Former Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has weighed in on the rolling debate on whether Australia should become a republic or remain a monarchy.
The debate kicked off when the late Queen Elizabeth II passed away and her son King Charles III took the throne, with groups like the Australian Republic Movement calling for an Australian Head of State.
Bishop, who is chair of King Charles’ charity, Prince’s Trust Australia, told 9Honey she doesn’t believe His Majesty’s rule will result in an Australian republic.
“I don’t actually think the question of Australia being a republic is attached to the British monarch as such, it’s actually the political system, and the Australian people have shown that they are loath to change if no good reason is demonstrated – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” she said.
“I was quite involved in the last time we had a referendum on this topic in 1998/1999 and there was so much disagreement as to what would replace a constitutional monarchy – a direct elect president, a president elected by the Parliament – there was just no agreement.
“So unless there’s a model that the majority of Australians and a majority of states agree upon, we’ll continue with the system we have.”
The former politician went on to say King Charles will be a great Head of State for Australia, citing his “very long apprenticeship for [the] role” as the reason he is a reliable ruler.
“He brings a lifetime of experience and has obviously observed his late mother closer to hand and I’m sure he will make a very fine monarch for this country and for the other nations around the world,” Bishop said.
“He is curious, intelligent, intensely interested in current affairs, and is very easy to converse with. I find him charming.”
View this post on Instagram
However, King Charles hasn’t charmed the Albanese Government, which for the first time in Australian history, has appointed an Assistant Minister for the Republic, Matt Thistlethwaite, who will be running a consultation tour in 2023, to hear Australians on the issue.
The national tour will reveal to the government if the nation is ready for a referendum, which is expected to occur at the next election.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Assistant Minister for the Republic Matt Thistlethwaite said that the main voices he’d like to hear on the tour are the people who voted ‘No’ in 1999 and those who aren’t sure how they feel.
“We’re on a journey to maturing and becoming independent. The first step is a Voice to Parliament … and the second is an Australian head of state. I’m doing the legwork and work behind the scenes to make sure that second step is a success,” Thistlethwaite said.
“This consultation is part of that.
“I don’t want to hear from people who are republicans. I want to hear from Australians who are undecided or voted no in 1999, and I want to hear the reason they voted no and what arguments will help them get them across the line.”
The last referendum was held in 1999, with Australians voting against severing ties with the monarchy.