Labor Tribune stands for the immediate abolition of the monarchy system and its replacement with a democratic republic. On such terrain, the working class under capitalism is able to achieve the greatest possible space to fight for its own liberty and for socialism.
A democratic republic is the rule of the majority based on the active involvement of the citizenship in the day-to-day running of society. Such a republic must be able to defend itself from infringements on democracy throughout society and to expose and defeat demagogues and dictators alike.
The 1999 referendum for a republic was a farce. We were asked to choose between the unelectable and the unacceptable.
Genuine republicanism is not about a minimalist change to the constitution. It is not about getting rid of the queen and the governor-general and replacing them with a president with the same anti-democratic powers. It is not about asserting Australian nationalism; it is about establishing the fullest possible democracy in all aspects of society.
Writing in Quarterly Review 12, David Malouf said: "Any argument [for a republic] based on the need to make a final break with Britain will fail. The republic will be accepted because we need, as a society, to reinforce our bonds with one another, not break our bonds elsewhere."
It is such a notion of democratic republicanism that eschews nationalism that is promoted by Labor Tribune.
The 'official' republicanism of Malcolm Turnbull, Peter Costello and Kevin Rudd is designed to keep ordinary Australians as removed from the real political process as we are today. Crucially, real power in Australia - in the corporate boardrooms and the backrooms of political intrigue - will remain off limits.
The phony republicans demand a head of state, but we don't need a figurehead with powers to dismiss a republican government. No one can speak for all Australians. Our vision of a republic is none other than the sovereign political will of the people, unfettered by the 'checks and balances' of a sterile bureaucracy and a bunkered ruling elite.
Labor Tribune will campaign for a democratic Constitutional Convention that has full powers to establish a provisional government and propose a new republican constitution.
A democratic constitution should:
- abolish the monarchy system and its constitution, including presidentialism, its undemocratic offspring.
- institute election by full proportional representation to a single legislative and executive chamber.
- abolish the senate, which becomes obsolete with proportional representation.
- institute annual parliaments where MPs can be recalled and are paid no more than the average skilled wage.
- abolish the states and introduce strong regional-local government.
In addition a democratic constitution must guarantee the rights of its citizens. To this end we need:
- a treaty with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, reparations for lost lands and comprehensive land rights.
- a bill of rights.
- election of the judiciary.
- full citizenship rights for migrants and refugees.
- the right to work and the right to strike.
- an end to secrecy in government and business.
- workers' supervision of management through workplace councils.
The fight for a republic is not a diversion from the fight for socialism. On the contrary, it is the means by which we open the political space for the victory of socialism and the democratic government of the working class. Socialism without democracy is impossible.