Republic Debate Re-emerges in Australian Election Campaign
Created: 2010-08-17 11:21 EST
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]:
"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]:
"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.”
Australia is a federation and constitutional monarchy. The British crown is the head of state, represented by the Governor General who holds a symbolic role.
In a republic referendum in 1999, more than 54% of Australians voted no to replacing the Queen with a president as head of state.