Millions of Coalition voters who believe Australia should have an Australian head of state will welcome reports Barnaby Joyce now says he supports a referendum on the republic.
Newspoll research undertaken in August 2017 showed that more Coalition voters favour an Australian head of state (48%) than oppose (43%). In the event that Prince Charles becomes Australia’s King, Newspoll shows that Coalition voters would overwhelmingly back a republic (56%), with only 36% opposed.
The Prime Minister, along with his Liberal colleagues the Premiers of New South Wales and Tasmania, support an Australian head of state.
Now Mr Joyce, the Nationals candidate for New England, is reported under The Australian masthead as indicating support for a referendum to take place as early as at the coming federal election.
This timeline is even more ambitious than the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s commitment in July this year to hold a vote in the next term of parliament.
The ARM believes a vote on an Australian republic should be separate to other constitutional matters – but Mr Joyce’s support for a vote is most welcome.
The Australian Republic Movement supports a serious democratic process that engages Australians – through national votes in 2020 on the in-principle question of support for change and on the method of selection for a future presidency, plus other forms of public engagement leading to a referendum in 2022.
We agree with Prime Minister Turnbull, who said in a major address to the Australian Republic Movement in December last year:
“House by house, street by street, suburb by suburb, we must make the case to our fellow citizens.”
That is exactly what the Republic movement is doing – and it looks like we have just persuaded one more citizen to get on board.