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.