DW – July 29, 2017
Turning Australia into a republic – a debate that goes back decades – has been reopened by the Labor opposition. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants the issue delayed until the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
Labor Party leader Bill Shorten, in a pre-delivery text of a speech due Saturday night, said he would offer Australians a vote on whether to become a republic if his center-left party won the next election scheduled for 2019.
Turnbull, who led Australia’s Republican Movement before he entered Parliament, visited the 91-year-old queen in London earlier this month. At that time, the premier said he was a “very strong Elizabethan,” and would wait until her reign ended.
In 1975, the issue of whether to drop the monarch as ceremonial head of state and become a republic, came to a head when the then-governor general, Sir John Kerr, sacked Shorten’s Labor predecessor Gough Whitlam as prime minister.