The proposal discusses a rational and modern explanation for the Star of Bethlehem, suggesting that it may have been the star Acrux (Alpha Crucis) from the Southern Cross constellation. The main points of this explanation include:
The Magi observed the helical rising of Acrux from Jerusalem, using the town of Bethlehem as a reference point on the southern horizon.
Acrux rose to the east, moved westward, and last appeared just above Bethlehem at the break of dawn, potentially leading to a misinterpretation of its significance.
The Magi’s description of the star’s movement and its proximity to constellations near Acrux may have been misunderstood by people in Herod’s court.
The star Acrux was visible every year and not unusual, which could explain why others didn’t see it as significant.
The story combines empirical observations of Acrux with cultural interpretations to create the narrative of the birth of Jesus.
Axial precession could explain why the Southern Cross is no longer visible above Bethlehem, supporting the idea that Acrux was the star.
The explanation proposes that the Magi were astronomers who travelled to gain a better view of the fading star Acrux, and their enthusiasm was misunderstood by people in Herod’s court. This interpretation aligns with the symbolism of the Southern Cross and offers a new perspective on the traditional story of the Star of Bethlehem.
The summary also includes details about the reasoning behind the explanation, the use of software to verify astronomical claims, and the possible cultural and historical context of the Magi’s journey. It suggests this perspective provides new meaning for the Christian message and encourages engagement with other cultures and the modern world.
Astronomical software shows an animation of the stars as they would have appeared viewed directly south of Jerusalem around 2000 years ago. The Southern Cross is no longer visible from Jerusalem because of axial precession, and the gradual disappearing of this significant star (13th brightest) below the horizon would have motivated astronomers to travel to the mountains for a better view. Acrux would have only been visible during a few brief weeks of the year.
The deciding factor for this perspective is the match between the narrative of Jesus being born in a manger and the fact that the Southern Cross constellation is surrounded by the constellation Centaurus – with Crux located near the legs and feet of the Centaur.
The “Ugly Duckling” Model for an Australian Republic proposes a unique approach to democratizing the divisible Crowns of Australia, which are presently monarchical and hereditary in nature. Drawing inspiration from the fairy-tale of the same name, this model likens the Crown of Australia to an “Ugly Duckling” – misunderstood and lacking the democratic image they could embody. The central idea is to retain these Crowns while replacing the monarch with elected Australian representatives who serve fixed terms as heads of State.
In this model, the existing divisible Crowns, representing Australia’s states and the Commonwealth, would undergo a transformation to become truly democratic entities. Currently non-democratic and hard to envision as democratic, these Crowns would be reimagined as symbols of inclusivity and popular choice. By electing Australians to hold ceremonial office under these divisible Crowns, the model seeks to bridge the gap between the existing monarchical structure and a more democratic vision for the future.
The proposal ensures that the Governor-General and State Governors, as representatives of the elected head of State, retain their roles, and the concept of reserve powers continues. This maintains the balance of power and prevents the elected head of State from becoming a political rival to the Prime Minister. The model’s emphasis on short terms and apolitical campaigns further ensures the ceremonial nature of the role.
In essence, the “Ugly Duckling” Model strives to redefine the divisible Crowns of Australia by infusing them with democratic principles. By electing representatives to these Crowns while preserving their ceremonial functions, the model seeks to create a harmonious blend of tradition and modern democracy in the Australian context.
Here is a summarized version of the path to a republic outlined in the text:
Formal Agreement: The Commonwealth and States should agree to consult on the head of State issue to maintain unity during the transition, preserving a single unifying head of State.
Harmonization of the Crown: Standardize the terminology and naming convention for the divisible Crowns across states and the Commonwealth to achieve consistency.
Avoid Divergence: Prevent the risk of different heads of State for the Commonwealth and States by finding a consensus to avoid division or potential secession.
Referendum on Transition: Hold a Constitutional Convention to discuss the shift to a republic, building a consensus among experts and stakeholders.
Pre-Referendum Test: Test the process of electing an Australian head of State before the actual referendum, possibly through modified Australian of the Year Awards.
Campaign through Australian of the Year Awards: Use the existing Australian of the Year Awards platform for nominating and campaigning for the role of head of State.
Rules Formalization: Formalize rules for selecting an Australian head of State as new sections in the Australian Constitution.
Referendum: Present the formal rules for selecting a head of State to the public through a referendum under Section 128 of the Australian Constitution.
Incorporate Divisible Crown: Ensure that the option of retaining the divisible Crown is included in any vote or plebiscite on an Australian republic.
Safeguard Against Secession: Request the United Kingdom and Canada to enact changes in Acts related to the Statute of Westminster to ensure consistent democratic rules for the Crown of Australia.
Transition Ceremony: On the specified date, transfer sovereignty from the monarch to the Australian people symbolically through the first elected Australian head of State.
Promote Democracy: An independent Australia with an elected head of State can serve as a democratic example within the Commonwealth of Nations and promote liberal democracies globally.
Embrace Complexity: Acknowledge the emergence of complex systems, like democratic divisible Crowns, as a natural evolutionary process.
Expert Understanding: Ensure that experts advocating for a republic have a basic understanding of Australia’s democratic system and the nature of the Crown of Australia.
In summary, the path to an Australian republic involves consultation, harmonization of terminology, preventing divergence, a Constitutional Convention, testing the election process, using existing platforms for campaigns, formalizing rules, holding a referendum, safeguarding against secession, requesting international changes, and symbolically transferring sovereignty. The goal is to transition to a republic while maintaining unity and preserving Australia’s democratic values and system.
Here’s a summarized version of the proposed model for an Australian republic:
Single Head of State: One person will serve as the head of state for all of Australia, unifying the Federation and reflecting the personal unity of the divisible Crowns of Australia.
Monarch Replacement: Replace the monarch with an elected Australian head of state while retaining the existing constitutional framework.
Values-Based Model: The new head of state represents Australian values of democracy, rule of law, service, fairness, and more, reflecting the nation’s highest ideals.
Term and Representation: The elected Australian head of state will serve a fixed term, with existing vice-regal representatives retained to represent the new head of state.
Reserve Powers Justification: Maintain reserve powers of the Governor-General and State Governors to preserve the separation of powers in a republic and prevent deadlock situations.
Election Process: Head of state elections will take place within each State and within the Territories for the Commonwealth in a round-robin fashion, alternating between the seven divisible Crowns of Australia.
Compulsory or Voluntary Voting: Voting for the head of state may be compulsory or voluntary (to be decided). The candidate with the most votes, using a first-past-the-post system, will win the election.
Term and Gender: The elected head of state’s term will be one year, alternating genders each term, beginning and ending on September 3rd.
Transition Period: The first elected Australian head of state, titled “Australian of the Year,” is targeted for September 3rd, 2032, commemorating the independence of the Commonwealth from the British Crown on September 3rd, 1939.
Deputy Roles: The elected head of state will serve as a deputy for six months before and after their term, ensuring a smooth transition.
Two-Year Service: Each elected head of state will serve for two years, with a shared duty arrangement, combining periods as a deputy and the head of state.
Gender Diversity: Both genders will be represented in the head of state and deputy roles at all times.
Role Constraints: The “Australian of the Year” head of state role is ceremonial, adhering to conventions and refraining from political involvement. The elected head of state cannot exercise reserve powers.
Replacement Mechanism: In case of misadventure or impeachment, the Governor-General or respective Governors will act as replacements.
Misconduct and Removal: Processes for removing an elected head of state due to misconduct will be established.
In essence, this proposed model outlines the transformation from a constitutional monarchy to a republic by electing an Australian head of state while preserving key aspects of the existing constitutional structure.
A summary of several key ideas related to the Crown of Australia, its constitutional structure, and the challenges in transitioning from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. Here’s a summary of the main points:
Federation and Crown: After the 1901 Federation, Australia operated under the British Crown. It’s a constitutional monarchy with a Westminster system consisting of federal, state, and local governments.
Independence and the Statute of Westminster: Australian independence began around 1930, culminating in the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 and the Australia Acts 1986. This changed Australia’s relationship with the British Crown, marking a foundational shift.
Nature of the Crown: The nature of the Crown of Australia is debated. States define their own divisible Crowns, but there’s also the view of a federal Crown. The head of state is the monarch, with independent vice-regal representatives at the federal and state levels.
Governor-General and State Governors: Australia has multiple vice-regal representatives, distinct from other Commonwealth nations. Comparing Australia with Ireland, where a one-to-one relationship between the monarch and the vice-regal representative existed before Ireland became a republic, demonstrates Australia’s uniqueness.
Structural Challenges: Converting Australia into a republic is complex due to the one-to-many relationship between the monarch and their representatives. Changing roles while maintaining the Federation’s structure poses challenges.
The Federation Star: The Australian National Flag symbolizes the Commonwealth and six states with a seven-pointed “Federation Star,” representing both the bodies’ political and, since the Australia Acts 1986, the divisible Crowns.
Role of the Monarch: The monarch provides personal unity for the divisible Crown of Australia, a role often overlooked in republic models.
High Court’s Perspective: The High Court of Australia identified different meanings of “the Crown,” including its role as the body politic, the international representative, the government, and the sovereign office.
In essence, the text delves into Australia’s historical ties to the British Crown, the complexities of its unique constitutional monarchy, and the challenges of transitioning to a republic while preserving the country’s federal structure.
The Australian Parliament ran an Inquiry into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum earlier this year. They opened the Inquiry to public submissions, and over 3000 people shared their ideas and thoughts. The Committee decided to publish less than 10% of the submission, almost exclusively from VIPs, and the rest were labelled as “correspondence” and were not published. In most Inquiries, submissions are usually all published.
Below is my submission to the Inquiry, which was not published.