Anthony Albanese rules out republic referendum saying too soon to discuss after Queen’s death


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has hosed down talk of Australia soon becoming a republic any time soon after the death of The Queen.

Despite the prime minister being in favour of Australia replacing the monarchy with a local head of state, he said it would not happen in his first term.

Mr Albanese said out of ‘deep respect and admiration’ for The Queen he would not pursue ‘questions about our constitution’ at least until he was reelected.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has hosed down talk of Australia soon becoming a republic following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

The prime minister brushed off questions about when would be the right time to start having conversations about moving away from the monarch

The prime minister brushed off questions about when would be the right time to start having conversations about moving away from the monarch 

Hours after proclaiming Charles III King of Australia, he told Sky News in the UK the focus for the near terms should on celebrating her ‘service to Australia, the Commonwealth and the world’.

The PM said she ‘always reached out to give comfort to Australians at our time of need’, such as cyclones, floods, and natural disasters.  

Before he took this firm position, he earlier on Sunday he said it was too early to discuss the issue and would rather focus on mourning Her Majesty.

‘Now is not a time to talk about our system of government, now is a time for us to pay tribute to the life of Queen Elizabeth,’ he told the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

‘That’s the system of government that we have, it’s one which as Australian prime minister, I have a responsibility to respect.’

The prime minister brushed off questions about when would be the right time to start having conversations about moving away from the monarch.

‘Quite clearly, this is a time of national mourning,’ he said.

Governor-General David Hurley and prime minister Anthony Albanese at the proclamation outside Parliament House on Sunday

Governor-General David Hurley and prime minister Anthony Albanese at the proclamation outside Parliament House on Sunday

The comments come as King Charles III was proclaimed as monarch at a ceremony at Parliament House on Sunday by Governor-General David Hurley

The comments come as King Charles III was proclaimed as monarch at a ceremony at Parliament House on Sunday by Governor-General David Hurley

Governor-General David Hurley proclaimed King Charles III as monarch at midday on Sunday

Governor-General David Hurley proclaimed King Charles III as monarch at midday on Sunday

‘Even though the Queen was 96 years of age and had lived such a long life, it still came as a shock. I think that says something about the way that the Queen was perceived as a constant in our lives.’

King Charles III was proclaimed Australia’s monarch at a ceremony at Parliament House on Sunday by Governor-General David Hurley.

Mr Albanese also announced Australians would get a one-off public holiday to mourn the loss of the late Queen on the National Day of Mourning on September 22. 

‘It will be a one-off national public holiday to allow people to pay their respects for the passing of Queen Elizabeth,’ he said. 

The national public holiday will fall on the day before the Grand Final Eve public holiday in Victoria meaning residents in the state will get a four-day weekend. 

Former prime minister John Howard said he had no doubt the Queen was pleased when Australia voted not to become a republic during the 1999 referendum.

Mr Howard, who was prime minister at the time of the national vote, praised the Queen’s sense of duty and respect while the referendum campaign took place.

The Federal Guard march outside Parliament House during the proclamation of King Charles III on Sunday

The Federal Guard march outside Parliament House during the proclamation of King Charles III on Sunday

The proclamation of King Charles III included a welcome to country, raising of the flag to full mast and Indigenous spiritual dance

The proclamation of King Charles III included a welcome to country, raising of the flag to full mast and Indigenous spiritual dance

‘I have no doubt that she was pleased with the result, but she never sought to influence it. She continued to do her job, again and again,’ said.

Mr Howard also revealed his and the Queen’s private secretary shared three draft press statements on potential outcomes of the referendum.

While Australia voted not to become a republic at the time, Mr Howard said the statement in the event of a ‘yes’ vote would have expressed her love for Australia and desire to see the country succeed.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said any talk of Australia becoming a republic would need to be held at another time.

Mr Dutton has expressed his view that Australia should remain as a constitutional monarchy indefinitely.

‘At the moment we mourn the loss of an incredible world leader, a woman who was obviously an amazing role model to many women, to many female leaders across the world,’ he told the ABC.

‘We need a King as much as we did a Queen, because we have a stability in our system that served us well and I don’t believe in disrupting that.’

Mr Howard also revealed his and the Queen's private secretary shared three draft press statements on potential outcomes of the referendum

Mr Howard also revealed his and the Queen’s private secretary shared three draft press statements on potential outcomes of the referendum

It took just 24 minutes for the Australian Republic Movement to make a statement calling for a republic after the Queen's death was announced by Buckingham Palace on Friday morning (pictured, Sydneysiders at NSW Proclamation Ceremony at NSW Parliament House)

It took just 24 minutes for the Australian Republic Movement to make a statement calling for a republic after the Queen’s death was announced by Buckingham Palace on Friday morning (pictured, Sydneysiders at NSW Proclamation Ceremony at NSW Parliament House)

It took just 24 minutes for the Australian Republic Movement to make a statement calling for a republic after the Queen’s death was announced by Buckingham Palace on Friday morning.

In a statement released 19 minutes before Mr Albanese issued his response to the monarch’s death, the ARM said The Queen had backed the right of Australians to become a fully independent nation’.

The statement quoted Her Majesty saying she ‘always made it clear that the future of the Monarchy in Australia is an issue for the Australian people and them alone to decide’ at the time of the 1999 republic referendum.

‘During her reign the Australia Act 1986 was passed eliminating many of the remaining opportunities for UK interference in Australian Government,’ the statement said.

‘Appeals from Australian courts to British courts were abolished.’

The National Day of Mourning will include a memorial service for that will be held at a yet-to-be-confirmed Anglican cathedral.

The proclamation ceremony began with a procession of the Australian Defence Force followed by a welcome to country

The proclamation ceremony began with a procession of the Australian Defence Force followed by a welcome to country

'Whereas because of the death of our pleasant and glorious Queen Elizabeth II, the Crown has solely and rightfully come to Prince Charles Philip Arthur George,' Mr Hurley said

‘Whereas because of the death of our pleasant and glorious Queen Elizabeth II, the Crown has solely and rightfully come to Prince Charles Philip Arthur George,’ Mr Hurley said

Calls for a republic were made just moments after Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday (pictured, demonstrators in Sydney in 1994)

Calls for a republic were made just moments after Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday (pictured, demonstrators in Sydney in 1994)

It will be attended by all of parliament, former ministers, former PMs, governor-generals and ambassadors.

A minute of silence will be observed and flags around the country will be lowered to half-mast.

Mr Albanese said he wrote to advise state and territory leaders of the decision to make the National Day of Mourning a public holiday.

‘I spoke to all premiers and chief ministers yesterday and I’m writing to them formally this morning, they will have received their letters by now,’ he said.

‘They have all agreed that it’s appropriate that it be a one-off national public holiday.’ 

The announcement came as Governor-General David Hurley proclaimed King Charles III as Australia’s new sovereign outside Parliament House.

‘Whereas because of the death of our pleasant and glorious Queen Elizabeth II, the Crown has solely and rightfully come to Prince Charles Philip Arthur George,’ he said.

‘This 11th day of September, 2022, and in the first year of his Majesty’s reign, signed by me as Governor-General and countersigned by my command, by the honourable Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Queen's death has sparked renewed calls for Australia to become a republic, as issue that went to referendum in 1999 where Australians voted for no change

 The Queen’s death has sparked renewed calls for Australia to become a republic, as issue that went to referendum in 1999 where Australians voted for no change

‘God save the King.’

The proclamation ceremony began with a procession of the Australian Defence Force followed by a welcome to country.

Following the proclamation, God Save the King was played, with flags raised to full mast.

An Indigenous spiritual dance then followed before a 21-gun salute rang out across the capital.

MPs and senators from across the political divide were also in attendance to watch the ceremonial proceedings.

Large crowds also gathered outside Parliament House to witness the proclamation, with some attendees waiting for more than an hour.

Read the Australian Republican Movement’s full statement about the death of Queen Elizabeth II

The Australian Republic Movement recognises and pays due respect to the significant contribution made by Queen Elizabeth II over more than seven decades as Head of State to Australia and 14 other nations, and expresses its condolences to the Royal Family.

Many Australians have known no other Head of State – the length of her reign was unrivalled. As monarch, Queen Elizabeth was a patron of more than 600 organisations and served them admirably. She rose to become a respected representative of Britain and the Commonwealth.

Queen Elizabeth respected the self-determination of the Australian people. During her reign the Australia Act 1986 was passed eliminating many of the remaining opportunities for UK interference in Australian government. Appeals from Australian courts to British courts were abolished.

The Queen backed the right of Australians to become a fully independent nation during the referendum on an Australian republic in 1999, saying that she has ‘always made it clear that the future of the Monarchy in Australia is an issue for the Australian people and them alone to decide, by democratic and constitutional means.’

Chair of the Australian Republic Movement Peter FitzSimons AM expressed his sympathies and gratitude on behalf of the Movement.

‘We are deeply saddened by the news of Queen Elizabeth’s passing and express deep gratitude and thanks for her service to the Commonwealth.

‘During her reign, Australia has grown into a mature and independent nation. It is unlikely we will ever see a Monarch as respected or admired by the Australian people again.’

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