Aussie Republic heats up

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The announcement yesterday by the premiers and chief ministers supporting an Australian Head of State receives unanimous supprt in contrast to last year's uproar over Abbott's infamous "captain's pick" knighthood award to Prince Philip. History editor Dr Glenn Davies reports.

YESTERDAY, THE Australian Republican Movement announced that Australia's premiers and chief ministers have made public declarations supporting an Australian Head of State. In a signed declaration, they have affirmed that:

'We, the undersigned Premiers and Chief Ministers of Australia, believe that Australia should have an Australian as our Head of State.'

Hard to argue with that, right!

Thankfully, there will be no Imperial knighthoods awarded this Australia Day.

The reaction from Australians on all sides of politics showed that Imperial honours are divisive and out of touch with a modern, multicultural, egalitarian Australia. Our identity is Australian, not colonial anymore.

A lot has happened since then.

Prince Charles was greeted by the news that a majority of Aussies would prefer an Australian as Head of State over him. In the most recent poll on the topic, 51 per cent of voters support making the move to an Australian republic when Prince Charles becomes King, another 22 per cent are undecided while just 27 per cent of Australians would be opposed to an Australian republic under this scenario.

Other republican activity has seen Peter FitzSimons announced as the Australian Republican Movement's new Chair; Bill Shorten call for an Australian Head of State by 2025 and the ALP renew its policy on an Australian Republic; the axing of knights and dames (with a [dis]honourable mention to Tony Abbott for reintroducing them and then giving one to Prince Philip); and former Australian Republican Movement Chair Malcolm Turnbull become Prime Minister.

After the "republican declaration" yesterday, if there were any doubt, it is now clear that there is political consensus on the question of an Australian republic.

In his first interview after becoming Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull said:

"the republic issue cannot belong to a politician; it's got to be a genuine popular movement." 

The Australian Republican Movement has accepted the challenge set by the PM to extend this consensus to the broader community and build a genuine popular movement with the momentum to force the issue to the top of the national agenda.

Indeed, the Australian Republican Movement is calling upon all Australians to join their state and territory leaders in making a declaration in support of the not-so-radical proposition that Australia's highest office should be reserved for an Australian!

The Australian Republican Movement's Chair, Peter FitzSimons, said:

"All of Australia's political leaders now support an Australian head of state, including Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull. Never before have the stars of the Southern Cross been so aligned, in pointing to the dawn of a new republican age for Australia".

So this Australia Day, before you tuck into your lamb chops (or vegetarian sausages), please take a moment to jump onto and add your name to the petition along with your state and territory leaders to declare support for an Australian head of state.

Better still, once you've signed, mention it around the BBQ and see if you can't convince another five of your friends and family to do the same.

It’s time to turn up the heat.

Note: Sadly, Glenn Frey died 18 January this year.

History editor Dr Glenn Davies is the Australian Republic Movement's Queensland branch convenor. You can follow Glenn on Twitter @DrGlennDavies. Find out more about the Australian Republican Movement HERE.

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