Saturday, July 18, 2009

An Australian republican future
In Ken Harris's Pathway to Treason it is the year 2020 and Australia is a republic with a President joining the Prime Minister at the helm of the country, although as with the Governor General before, the President is supposedly merely a figurehead, a rubberstamp when it comes to the question of running the country.
Peter Elphinstone, ex-test cricketeer and President of Australia is far from satisfied with the way the country is being run. Prime Minister Bill Packard is far from pleased with the President sticking his beak into matters that shouldn't concern him. When the Australian ambassador to Syria is assassinated, the PM is all fired up to join the US in sending troops to the Middle East should America ask him. Elphinstone, on the other hand, is horrified that a war could be about to start and moves to stop the possibility. Technically the President has the authority to affect such a decision, the big question is, does he have the power? It's his willingness to have this question answered that ignites the political fireball.
The remainder of the novel revolves around the head to head battle between Packard and Elphinstone as the entire seat of government is threatened.
We need more of these Australian stories with a republican backdrop. They don't have to be political thrillers or constitutional whodunnits but rather an exploration of our future, our republican future.