Australia ‘needs to become a republic’: Bandt calls for change in wake of Queen’s death – The Guardian

Greens and Australian republicans push for discussion of constitutional change but prime minister Albanese says ‘today’s not a day for politics’
The death of Queen Elizabeth has instantly reignited discussion about an Australian republic, with the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, using a condolence message to the British monarch to again push for the constitutional change.
Fellow Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi also called a republic to be advanced but went further, saying she “cannot mourn the leader of a racist empire”.
Bandt was described as “ignorant” and “graceless” by a former Coalition minister for his comments.
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is a longtime supporter of Australia becoming a republic, but declined to engage with such questions on Friday morning as news of the monarch’s death reverberated around the world.
“Today’s not a day for politics,” he told Radio National. “Today’s a day to pay tribute to the service of Queen Elizabeth as our head of state over those 70 years and to give thanks to her dedication and to her contribution to Australia.
“I regard the Queen as someone who is worthy of respect from every single Australian.”
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The federal Labor government had already flagged its intention to hold a referendum on a republic if elected for a second term, with the prime minister earlier creating the new position of assistant minister for the republic for Matt Thistlethwaite. Supporters of Australia becoming a republic in parliament have long acknowledged that any change was unlikely while Queen Elizabeth remained as head of state.
Bandt tweeted before 8.30am on Friday: “Rest In Peace Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with her family and all who loved her.
“Now Australia must move forward. We need Treaty with First Nations people, and we need to become a Republic.”
Rest In Peace Queen Elizabeth II.

Our thoughts are with her family and all who loved her.

Now Australia must move forward.

We need Treaty with First Nations people, and we need to become a Republic.
Shortly after, Faruqi, the Greens deputy leader, tweeted “Condolences to those who knew the Queen.
“I cannot mourn the leader of a racist empire built on stolen lives, land and wealth of colonised peoples. We are reminded of the urgency of Treaty with First Nations, justice & reparations for British colonies & becoming a republic.”
Alex Hawke, the former Liberal immigration minister, tweeted criticism in response to Bandt.
“Truly graceless and bereft of common decency to do this today. Ignorant of the feelings today of hundreds of millions of human beings, worldwide. Just not needed,” he wrote.
The Liberal National senator Matt Canavan simply responded “no” to Bandt, while United Australia Party senator Ralph Babet replied “poor form”.
“I would encourage you to take a hike out of Australia and don’t look back. I think the nation would join me in celebrating your departure,” he wrote.
The Australian Republic Movement (ARM) paid tribute to the Queen in a statement.
“Many Australians have known no other head of state – the length of her reign was unrivalled. As monarch, Queen Elizabeth was a patron of more than 600 organisations and served them admirably. She rose to become a respected representative of Britain and the Commonwealth,” the group said.
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The group noted that the Queen “respected the self-determination of the Australian people”.
“The Queen backed the right of Australians to become a fully independent nation during the referendum on an Australian republic in 1999, saying that she has ‘always made it clear that the future of the Monarchy in Australia is an issue for the Australian people and them alone to decide, by democratic and constitutional means’,” it said.
Peter FitzSimons, ARM’s national chair, said he was “deeply saddened by the news of Queen Elizabeth’s passing”.
“During her reign, Australia has grown into a mature and independent nation. It is unlikely we will ever see a monarch as respected or admired by the Australian people again,” he said.
Alexander Woltz, of the Australian Monarchist League, acknowledged there would be a discussion about a republic in the wake of the Queen’s death but called for “a degree of civility and respect”.
“People have different views and it’s important to consider those views with maturity and intelligence. But I don’t think that now is the right time for those views. You know, we are going to spend probably a fortnight in mourning and that will be really what matters,” he said on ABC TV.
The organisation paid tribute to her “selfless sense of service, her warm character, devotion to her family and endearing smile”.
Thistlethwaite tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened” by the Queen’s death.
“Her life was dedicated to service of others. We pay tribute to her compassion, strength & resilience over seven decades of service. Sincere condolences to the royal family. May she Rest In Peace,” he said.


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