Politicians rekindle republican debate

The Treasurer & deputy prime minister – Wayne Swan and the former leader of the opposition – Malcolm Turnbull have joined forces to today launch a collection of essays arguing the case for Australia to become a republic.

Malcolm Turnball was a founder member of the Australian Republican Movement and its chairman in the lead up to the unsuccessful 1999 referendum on the issue.

Mr Turnball backed Mr Swans argumewnt that a new debate is “overdue”.

“I’m very positive about the republican cause,”
the Liberal frontbencher said.

“I agree with Wayne Swan that it’s always a good time to talk about our constitution. People say, ‘Oh we shouldn’t be talking about our constitution’ – that’s ridiculous.

“Of course there are more immediate issues – we’re not going to fight the election on this issue, this is not going to be what determines the fate of the Labor government; it’s not going to be even on the radar screen.

“But we should always be alert to and interested in our constitution.”

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Swan said he wanted Labor party policy to set out a two-stage process towards a republic, beginning with a plebiscite on the best model, followed by another referendum.

“We’ve had a decade of inertia and I think the time has come, and I believe sooner rather than later we have to begin the journey towards a plebiscite,” he said.

Mr Turnbull believes the best time will be after the end of the current Queen’s reign.

“There’s got to be the sense that this is an issue of the hour, and it isn’t an issue of the hour for determination at least for most Australians today,” he said.

“There’s no point having another referendum that’s going to be lost.

“I think our best chance of having a referendum which could win would be after the end of the Queen’s reign.”

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One Response
  1. Mike B says:

    This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Each year, the links with the mother country grow less and less. There’s fewer of the 10 pound pom generation each year and the number of immigrants from other countries grows each year. The monarchy is of no significance or relevance to migrants from china, mainland Europe, India etc. Also, archaic links to the British monarchy to not make comfortable bedfellows with Australia’s attempts to align itself with China in what the government has called the ‘Asian Century’

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