After seven years of having Peter FitzSimons as the face of the Australian Republic Movement (ARM), the anti-monarchy campaign will now be led by human rights activist Craig Foster.
Following news of his resignation in early October, FitzSimons took to Twitter to officially announce that the former Socceroo will take over his seat as chair of the ARM.
Warmest congrats to the New Chair of the ARM @AusRepublic.
Please give it up for @Craig_Foster!
He will be wonderful.
I’ve been privileged to do it for 7 years, and loved it.
The Executive includes @NovaPeris @marinasgo and @adambspencer
ARM is in great hands, and all set!
— Peter FitzSimons (@Peter_Fitz) November 15, 2022
Foster, who was recently named NSW Australian of the Year, also took to social media to thank FitzSimons for the opportunity and to acknowledge his”distinguished service” in the position.
Thankyou for your distinguished service @Peter_Fitz along with all former National Committee members
Special thanks to the many thousands of members & all supporters across the country on behalf of those new to the roles
We look forward to bringing this important cause to life https://t.co/YPZs6pQTyh
— Craig Foster (@Craig_Foster) November 15, 2022
FitzSimons had previously told The Guardian he believed having a younger person as chair would be the next best course of action for the movement, saying his resignation is necessary to keep the movement on track.
“I’ve been doing it for seven years, the nature of this is you need, it always needs fresh voices, fresh energy and fresh networks,” he said.
“You need people coming from all over. I’ve always said that I would never be the guy to take it to a referendum.
“It’s time for me to move on. I’ve been a drum for an ARM and now we probably need a flute.”
Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the ARM has ramped up its campaign to turn Australia into a republic, saying there is “no longer any excuse to delay” the change.
Prior to his retirement, FtizSimons claimed an English sovereign had “no place in a democratic, egalitarian Australia.”
“The notion is as foreign to Australian values as the monarchy itself. Nor should anyone be forced to pledge allegiance to a foreign King or Head of State – our Head of State should pledge to serve us, and only us, instead. Only an Australian should have the honour of becoming our Head of State,” he said.
“We call for an era that does away with inherited power and privilege in the highest echelon of government and allows any Australian to aspire to be our nation’s Head State so that the full diversity of our nation can be heard and represented at the highest levels.
“We don’t need or want a King to reign over us. We deserve an Australian champion – a first among equals.”
While only time can tell whether the ARM is successful with its campaign, a recent poll conducted by Roy Morgan showed that 60 per cent of Australians are in support of remaining under the Monarchy.