Honorary President

Senate Submission


 The Amendments 
 20 References
 Section 126
 Section 59
 Section 60
 Section 61
 Section 2
 Section 4
 The States
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 The Election 
 Why Elect
 Electoral Law

 The Two Roles
 Costs v Benefits
 Free Speech

 Other Issues 
 One Royal Link
 Honorary Vice Pres
 Spectrum of Powers
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Honorary President


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© 2004 David Latimer


The origins of the Honorary President Model are with the McGarvie Model. This model proposes to promote the Governor General to that of Head of State with minimal constitutional and political change. Under this model, a Constitutional Council undertakes the Queen’s remaining role of appointing the Governor General.

The derision this model attracted in the 1998 Constitutional Convention and elsewhere appeared mostly as a result of the composition of its Constitutional Council. The contradictory nature of the Council, as an extension of the Prime Minister’s power yet with the authority to appoint the Australian Head of State, was technically justifiable but emotively unsettling. It could be easily lost whether, under this model, it is the Governor General or Council who is more rightly entitled to be called the Head of State.

Nevertheless, the technical excellence of the McGarvie model was exemplary, and serious issues such as the dismissal of the Governor General were handled judiciously.

The Honorary President model appeared in three evolutionary steps. The first was to have the President of the Constitutional Council elected and declared to be the Head of State. The author sent a letter to delegates of the Convention asking them to consider the possibilities of the McGarvie Model in this light.

The second step was to do away with the council. Nevertheless, the idea of involving former Governors was incorporated into the parliamentary nomination procedure.

Finally, in the debate subsequent to the referendum concerning the title of Head of State, it seemed sensible to give a President with entirely ceremonial responsibilities an appropriate title. The term Honorary President exists for many organisations and is used to clearly convey the nature of this proposed role.

From that point, all the advantages of the model started to fall into place and it became clear that the Honorary President was not just a mechanism for establishing a republic, but the basis of what Australians desire in a republican system.

Next: Key Advantages of the Model