A leading Australian authority on constitutional and public law will tell a Newcastle audience tonight that Australia will not become a republic for at least 20 years because it is too lazy.
Professor Greg Craven - Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University and a noted lawyer, commentator and republican - will deliver the Barton Lecture for the University of Newcastle.
The Barton Lecture is an annual event exploring Australian politics and constitutional issues.
Professor Craven said it was extremely difficult to imagine how a republic would succeed in Australia in the next two decades.
"Australia has a great Constitution crafted by our founders but we have done little to build on those efforts. We complain about our Constitution, even though we ourselves would never have had the energy and grit to create it.
"Australians see the failure of the 1999 republic referendum as a glitch and seem content to laze about, assuming that a republic will just happen one day without any great effort.
"We are the 'lucky country', looking for the 'lucky republic'. But this is not how it will be. An Australian republic will come about, like Federation, only through perseverance, dedication and inspired leadership."
Professor Craven said without republicanism on the day-to-day political agenda, the issue did not receive the attention it needed.
"The global financial crisis means it is very difficult to push anything other than 'bread and butter' issues into the spotlight for debate. Republicanism is not a bread and butter issue."
Professor Craven's career encompasses legal practice, policy reform, lecturing, research, and University appointments.
He has written widely in fields including federalism, constitutional interpretation, republicanism and constitutional history; has advised a number of governments; and was a delegate to the 1998 Constitutional Convention and to the statutory committee directing the "Yes" case in the 1999 referendum.
Professor Craven will deliver the Barton Lecture on Wednesday 8 July at 6pm, at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery. Registration is essential by phoning 02 4921 7454.
Professor Craven is available for interviews on Tuesday 7 July. Contact Katie Porritt in Media and Public Relations.
Professor Greg Craven's opinion piece on an Australian republic was published in the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday 8 July 2009. Click here to read a copy (PDF, 24kb)