How would Australia’s government change if it were to dump the monarchy?
I suspect little if any.. It’s a symbolic thing, linking and re-invoking the legacy and lengths to which ‘The Empire the Sun never set on’ spanned.
Well about 30 years ago the Governor General (the Queen's Representative), kicked out the elected Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, who was hard left. He continued to have a majority in parliament, as I remember. That couldn't happen in a Republic.
That would depend on the model of republic adopted - it's precise features.
Australia's status as a Constitutional Monarchy is not purely symbolic, although the symbolism is certainly important to a lot of people.
The Queen of Australia actually has an immense amount of power under the Australian Constitution, powers which would normally be exercised by her representative, the Governor-General of Australia. These powers are typically referred to as the 'reserve powers' and are very rarely exercised. However, they are very real and exist to deal with constitutional crises.
These powers have been used twice in Australia's history - once at a state level, and once at a national level, and both cases illustrate the importance of the monarchy in Australia. In both cases, the powers were used to end constitutional crises that had been created by socialist governments attempt to exceed their legal authority.
In 1931 and 1932, the socialist Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, initiated what he called the Lang Plan to deal with the impact of the Great Depression in his state. Among its provisions, he decided that the New South Wales government would no longer pay its debts to foreign entities - most notably the British government and British banks.
He didn't have the power to make that decision - the Constitution gave the Commonwealth government responsibility for state debts, and they ordered Lang to pay up. In response, Lang withdrew all state funds from the bank and placed the cash under armed guard at New South Wales' Trade Union headquarters.
The King's representative, Governor Sir Philip Game informed Lang that his actions were illegal and unconstitutional - and when Lang refused to correct his actions, Sir Philip withdrew Lang's commission as Premier, sacked the New South Wales government, and appointed the Leader of the Opposition Caretaker Premier on condition he immediately call an election (which the Opposition won). The crisis was resolved by the use of the reserve powers.
In 1975, the socialist Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam had, because of a series of political maneuvers by the opposition, lost control of the Senate. As he still controlled the House of Representatives, he was able to remain in government, but the Australian people were deeply disatisfied with that government because of a series of scandals. The opposition decided to use their control of the Senate to 'block supply' - they refused to pass the budget or any other money bills unless Whitlam agreed to call an early election. The government was about to run out of money, and Whitlam's only proposed solutions were illegal (he intended to order the banks to loan the government money to continue operating). The Queen's representative, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, attempted to mediate the crisis, but ultimately, on 11th November 1975, he withdrew Whitlam's commission as Prime Minister, dismissed the government and commissioned the Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister on condition he ask for an immediate general election (which the opposition won in a landslide).
The point is, the reserve powers of the Crown have proven to be of critical importance in resolving constitutional crises. They are not used very often, but they are of value and they are not just symbolic (Whitlam, in particular, made the mistake of thinking they were).
Now - how much Australia's government would change if Australia became a republic does depend on the model adopted, but most models involve the Governor-General being replaced by an elected President. And that would have very real implications for our system of government. Because once the people in that position had to run for election, we'd only ever have politicians in that position. And that would mean the position would become very political.
Sir John Kerr, the Governor-General who dismissed Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister was a personal friend of Whitlam's and was a socialist. But even so, he dismissed Whitlam - because he was also a former judge (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales) who had spent his entire life serving the constitution. He put the constitution above his personal friendships - and above his political beliefs. It is critical that the Governor-General be a person who will do that. We don't want a politician in the role - we want a man of character and commitment to the constitution. And, yes, sometimes a politician can be a man of character - and several have been Governor-General - but we don't want it to become a political office.
I'm a Monarchist for a few reasons. The first is our current system has given Australia 107 years of stable government and that is something that should not be messed with lightly. The second is that I don't want to see a politician with their hands on the reserve powers, and I don't want to see the reserve powers disappear.
But finally, and most importantly, I swore an oath when I took the Queen's Commission - to be ever faithful and to bear true allegiance to my Queen. And I take an oath seriously.