Could Australia truly become a republic, and if so, what would it mean?
Such a question will be the key topic of the annual John West Memorial Lecture, presented by noted historian Professor Mark McKenna.
Launceston Historical Society president Marion Sargent said for the lecture’s 30th anniversary, it was appropriate to have a renowned historian speaking on the potential resolution of some of Australia’s most divisive topics.
Professor of Australian History at the University of Sydney, award-winning author and biographer Professor McKenna will speak on the issues of constitutional settlement with Indigenous Australians and the country’s opportunity to become a republic.
He will also consider what becoming a republic would do to our self-awareness and how we are seen by others.
“I’m keen to hear what Professor McKenna has to say about the prospect of Australia becoming a republic in the future, and also reconciling our past history with Indigenous Australians,” Ms Sargent said.
“I’d really love to know his thoughts on how a republic could work, how to go about it, whether you have a president or keep the governor-general.”
Arguing that for such changes to have any “meaningful prospect of success”, a unified vision is needed, Professor McKenna will speak on the need to move away from the perspective of Australia leaving behind the British relationship.
Professor McKenna will argue that such a move would create something “much deeper” than superficial change to the country.
From a list of potential speakers, she said Professor McKenna was selected thanks to a connection between a member of the selection committee and the Professor.
The annual John West Memorial Lecture is hosted in partnership with the University of Tasmania, and the Launceston Historical Society, in honour of the Reverend John West, who helped to found The Examiner.
The lecture will be held at 8pm on Friday, March 16, at the Sir Raymond Ferrall Centre, UTAS Newnham.
To attend the free public lecture, register at the UTAS website, or call 03 6324 3521.
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