Australian leaders begin republic push

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who previously led Australia's republican movement, meets Queen Elizabeth II for the first time in November 2015Image copyright
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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who previously led Australia’s republican movement, meets Queen Elizabeth II for the first time in November 2015

Almost all of Australia’s state and territory leaders have signed a document in support of the country becoming a republic.

The only leader who declined to sign, Western Australia’s Colin Barnett, said he was supportive of a republic but believed now was not the right time.

Australians voted against becoming a republic in a 1999 referendum.

Current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the republican movement at that time.

But since coming to power, Mr Turnbull has said no change should occur until the reign of Queen Elizabeth II ends.

The state premiers of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and the chief ministers of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, signed the document in favour of replacing the Queen as head of state.

‘Well past time’

Australian Republican Movement chairman Peter FitzSimons said all Australian leaders, including Mr Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten, supported severing ties with the monarchy.

“Never before have the stars of the Southern Cross been so aligned in pointing to the dawn of a new republican age for Australia,” Mr FitzSimons said in a statement.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said it was “well past time for Australia to become a sovereign nation”.

“Any self-respecting independent country would aspire to select one of its own citizens as head of state,” Mr Weatherill said.

But the national convener of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, Professor David Flint, told the Herald Sun that republicans had not yet settled on a model to replace the current system.

“They can get all the support they want from celebrities and politicians, but they still haven’t put forward what model they want, and told us how it will improve the governance of Australia,” Prof Flint said.

Australia currently operates as a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen officially listed as head of state and represented by a governor general.



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