Thu, August 19, 2010
World > Asia-Pacific > Australia federal elections

Australia should be a republic: PM

2010-08-17 03:04:52 GMT2010-08-17 11:04:52 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard smiles during the Labor party's federal election campaign launch event in Brisbane August 16, 2010. Australia will hold a federal election on August 21, 2010. (Reuters Photo)

CANBERRA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Australia should move to be a republic when reign of Queen Elizabeth II ends, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Tuesday.

Gillard also planned to lead a national debate on republic after the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, 84, ends.

The prime minister said that despite being a republican, she understood that Australians had a "deep affection" for the British monarch.

"What I would like to see as prime minister is that we work our way through to an agreement on a model for the republic," Gillard told reporters in Townsville of Queensland.

"I think the appropriate time for this nation to move to be a republic is when we see the monarch change.

"Obviously I'm hoping for Queen Elizabeth that she lives a long and happy life, and having watched her mother I think there's every chance that she will."

According to ABC News, Gillard's comments put her absolutely at odds with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who is a staunch monarchist and was at the center of the anti-republican cause in the 1999 referendum, which rejected the notion of change.

Since Federation on Jan. 1, 1901, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and is a Commonwealth realm, which has Elizabeth II as its monarch.

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