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Republic Debate Re-emerges in Australian Election Campaign

8 years ago143 views

Elections for Australia's next prime minister are only four days away. And today, the two top candidates sounded off on whether they think the nation should become a republic and elect its own head of state.

On Tuesday, Australian prime ministerial candidates Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott revealed their visions about Australia becoming a republic.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard admitted that she was a republican, but believed the right time would only come for such a move when the monarch changes in the UK.

[Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister]: (English)
"I obviously am a republican, I believe this nation should be a republic, I also believe that this nation has got a deep affection for Queen Elizabeth. What I would like to see as prime minister is that we work our way through to an agreement on a model for the republic but I think the appropriate time for this nation to move to being a republic is when we see the monarch change. Obviously I'm hoping for Queen Elizabeth that she lives a long and happy life, and having watched her mother I think there's every chance that she will live a long and happy life, but I think that's probably the appropriate point for a transition."

Liberal party leader Tony Abbott seemed less than enthusiastic to voice support for big changes, only four days before the election.

[Tony Abbott, Liberal Party Leader]: (English)
"The Australian people have demonstrated themselves to be remarkably attached to the institutions that work. I think our existing constitutional arrangements have worked well in the past, I see no reason whatsoever why they can't continue to work well in the future so while there may very well be further episodes of republicanism in this country, I am far from certain that at least in our life times there is likely to be any significant change.”

]...]

In a republic referendum in 1999, more than 54% of Australians voted no to replacing the Queen with a president as head of state.

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