By Chris O’Connor. Australia’s newly elected Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) has raised the possibility of the nation ditching the Queen as our head of state and instead becoming a republic. He’s even gone to the extent of appointing an ‘assistant minister for the republic’.
Queen Elizabeth may be the most popular head of state in recent history and realistically she has had a dreadful job of holding together ‘The Firm” in recent years as Prince Andrew became embroiled in some very tacky adventures and Prince Harry decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater in conjunction with his rather vacuous wife.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy and our head of state is the Queen. However, unlike the UK the Queen does not have a role in the day-to-day running of Australia. On the advice of the Australian Prime Minister, the Queen appoints the Governor-General, who is the Queen’s representative here..
The Australian Constitution delegates – gives – certain powers to the Governor-General to act on behalf of the Queen. These include giving Royal Assent to laws passed by the Australian Parliament and starting the process for a federal election. While these powers are exercised by the Governor-General, in reality this is normally done on the advice of the Prime Minister and ministers.
Mr Albanese has previously described Australia becoming a republic as ‘inevitable’ but did not mention the issue during his six-week election campaign.
Over the years, the both Labor and Liberal politicians have at times lent their support to Australia becoming a republic.
Australians were given the choice on whether to break away from the Commonwealth in 1999, but 55 per cent voted down the referendum.
But the Australian Republican Movement believes support has increased since then and that 73 per cent of the population are now in favour of the change. That figure has not been verified officially.
Whether the Jubilee celebrations help to raise her popularity in Australia is to be seen but it would be hard to find any person who does not admire the manner in which she has carried out her duties and the dignity that she constantly upholds.