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Queen issued brutal republicanism warning as 'fork in road' looms

Daily Express logo Daily Express 26/12/2021 Alice Scarsi

Australian Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite believes the end of the Queen's reign will mark a watershed moment for Australia. The politician told Express.co.uk: "There is much admiration and respect for the Queen in Australia and the end of her reign will be a fork in the road for Australia to decide if we want to continue with a foreign monarch as our head of state or recognise our maturity and independence and appoint an Australian as our head of state.

"The point about Charles becoming King is that it just happens and Australians don't get a say in who our head of state is.

"That's a pretty outdated concept to most Australians.

"I believe they want to have a say in who our next head of state is and I anticipate there will be a rejuvenation in republicanism in Australia when the Queen's reign ends."

The republican movement in Australia had previously successfully campaigned in favour of a referendum on the monarchy.

queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king © GETTY queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king © GETTY queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king

This vote was held in 1999 and contained two questions.

The first asked whether Australia should become a republic and the second was focused on whether the constitution of the country should be changed to add a preamble.

Australians chose in favour of retaining the Queen as their head of state, with monarchists gaining 54.87 percent of the votes against 45.13 percent.

As the end of the Queen's reign nears, Mr Thistlethwaite believes it's time to call for a new referendum on the issue.

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queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king © GETTY queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king

Asked if he thought Australians were now ready to ditch the monarchy, the MP said: "Yes. Over 20 years have passed since the Australian people were consulted about our Constitution.

"It's clear that Australia's constitution has gone stale and is in dire need of a refresh.

"There is widespread support for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our constitution along with starting another serious discussion about having an Australian as our head of state.

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"It's time for our political leaders to put this back on the agenda and outline how we might make a sensible transition, including through an education campaign, a campaign around a referendum, and then ultimately appointing one of our own as our of head of state."

Republicanism in the country is officially backed by the Australian Labor Party and the Greens.

Some members of the leading centre-right alliance are also in favour of a republic.

The Australian Republican Movement (ARM) announced in March plans to set out a model for a republic and spoke of its hopes for a referendum to be called within a year of the end of the Queen's reign.

queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king © EXPRESS queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king

Philip Benwell MBE, national chair of the Australian Monarchist League, told Express.co.uk in July the support for the monarchy in the country is "possibly stronger than ever since the republic debate commenced in the Nineties."

He added: "This is due both to the devotion most people have for the Queen and also to the stability of our Constitution.

"The decades of republican debates have caused people to understand more about the checks and balances constitutional monarchy provides to our system of governance and to value that and not merely the individual person of the monarch."

Moreover, he added, for Australia to become a republic it would require a major overhaul of the Constitution - a prospect which may put off many Australians.

queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king © GETTY queen end of reign future monarchy australia republicanism referendum prince charles king

He continued: "The constitution was written to be based on the Crown and it will take around 70 amendments to remove it and even then there will be issues tied up in the courts for decades.

"Whatever people may say in a poll, once the complicated detail of the required amendments is put to them, most will resile and vote against change."

Mr Thistlethwaite's call for a new referendum comes after Barbados became a republic on November 30, bringing down the number of the Queen's overseas realms to 14.

The Caribbean country had announced its intention to break ties with the Crown in September 2020 - and at the time Buckingham Palace had announced this was a matter for the government and people of Barbados, signalling the sovereign would not meddle in national affairs.

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