You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

PM says republic must come after Queen

AAP logoAAP 17/12/2016 Anna Hitchings

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reinforced his position that Australia can't become a republic until after the Queen's reign.

The co-founder and former chair of the Australian Republican Movement made the comment during an address at the organisation's 25th anniversary dinner at Sydney University on Saturday.

"I do not believe Australia would welcome, let alone support, another public referendum during her (Queen Elizabeth's) reign," he said.

Mr Turnbull made similar remarks following the defeat of the last referendum, which he spearheaded in 1999.

Instead, he advocated a "grassroots" approach and said an advisory plebiscite would need to be held on the form a republic would take.

"We would need to have an advisory plebiscite which would offer a choice between two republican models, presumably direct election and parliamentary appointment," he said.

He added the plebiscite would be "absolutely critical" to ensure Australians felt they had chosen the model and that any arguments against direct election could be played out prior to a referendum.

However, Mr Turnbull admitted a republic is less an issue now than it was at the time of the last referendum.

"All of us have to be pragmatic in acknowledging it's not something that keeps most of us awake at night," he told Saturday's audience.

"Today, if anything, it is more a slow burner than it was 20 years ago."

Mr Turnbull helped found the ARM in 1991 and chaired the movement from 1993-2000.

After the last defeat, he said the best time to try again would be after the Queen's reign, saying at the time, "I have led a `yes' case for a republic into a heroic defeat once, I have no desire to do so again."

On Saturday, he said only a referendum the Australian people felt ownership over could be a successful one.

"You cannot succeed in any referendum let alone one that goes to touchstone issues of national identity if the proposal is not seen and understood by the Australian people as one over which they all have ownership," he said.

He also stated a referendum could not be allowed to be seen as "a plaything" of a major political party by being used for political gain but be carried out fairly and objectively.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon