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Deputy Minister for the Republic Matt Thistlethwaite said this morning Australians should consider whether the nation should become a republic once Queen Elizabeth II ends her reign.
Thistlethwaite said it was time Australia had a serious discussion about its own unique identity, although Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wanted to use the term to speak with people about a referendum in a second term of his government.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations are taking place in the UK this weekend.
Thistlethwaite held the same role in the Albanese Shadow Ministry before his government was elected.
“He [Albanese] wants me to make sure this issue comes back on the agenda in public discourse here in Australia,” Thistlethwaite told RN Breakfast on Thursday.
“He has made it clear that our priority for the first term will be a [Indigenous] voice in parliament and the recognition of aboriginal people in our constitution.
“I see my role as part of this successful campaign on this initial referendum and then hopefully the next natural step for Australia to take is to nominate one of our own for head of state.”
Thistlethwaite said 34 of the 54 Commonwealth countries were republics, noting the Caribbean island of Barbados became a republic last year, working with the royal family on change with family members attending the ceremony handover.
He plans to reach out to the monarchist movement in Australia and other interested groups in the years to come.
“This issue has not been on the agenda of Australian public discourse for many years – essentially since 1999,” he said.
“There is a whole generation of Australians [including] newly arrived migrants who do not understand this problem. I think my role is basically to educate in the early stages by explaining to people that we have a foreign monarch as head of state.
“We have a proxy in the Governor General, but we can have an Australian as Head of State.
“I want to make it a goal for us by doing it in cooperation with the UK government with the Royal Family, using it as a force that unites Australians around a better future and having one of our owners, our head of state.”