The Australian Republic Movement (ARM) welcomes the Prime Minister’s statement today that the next step towards an Australian republic could be a postal survey on how an Australian head of state should be chosen.
"The Prime Minister Mr Turnbull should now commit to a national vote on an Australian republic during the next Parliament,” said ARM Chair Peter Fitzsimons. "We are thrilled with the return of the PM – long the most passionate republican in the country; to moving forward the process of becoming a republic. The leaders on both sides of politics clearly want this to happen. Now it’s not a question of if, but how."
The Australian Republic Movement proposes that in 2020 there should be two national votes. One vote should answer the in-principle question of whether Australia should have an Australian as head of state. The other should answer the question of how Australia’s head of state should be chosen. These could be held at the same time.
"The Australian Republic Movement believes this is a decision for every Australian, not a decision for the parliament or the parties,” adds ARM National Director Michael Cooney.
"Australians should decide what kind of republic they want and leaders should listen.
"The Opposition Leader Mr Shorten has already promised a vote on the in-principle question; should Australia have an Australian as head of state; by the end of his first parliamentary term if elected. If the Prime Minister can match that commitment, all sides of politics could then work together to ensure that the voice of every Australian is heard.
"This is what true political leadership must look like in 2018: Australian citizens taking back control of Australian democracy and Australian leaders putting aside their differences and restoring unity to our society."
Mr Fitzsimons is confident in gaining the support of the Australian people.
"Yes, there will be opponents, but I actually think the idea that, 250 years after Captain Cook landed, Australians coming together to work out the final step to true independence under the Southern Cross; as enjoyed by the First Peoples ; could be a wonderfully unifying exercise, and precisely what we need!"
Today: Chair Peter FitzSimons
From 2 January: Acting Chair Michelle Wood (Sydney)