Republicanism in Australia

[edit] Keating Government proposals

The Australian Labor Party first made republicanism its official policy in 1991, with then Prime Minister Bob Hawke describing a republic as inevitable. His successor Paul Keating actively pursued the republican agenda and established the Republic Advisory Committee to produce an options paper on issues relating to the possible transition to a republic to take effect on the centenary of federation: January 1, 2001. The Committee produced its report in 1993, and argued that "a republic is achievable without threatening Australia’s cherished democratic institutions."

In response to the report, the Prime Minister proposed a referendum on the establishment of a republic, replacing the Governor-General with a President, and removing references to the Queen. The President was to be nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by a two-thirds majority in a joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives.

[edit] Current status

There are no current plans for a second referendum. Republicans expect that a plebiscite process and eventually a referendum will take place now that a labor government is in power. Some republicans predict the debate will not resurface while Queen Elizabeth II reigns. The Prime Minister-elect, Kevin Rudd, has stated in an interview that becoming a republic is "an important part of the nation's future", but added that any moves to a republic "would not be a priority in his first term in government."[29]