Scots. The Queen only comes here once every few years for crying out loud! What about the Ashes? IT’LL BE EVEN BETTER! MORE HEATED! FARKEN AWESOME.
Alex Salmond told people that if his ‘Yes’ vote lost in Scotland, there wouldn’t be another referendum on the issue for a ‘lifetime’ – but they’re all Highlanders so they live forever. When we said no, John Howard said that the matter could ‘be set aside for an indefinite period’.
That indefinite period has now been 15 years (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – shit I’m getting old) and the recent talk of independence has very quietly brought the issue back up again.
Kevin Rudd used the issue as part of his populist campaign in 2007, but he didn’t live to see his first full term.
Julia Gillard’s position was that a referendum on the issue wouldn’t be held while the Queen was alive – but who knows how long it’ll be till she carc’s it? (Tom Waterhouse, that’s who)
Now we’ve got Tony Abbott, staunch Catholic monarchist. When it comes to the issue of separation from our colonial oppressors, we’re fucked! Unless someone *cough* Malcolm Turnbull *cough* kills Tony and throws him into the harbour.
As I previously stated, Scotland’s decision wasn’t a bad one. As I also stated, no one should care what I have to say about that anyway – but if we started campaigning on the issue now, and the question was left simply as:
Should Australia become a republic?
I think we’d say yes. Sadly we won’t get the chance for a long time.
Unless Malcolm does it. Go on Malcolm, you know you want to.