Former Labor leader Kim Beazley says debate on Australia becoming a republic is premature because there is another constitutional issue to deal with first.
Mr Beazley, a noted advocate for a republic despite serving four years in the vice-regal role of WA governor, said the Indigenous Voice to Parliament is the priority.
Despite some republicans seizing on The Queen’s death to immediately call for a republic, Mr Beazley said the time was not ripe to seriously raise the issue.
Australia will not become a republic for some time even after Charles replaced his mother as monarch
Kim Beazley, here seen hosting Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Canberra in 2006, said settling the issue of having an Indigenous Voice to Parliament was the main focus of the federal government
‘It’s not a debate that’s even worth getting into,’ Mr Beazley told the West Australian.
‘The government is not going to bring that on. They have told us quite clearly that they will deal with the First Nations issue first and then they will deal with the Republican issue.’
Mr Beazley said it made ‘good sense’ to wait until the Voice to Parliament, which Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wants to enact with a change to the constitution, is settled before the republic is considered.
‘That must be a year or two down the track,’ he said. ‘It is debate we are going to have. It will happen at some point of time, but not now. I think at some point we will become a republic.’
Mr Beazley said King Charles benefited from a long ‘apprenticeship’ as heir to the throne for more than 60 years under his mother.
He said the new king bolstered his image with the support he gave Her Majesty after the death of her husband Prince Phillip last year, and how he stepped in for The Queens as her health deteriorated.
He believed King Charles would smoothly combine his mother’s traditions and work ethic with his own ‘contemporary style’.
Mr Albanese is also a republican, who in his first ministry created the role of assistant minister for the republic, which went to Matt Thistlethwaite.
However, he has not raised the issue since The Queen’s death unlike some of the very eager advocates in the ranks of Australian republicans.
Former Labor leader Kim Beazley, here seen with wife Suzie in 2009, says the debate over a republic will have to wait a year or two
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.
Author and media figure Peter FitzSimons, who chairs the ARM, paid tribute to The Queen’s significant contribution to Australia.
Greens leader Adam Bandt wasted little time following the announced death of the Queen to start campaigning for a republic
However, he also suggested it was ‘unlikely we will ever see a Monarch as respected or admired by the Australian people again’.
Greens leader Adam Bandt waited just five hours after The Queen’s death was announced to call for Australia to ‘move forward’ and become a republic.
Mr Bandt, who refuses to put the Australian flag with its Union Jack corner behind him at press conferences, posted a condolences to the Queen’s family and ‘those who loved her’ before arguing for a republic.
‘Now Australia must move forward. We need Treaty with First Nations people, and we need to become a Republic.’
Earlier this year the ARM proposed a model for Australia to become a republic.
Under the proposal, every state and territory would shortlist their best and brightest citizens to be Australia’s head of state, which would then go to a national ballot of 11 applicants.
Peter FitzSimons, the chair of the Australian Republican Movement, released his statement on the Queen dying before the Prime Minister did
The elected head of state would be at the helm for a five-year term.
They would be responsible for appointing a prime minister with majority support in the House of Representatives but will have no authority in day-to-day governance or passing laws.
‘We’ve consulted, we’ve listened closely and Australians have told us this approach will give our nation the best chance of success at a referendum, with an overwhelming majority of Australians likely to have the change,’ Fitzsimons said in January.
‘This will give all Australian voters a merit-based choice about who speaks for them as head of state. The decision will be in their hands, unlike now, where it is luck of the draw who we get from the British Royal Family.’
The ARM spent two years developing the new model in consultation with more than 10,000 Australians.
Almost three quarters of Australians would vote for a republic if the model was put to a referendum while 92 per cent were open to the idea, according to their research.
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
Almost 55 per cent of Australians voted to not become a republic at the 1999 referendum.
However, the new model did not even get across-the-board support from noted republicans.
Despite his long advocacy for a republic former Labor prime minister Paul Keating blasted the model saying it dabbled dangerously with having a US-style president.
‘Australia is in no requirement of a US-style presidency with its grandiosity and propensity to throw up individuals of the Donald Trump variety,’ Mr Keating said.
‘Australia is safer and better with the diffuse and representative power structure it currently enjoys.’
‘With the power of a popular mandate, a new president would render subordinate all other officers of state, including the current office of prime minister and that of the cabinet.
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.’
Mr Keating said a head of state being appointed by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Parliament was still the better model, even though is was rejected by referendum voters in 1999.