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Triumvirate of Sonderan
Sonderan, officially the Triumvirate of Sonderan, is a small, self-declared country, commonly known as a micronation, founded on 5 January 2018 on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. A secular, constitutional triumvirate, the nation has three, ostensibly equal, heads of state known as 'the Triumvirs'.
Founded on a 'conviction in the transcendental value of human kindness', the government has a constitutional obligation to work towards enhancing the happiness, wellbeing and safety of its citizens and people everywhere whilst promoting international communication, transparency and freedom of movement.
| Triumvirate of Sonderan |
|Enclaved by the state of Victoria, Australia |
|Capital city||Merindarra, meaning ‘strength’|
|Official language(s)||Sonderian; Australian English|
|Official religion(s)||Secular state|
|Government||Secular, sovereign, constitutional triumvirate|
|Population||25 (as of 2019 census)|
|National animal||Silver gull|
Sonderan takes its name from the word ‘sonder’ as defined in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig: The realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own - populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness - an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.'
Within the nation itself, the name places particular emphasis on the significance of individual community contributions, encouraging citizens to identify their own worth and the value of the people around them in order to build meaningful societal connections.
The Triumvirate of Sonderan was founded after a two year research and consultation process.
Initially fuelled as a protest against the human rights abuses perpetuated by successive Australian Governments against asylum seekers in the name of ‘national security’, the founders were influenced by an insistence by deposed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that new citizens of Australia could not be considered legal citizens unless they had sworn a formal oath of allegiance. It was extrapolated that, this being so, oaths of allegiance were transferable and extendable to both external citizenship claims and property rights.
Prior to its foundation, the underlying emphasis of the nation morphed from one of protest into a push for change in community attitudes. At the time of its declaration of independence it was conceptually a kindness movement, seeking to promote tolerance and individual/community happiness through culture and targeted initiatives.
The nation of Sonderan was formally declared on 5 January 2018, with Cedar as ‘Monarch Apparent’ heading the caretaker government. It would take twelve months for the Sonderian constitution to be drafted, reviewed and ratified. During this time the state was declared a triumvirate and the Sonderian flag commissioned.
The Constitution of the Triumvirate of Sonderan was officially signed into law on 5 January 2019, with Cedar ascending the throne as Monarch and head of a, now constitutionally sanctioned, caretaker government.
Government and politics
As a constitutional triumvirate, Sonderan has three heads of state, the ‘Triumvirs’.
The role of the Monarch is a hereditary position and represents the executive functions of the nation. The Monarch is responsible for international relations and for the day to day running of the nation. This is achieved with assistance of the Royal Council, an administrative group made up of representatives from each of the nation’s provinces.
The role of the President is an elected position and represents the legislative functions of the nation. The President coordinates the National Parliament.
The role of the Chancellor is also an elected position, although the candidates are initially sorted into eligibility for the role. The Chancellor represents the judicial functions of the nation.
The National Parliament is made up of two houses.
The Lower House, known as the National Assembly, has two deputations: the Primary Deputation and the Secondary Deputation. The Primary Deputation is democratically elected in national elections overseen by the Chancellor’s office. Once elected, the President and the Vice President are elected by the Primary Deputation from among their members.
The Secondary Deputation is selected by sortition based on fair representation. Once sorted into the Secondary Deputation, they elect the new Chancellor and Vice Chancellor from among their members. As neither the Chancellor nor the Vice Chancellor hold a vote in the National Assembly once elected, the Secondary Deputation will always have two less seated members than the Primary Deputation.
The Upper House, known as the Senate, is made up of senators selected on the basis of merit, each representing the most qualified/experienced Sonderian citizen in each of the following fields: Arts and Culture, Economics, Education, Environment, Health, Information Technology, Law, Science, Social Sciences. There are also constitutional provisions for up to three extra senators selected from fields identified by the Triumvirs as representing specific areas of need.
Legislation must be passed by both houses before being signed by the President into law.
The Sonderian Constitution has particular articles devoted to the expected growth of the nation within realistic timeframes. The Caretaker Government is currently administrating all governmental functions until the citizen threshold for the activation of the Triumvirate Government is triggered.
Law and order
The Chancellor is responsible for ensuring the transparency and integrity of the judicial system, although they have no jurisdiction over individual judgments. The Chancellor’s office is responsible for overseeing national elections, the sortition process and coordinating the selection of Judges and the Chief Justice of the Sonderian Supreme Court.
It is illegal in Sonderan to negatively discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, nationality, age, ability/disability, origin, sex, health, creed, faith, marital status or spoken language, however needs based asset distribution may be employed in order to address regional deficits in accessibility to state services.
Citizens of Sonderian are not required to renounce pre-existing citizenships they may hold and Sonderian citizenship is compatible with all other forms of micronational and macronational citizenship. Citizens are required to pay taxes within the countries in which they earned their wages - ie. duel Sonderian/Australian citizens working in Australia are still required to pay taxes to the Australian government.
Voting in national elections is compulsory unless an exemption has been granted. Non-sexual/violent criminal convictions are considered spent after 5 years.
The Monarch is the symbol of the nation and represents the nation abroad. They have the power to send delegates and nominate ambassadors to international posts and to engage in foreign diplomacy, including the signing of international agreements, protocols and treaties. However, treaties and binding agreements not ratified by the National Parliament within six months of the Monarch’s acceptance are revoked by the President.
The Triumvirate’s general foreign policy is one of tolerance and mutually beneficial intermicronational discourse, however the nation’s motto is ‘Always Kindness’, and there is a cultural understanding that, on particular issues, certain political stances are incompatible with satisfactory foreign relations. Nations proactively seeking to incite hate through the proliferation of racist, mysoginist, misandrist, homophobic, or ableist viewpoints are generally understood to be incompatible with the Sonderian world view.
The Triumvirate of Sonderan has been a member of the Grand Unified Micronational since 2019.
The State of Sonderan is committed to peace and amity in the world. Acts undertaken to prepare war or otherwise disturb the peaceful relations between nations are unconstitutional. Whilst the Monarch is the symbolic Commander in Chief of the Self Defence Force, and is empowered to protect Sonderian citizens in a crisis, Sonderan has no standing army and would rely on expert citizens and international assistance in a disaster.
Geography and climate
Sonderan is divided into Regions, which are themselves divided into Provinces. Within each Province, self governing Households submit to the national government under the constitution, while Special Territories are maintained and managed by the Triumvirs and members of the Royal Family. Households must have permanent residents, but Special Territories do not have this requirement.
From a geographic standpoint, the State currently consists of one major Region, ‘Fyrstir’, encompassing the western half of the Mornington Peninsula, containing the Provinces of Merindarra - administering the Households of Merindarra (the national capital), Vandertilly, Tralorin, and Halehope, as well as the Special Territories of Mountain and Treasure Beach), and; Olewyddin - administering the Households of Olewyddin and Elskercott, and the Special Territory of Stephen Beach. Both the Special Territories of Treasure Beach and Stephen Beach are shallow, safe beaches permitting access to Port Philip Bay and are the source of one of Sonderan’s most exported commodities - Sonderian seaglass. The Special Mountain Territory is the highest point in the nation at 305m above sea level.
Fyrstir’s cool, maritime climate provides an ideal environment for the growing of produce, and the nation produces regular crops of a range of fruits and vegetables including lemons, tomatoes, olives, figs, loquats, strawberries, snow peas and passionfruit. The capital also produces yoghurt and mushrooms.
An additional Household, Schneeebveland, is an isolated enclave in the Australian Capital Territory. Schneeebveland is subject to a harsher climate than its southern counterparts, with significantly colder winters and harsher summer temperatures.
The Sonderian currency, the Sonderian Lyra is divided into ten pennies and is utilised as the primary currency within the nation’s borders. The Sonderian Lyra is tied to the national fruit production, with two Sonderian Lyra being roughly worth two kilograms of harvested fruit, or one jar of jam (or other type of processed fruit).
While the nation relies primarily on international imports in order to survive, the government has pledged to invest in cottage industries and boost exports by 2022. Most citizens work internationally and the economy is almost entirely supported by remittances.
Sonderian Jam is currently produced from a blend of local and imported ingredients.
Happiness through Kindness
Sonderian citizens strive to be both happy and to develop happiness in others through acts of kindness. These acts of kindness are rewarded through a system of honorary titles bestowed upon those who achieve predetermined ranked milestones. Acts of service are valued more than administrative titles, with hereditary titles considered of least value.
The Monarchy, while ostensibly noble, performs a subservient role within the national psyche, with the prevalent attitude of both the citizens and the Royal Family focusing on what the Royals can do for the general citizenship.
The development of culture is a valued responsibility of the National Government and Article 8 of the Constitution enshrines the necessity to both preserve existing cultural practises and facilitate the continued evolution of new ones to enrich the society and cultural life of Sonderian citizens. While individual households are encouraged to develop individualised cultures, outright cultural appropriation of previously oppressed minorities (without reasonably established historical lineage) is not acceptable.
Sonderians in national dress wear a scarf, shawl, stole or other length of fabric over their left shoulder. Shawls can be representative of rank, clan, or simply citizenship.
In general, Sonderians prefer to avoid photographs and favour images rendered in watercolour where time permits.
While each Household is encouraged to develop their own unique dishes, the National food is the pancake. Pancakes are eaten for breakfast on both Sonderan Day and Pancake Day.
Jam holds particular significance: each citizen has a constitutional right to a share of state made jam. Each year ‘Jam Day’ is declared by the Monarch and shares of jam distributed with much fanfare on the day.
Benefits of Citizenship
Citizens of Sonderan are entitled to a number of concrete benefits, aside from the more standard constitutional rights. Citizens of Sonderan are entitled to:
1. An annual audience with the Queen to discuss ways in which the government might help them to accomplish their own goals. This forms the basis of a somewhat unique take on the Bhutanese concept and implementation of Gross National Happiness policies
2. At least one story published and archived in the State Chronicles. The State Chronicles honour the etymology of the Sonderian national name and seek to preserve and share the stories of Sonderian citizens in an assertion that each individual is uniquely important and worthy of attention.
3. A piece of Sonderian Sea Glass from the Royal Treasury
4. A jar of jam, preserved fruit, or baked good per citizen from the Bank of Sonderan, tri-annually, or more frequently depending on the quantity of fruit produced nationally.
5. Assume a pseudonym when applying for citizenship. This entitlement links in with a Sonderan preoccupation with anonymity, which is highly sought after and valued. Balancing impact with anonymity remains a strong governmental focus of the Monarchy in particular.
Sonderan observes the following national holidays:
January 1: New Year’s Day
January 5: Sonderan Day - on this day the Monarch customarily announces the type of jam to be distributed on Jam Day. In a special ceremony, the Royal Spoon is presented to the Keeper of the Spoon. Pancakes are eaten for dinner.
Second Sunday in January: Jam Day - on this day each eligible citizen receives their jar of Sonderian Jam from the Bank of Sonderan. Citizens wear red and a parade is held in the Capital.
January 21: Hugging Day
March 5: Pancake Tuesday
April 19: Good Friday
April 20: Easter Saturday
April 21: Easter Sunday
April 25: ANZAC Day
Second Sunday in May: Mother’s Day
First Saturday in June: Merry Fig Day - on this day citizens gather in groups to share warm foods, such as soup and casseroles, and to exchange cards of friendship and thanks. Candles are lit, there is music and dancing and citizens wear blue. Whoever finds the fig in their Merry fig Day biscuit leads the dance.
First Sunday in September: Father’s Day
Second weekend in October: Chicken Festival - on this day citizens wear white and participate in a festival celebrating spring. Coloured water is thrown, murals are painted and picnics held. Over the course of the day the previously white clothes donned by citizens become increasingly colourful. This is also Census Day and the day on which ‘chickens are counted’.
First Tuesday in November: Henry Mortlock Memorial Hat Day - on this day, citizens are encouraged to make their own hats from household materials and wear their creations with pride
November 11: Remembrance Day
November 13: World Kindness Day
November 26: Wizzypops Day - Christmas begins and all Christmas Trees in the nation are erected
November 30: Salmon Pie Day - on which salmon pie is consumed
December 24: Christmas Eve
December 25: Christmas Day
December 26: Boxing Day
December 31: New Year’s Day
The Sonderian Gazette is a government funded news service initially set up to broadcast twitter updates on important news within the Triumvirate for an international audience.
As the number of citizens and territories begin to grow, the Gazette’s activities will expand to include internal news publications which, in turn, will provide content for the news section of the official government website.
The government funded Sonderian Radio Service will broadcast a monthly program aimed primarily at a local audience, although international listeners will be able to tune in. This service will be launched on Sonderan Day 2020.