August 28

The nation is not on a psychiatric couch


The last thing republicans are interested in is improving the way we are governed. They are only concerned to increase the power and influence of the political class. That is why they want to take the crown out of our crowned republic and make it a politicians’ republic.  

Now Professor Patrick McGorry, Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, has criticised Australians for failing to "seriously" address the issue of a republic.

According to a report by Lanai Vasek In The Australian (27/8, he likened the country to a 27-year-old who just won't leave home — "a Gen Y nation". This hardly seems serious.


[ Nations do not do this ]


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Delivering the annual National Republican Lecture in Canberra last night, Professor McGorry said Australia needed to "emerge from its prolonged adolescence" and become a republic sooner rather than later. He saw parallels between his work with young people and Australia's path to full nationhood.

"Australia's adolescence has lasted more than 100 years since Federation," he said. I told  The Australian that I found his intervention curious. I said that I found comparing Australia to an adolescent child "curious".

"We are one of the world's oldest and stable democracies, we have a Constitution which has been extraordinarily and unusually successful,” I said. 

“Of the world’s  seven oldest democracies, five are constitutional monarchies, and four share Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II as their Sovereign."

"Nations aren't individuals on a psychologist's couch .  The psychiatric analogy is completely inappropriate,” I said. "It would be foolish to change those institutions purely on the basis of a psychiatrist making some analogy with the immature." 

I recalled that Canada, a leading NATO and G7 G8 power, which sits at the top tables of the world has a similar constitution.

Few Canadians would think their nation immature because of its sophisticated constitutional system. It is likely that they would be outraged by such a gratuitous psychiatric assessment.


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