My wife's family is a mix of Italian and English heritage. Her mother was born in Oxford, England and migrated to Australia as a 10-pound Pom. Her father's parents were Italian post–war migrants from the island of Salina, off Sicily.
On Australia Day, her extended family will gather in Centennial Park, as they have done for the past 30 years, for a BBQ and a game of cricket. From the three people who migrated from Italy in the 1950s, there are now over 100 descendants, including our kids.
They are all proud Australians contributing to our community and nation.
My wife's family story represents the best of modern Australia: proud, multicultural and independent -- well, almost. Although we govern ourselves and are masters of our own destiny, our Constitution, our nation's founding document, does not reflect this.
For all the dreams and aspirations of my kids and so many other Australian kids, that we celebrate them being able to dream and achieve on Australia Day, the one important job they cannot aspire to is our country's head of state. That position is reserved exclusively for a foreign monarch.
Our nation's most important document from which we derive our culture, identity and our laws does not reflect the modern Australia, or the modern Australian citizen, that we proudly celebrate on our national day. Our independence, confidence, diversity, and our children's aspirations are unfortunately being under-represented by our Constitution. It must be amended to allow an Australian Head of State if it is going to truly reflect our people and our identity.
Our Constitution was never drafted to be set in stone. Although they made it difficult to do, through section 128 our founding fathers envisaged an evolving document that could be changed by the will of the people as our country changed.
They wanted a modern Constitution for a modern country.
The process of becoming one nation through federation took decades and those opposed to it ran the same arguments Constitutional monarchs speak of now.
Those opposed to an Australian Head of State say our Constitution has served us well and should not be changed, or we had this debate in 1999 and it was lost. I respectfully disagree. The process of becoming one nation through federation took decades and those opposed to it ran the same arguments Constitutional monarchs speak of now.
But there is no doubt federation moved our national forward, reflected our true identity and made Australians better people.
Appointing an Australian as our Head of State is the next logical step in our nation's growth and maturity. It is an act of true patriotism that will unite Australians, reflect who we are and the future we are proudly building together.