Journalist, author and former rugby player Peter FitzSimons has dedicated huge amounts to time to capturing some of Australia’s most profound moments. From Kokoda to Tobruk, from Gallipoli, to the backyard of his childhood in Peats Ridge, New South Wales – “Fitzy” is deeply passionate about Australian history and culture.
But there’s one thing he wants to change and he says we don’t have to wait to do it.
Mr FitzSimons has just been appointed chairman of the Australian Republic Movement and will launch a high-profile campaign to reopen debate about Australia becoming a republic.
He says the biggest obstacle is the not the Queen or the Monarchists but the Prime Minister. He also believes we don’t need to wait for a change of monarch, as Malcolm Turnbull has previously suggested.
“I do believe that the Prime Minister will be in all likelihood our last monarchist Prime Minister,” Mr FitzSimons told The Australian Financial Review.
Mr FitzSimons will lead the push for a republic by 2020. He says we don’t have to give up the royal family all together, we just need to remove them from our system of government.
“The French stormed the Bastille, the Americans had a war of Independence. We don’t have to have a war, we just have to overcome the cult of celebrity and stop believing everything about England is better than us.
“Those who wish to follow all the in and outs of Buckingham Palace can still do exactly that and the Royals might even still visit us. It is just the ludicrousness of having them as part of our governmental system,” he said.
“My personal view is for the minimalist option, keep the current system where the PM chooses the Governor General, just simply don’t ask an Englishwoman in Buckingham Palace, ‘is this OK with you?’.”
In 1999, the referendum for a republic was defeated.
On September 9, the Queen will become the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
Where do you stand on the debate? Should Australian become a republic or should we leave well enough alone?