Australian leaders in support of republic

  • 25/01/2016
Australian Republican Movement chairperson Peter FitzSimons (AAP)
Australian Republican Movement chairperson Peter FitzSimons (AAP)

Australian leaders are in almost united support for the nation becoming a republic, but a decision over when the change should be made has not been made.

As part of a campaign by the Australian Republican Movement (ARM), seven out of eight leaders signed a declaration supporting the end of constitutional monarchy, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Instead of the Queen of England, state and territory leaders want an Australian head of state.

The only leader against the proposition was WA Premier Colin Barnett, who says he only held out support because he does not think the time is right.

"The significance of this is, if you want the majority of people from the majority of states, well, the premiers and chief minister are behind you. That’s a hell of a start," says ARM chairperson Peter FitzSimons.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is on record as being in favour too, but says there are more pressing issues to address first.

"The next occasion for the republic referendum to come up is going to be after the Queen's reign," he said.

Mr FitzSimons wants a vote by 2020, followed by a congress of political and community leaders to choose a preferred model for a republic.

A lack of agreement over the best republican model is seen as the main reason the 1999 republic referendum failed, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"There are 54 Commonwealth nations. Under the Queen’s watch, 33 have become republics," says Mr FitzSimons. “They are still a part of the Commonwealth of Nations. They are still going to the Commonwealth Games. The Queen hasn't fallen over."

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