Skip to comments.Australia may say farewell to Queen after republican leader wins election
Posted on 11/26/2007 2:04:51 PM PST by knighthawk
Australia will hold a referendum on removing the Queen as head of state after Kevin Rudd, the Labor leader and a staunch republican, swept to power at the weekend, bringing an end to 11 years of Conservative rule.
Mr Rudd, 50, a former diplomat, has promised to hold a plebiscite on severing links with the monarchy. He said yesterday that he would withdraw Australian troops from Iraq and ratify the Kyoto pact on climate change.
With 53 percent of the vote, Mr Rudd brought an emphatic end to the 11-year tenure of John Howard, an avowed monarchist who was set last night to become the first Prime Minister since 1929 to lose his seat at a general election.
During the campaign Mr Rudd, who speaks fluent Mandarin and has lived in China, said: Can I say, were going to consult the people again. We havent fixed a time frame for doing that, and I think the time will come before too much longer when we do have an Australian as our head of state, Mr Howard allowed a referendum on the issue in 1999 but it was roundly rejected despite two thirds of Australian voters saying in successive polls that they wanted a Republic with an Australian head of state.
Critics of the referendum argued that it was rigged in favour of monarchists because it gave voters only the option of having Parliament elect a President and not the direct election of a head of state by the people.
Mr Rudd, who rose from an impoverished childhood in rural Queensland, has promised a plebiscite which is likely to offer a far broader means of choosing an Australian head of state. It is expected that the plebiscite would probably be held in 2010 in conjunction with the next general election.
Adding to the strong likelihood of Australia now becoming a republic was an announcement yesterday that Mr Howards Treasurer and heirapparent as leader of the LiberalNational Coalition, Peter Costello, was withdrawing from political life and would not seek to lead the Opposition.
It is now expected that the richest man in the Australian Parliament, a former lawyer and businessman, Malcolm Turnbull, will be elected Opposition leader later this week. Mr Turnbull, 52, is a leading republican and headed the Australian Republic movement at the time of the last referendum.
With polls showing strong support for a republic, Buckingham Palace insists that the issue can only be resolved at the ballot box. I have always made it clear that the future of the monarchy in Australia is an issue for you, the Australian people, and you alone to decide by democratic and constitutional means. It should not be otherwise, the Queen said during a State visit to Australia in 2000.
Mr Howard, the last avowed monarchist at the top of Australian public life, was set for an inglorious end to a career in public life by becoming only the second sitting Prime Minister in Australia to lose his seat at a general election.
The Sydney suburban parliamentary seat he has held for 33 years was expected to go to a former television newscaster, Maxine McKew. Mr Howard, 68, ignored the advice of some senior ministers that he should stand aside before the election.
Mr Rudd swept the Labor Party into office on the back of about 53 per cent of the vote compared with the Governments 47 per cent. Computer projections show Labor on track to take at least 86 seats in Australias 150-seat House of Representatives.
Mr Howard was clearly unnerved by the scale of Labors win, which came despite his attempts throughout the campaign to sow alarm at the prospects of the party ruining Australias economy. Such an emphatic victory will allow Mr Rudd to begin implementing the core promises of his campaign, which include the withdrawal of Australias 550 troops in Iraq. Mr Rudd has said the troop withdrawal will be staged and done in consultation with the United States which he will visit early next year. He will also the sign the Kyoto agreement on climate change on behalf of Australia something Mr Howard had always refused to endorse.
Mr Rudd has also said he will offer a formal apology to Australian Aborigines for the injustices they have suffered at white hands.
Labors win sees the elevation of Australias first woman as deputy Prime Minister. Julia Gillard, 46, emigrated with her parents from Barry, South Glamorgan, when she was five years old. The daughter of a retired policeman, she trained as a lawyer and first came to public attention as leader of the Australian Union of Students.
Mr Rudd has three children and is independently wealthy because of the business success of his wife, Therese Rein, the founder of the Ingeus empire which bids for contracts to assist disabled people back into work.
How they stand
of Australians are in favour of a republic
are in favour of keeping the monarch
are uncommitted to either, according to the latest poll conducted by The Australian in January 2007
Source: The Australian
I have always made it clear that the future of the monarchy in Australia is an issue for you, the Australian people, and you alone to decide by democratic and constitutional means. It should not be otherwise.
I shall continue faithfully to serve as Queen of Australia under the Constitution to the very best of my ability, as I have tried to do for the last 48 years. It is my duty to remain true to the interests of Australia and all Australians as we enter the 21st century. That is my duty. It is also my privilege and my pleasure.
The Queen, March 2000
“He said yesterday that he would withdraw Australian troops from Iraq and ratify the Kyoto pact on climate change.”
Right after he assigns a council of mullahs and declares Australia under Sharia Law.
Maybe they can put a picture of Mao on the Aussie dollar?
Australia has a queen?
So long Australia.
Can we run this through Babelfish so the political terms are in proper American? Republican seems to have a different connotation than we can adapt to even with Republicans acting like spend-crazy Democrats.
Hey Aussie Freepers is this true???
Hang onto your seats Mates, your grand/proud country is in for a helluvaride.
Australia will keep the monarchy until at least the Queen dies. She is still liked there by many. It will be a voter turnout problem for the republicans. There is also some benefits of being in the Commonwealth that the Aussies won’t want to readily give up.
Is this Oz, or Looking-Glass Land?
I suspect that Rudd will get the rug pulled out from under him. He comes in at a time when the economy is booming. He’s got no where to go but down.
Oooops ... I bet they asked the same question when we elected Clinton I. I hope they are dissapointed when we reject Clinton II!
I would hope the good people of Australia would blanch at this separation from the queen notion. The day will come in the not too distant future when Australia had better have solid ties to Britain and the U.S. Unless Australia wants to become China’s upcoming satellite, it better pull it’s head out.
“Mr Rudd, 50, a former diplomat, has promised to hold a plebiscite on severing links with the monarchy. He said yesterday that he would withdraw Australian troops from Iraq and ratify the Kyoto pact on climate change”
Donât care about the monarchy bit - as the Windsors arenât doing squat to stop the Islamification of the UK - but the other Australian leftward moves arenât promising.
After they banned guns what else did they expect?
It gets worse...one of his main advisors is a rock star from the band Midnight Oil. Poor Australia, hope they survive.
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