Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed the death of the Queen will spark a “period of reflection” for Australia, leading to the country choosing to become a republic.
Turnbull discussed the issue on The Times podcast, saying “there’s nothing anti-British or anti-Commonwealth” by wanting an Australian Head of State.
“The next opportunity to consider this will be after the end of the Queen’s reign,” Turnbull said.
“When Queen Elizabeth’s reign comes to an end, there will be a period of reflection, and I think the republic issue will return.
“Most countries in the Commonwealth are republics today, more than two-thirds are republics today.
“There’s nothing anti-British or anti-Commonwealth by not having the Queen or whoever is the monarch, the King, of the United Kingdom as your Head of State.”
Australia’s republican referendum in 1999, led by Turnbull, the former head of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM), was unsuccessful due to a “split among the republicans”.
The politician says the decision to leave the Commonwealth has nothing to do with Prince Charles’ character but is simply based on the belief that “our Head of State should be one of us”.
“I am an admirer of Prince Charles, I think he does a great deal of good in the world, I really do,” Turnbull said.
“It’s not going to be a vote about whether Prince Charles or King Charles as he would be then, is a good man or a good King, it’s really about whether we want an Australian in that office.”
The Australian Monarchist League (AML) have remained vocal against the idea of Australia becoming a republic.
“The United States of Australia. Sounds pretty terrible, right?” the AML said in a post on Facebook, trying to garner support to fight the republican movement.
However, Turnbull’s prediction may come to fruition, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently elected the first Assistant Minister for the Republic to assist with managing the country’s conversion from a Monarchy to a Republic.
Matt Thistlethwaite was sworn in by the Queen’s Representative, Governor-General Dave Hurley on June 2, and said there’s no better time than now to start the conversation of Australia’s transition.
Proud and honoured to be sworn in today as Assistant Minister for Defence, Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, and Assistant Minister for the Republic in the Albanese Labor government. pic.twitter.com/i1uWmFr4Fz
— Matt Thistlethwaite (@MThistlethwaite) June 1, 2022
Speaking with The Guardian, the new Minister believes that as the Queen “comes to the twilight of her reign, it’s a good opportunity for a serious discussion about what comes next for Australia”.
Thistlethwaite says his primary goal is to teach the people of Australia about the current constitutional arrangements of having a British Monarch inheriting the role of Head of State, as opposed to an Australian chosen Head of State.
“Literally hundreds of Australians could perform the role, so why wouldn’t we appoint an Australian as our pinnacle position under the constitution?,” he said.
“It will take time, but if you want to do it properly, we should begin the discussion now, so we’re ready to go in a second term of an Albanese government.”