The chief ministers and premiers of Australia, except West Australia’s Colin Barnett, signed a declaration which asks for an Australian head of state. Peter FitzSimons, chair of the Australian Republican Movement, said that the declaration along with an online petition, which received the consent of about 4,000 people, was scheduled for the Australia Day.
“It is time to get moving, and I must say I was thrilled by how enthusiastic the premiers were,” the ABC quoted FitzSimons as saying. “All of Australia’s political leaders now support an Australian head of state, including [Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull and [Opposition Leader] Bill Shorten. Never before have the stars of the Southern Cross been so aligned in pointing to the dawn of a new republican age for Australia.”
Jay Weatherill, the South Australian premier, said that the initiative upheld a significant assertion of Australia’s national identity. “I think there was strong support for a republic in 1999, it’s just that some clever politicians managed to manoeuvre the situation into a defeat for the republican cause,” Weatherill told
“I think there was strong support for a republic in 1999, it’s just that some clever politicians managed to manoeuvre the situation into a defeat for the republican cause,” Weatherill told AM. “I think there is an underlying sense of support for a republic, always has been and it is just a question of rekindling that.”
According to FitzSimons, Barnett sent him a note that said though he was committed to the Republican Movement, he was not yet prepared to sign the declaration. Fitzsimons said he believes that Barnett’s opposition to the idea of an Australian head of state could be due to his concerns over losing votes. It also somehow has been related to the inauguration of the Elizabeth Quay on the Swan River this week by the premier, the news.com.au reported.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Australia’s links to the monarchy is a story of the past and that it is time to grow up and be self-supporting.