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Australian Governor-General David Hurley, center left, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, rear center left, leave at the end of the national memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II at Parliament House in Canberra, on Thursday. Photo: Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP
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Australian lawmakers pay tribute to queen, discuss republic

11 Comments

Australian lawmakers on Friday paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, with some also weighing in on the republic debate, after they returned to parliament from a break taken to observe the queen's death.

An obscure and longstanding protocol in Australia bars parliament from sitting for 15 days following a British monarch’s death.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had decided to follow the protocol. Albanese has previously said he wants an Australian president to replace the British monarch as the nation’s head of state, although he has avoided getting entangled in the republic debate since the queen's death.

Each chamber of Australia’s parliament — the Senate and the House — was spending Friday passing condolence motions for the late monarch as well as congratulating King Charles III on his accession to the throne.

Albanese said it was hard to grasp the queen was now just a memory after her seven-decade reign.

“She was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change,” Albanese said.

Elizabeth visited Australia 16 times during her reign.

“She got to know us, appreciate us, embrace us, and the feeling was very much mutual,” Albanese said.

The prime minister offered his condolences to King Charles III.

“We think of King Charles, who feels the weight of this sorrow as he takes on the weight of the crown,” Albanese said. “At the dawn of his reign, we wish his majesty well.”

Opposition leader Peter Dutton said Australians had drawn on the wisdom of the queen's words and the comfort of her voice.

“She admired that Australian trait to honor those who go about their essential business without fuss or media attention," Dutton said. “But of course, wherever the queen went, crowds choked the streets cheering, and clapping, and waving their flags to express their adoration.”

Adam Bandt, leader of the small Australian Greens party, expressed his condolences but reiterated his support for Australia to become a republic.

“The queen’s passing means that we get a new head of state without having any say in the matter. It is absolutely the appropriate time to talk respectfully about whether that is right for us as a country,” he said.

“We can offer our condolences to those grieving her personally, while also talking respectfully about what it means for us as a people.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young offered condolences but also spoke about the need for reconciliation with Australia’s Indigenous people.

“She did not remove children from their parents, or personally attempt to remove and decimate one of the oldest cultures in the world,” Hanson-Young told the Senate. ”(But) she was the representative of the government in the institution that did. Generations of oppression, trauma and suffering as the result of colonization must be reckoned with.”

British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell was at parliament to hear the tributes.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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All the commonwealth colonial countries and territories should become Republics if they choose.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

All the commonwealth colonial countries and territories should become Republics if they choose

Of course.

Would anyone argue differently?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Awa no GaijinToday  12:33 pm JST

All the commonwealth colonial countries and territories should become Republics if they choose.

The Aussie butt-kicking rock'n'rollers said it back in the late 90s:

'We're free

So free

To secede'

DAMN IT, DO IT!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The debate about a republic in Australia revolves mainly around the question of which model of one do we choose? Do we go with a government nominee put forward by a two-thirds majority of Parliament, and run the risk of getting some establishment drone, or do we go with a popular vote between rival candidates, and run the risk of creating a political authority figure who could also be a rival to the democratically elected Government? The last Republic referendum (which I voted “yes” for) failed because too many potential Republic supporters didn’t like the parliamentary-nominated option. I think they were wrong to reject it, but I’m willing to go with the majority once we’ve sorted out all the pros and cons of the rival models and once we can avoid the risk of establishing a potential alternative authority to the government - which could be done, even with the popular vote model. The current system has (mostly) worked well, but the symbolic significance of having an Australian head of state can’t be denied. We just have to get it right - no-one wants a populist President stirring things up like some we’ve seen elsewhere over the past few years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I still think if a vote was held, it would barely pass. If the government puts forward a vote which puts a politician as head of state it will be defeated again.

If they put somebody who ticks diversity boxes for the sake of it, they will be openly scorned by 50% of the population and again it will be extremely divisive. A worse outcome than we have now.

It is going to have to be a vote with mulitple candidates, but a popularity contest is also questionable. Also, its not clear to me, will this persons role be head of state for life, like the monarch is?

You have a situation now where you have a tradition of monarchy that has lasted hundreds of years and an entire institution built around it and now, we are going to what, rely on the whims of a single person with no tradition or support structure to call upon? Very, very risky.

It would be very divisive to have a figure with any loyalty, whosoever, to any political party or any idealogy, left or right. They must not have any say, at all, zero, on any government policy or immediately they will be labelled as the enemy by 50% of the population.

This is the balancing act that King Charles now also has to find.

I see very little to be gained by having a Republic in practical terms, in fact, I think in practical terms it could be a mistake, especially if they are political at all. In fact it could be a complete disaster if that is the case.

Symbolically it might be appealing.

The current system has (mostly) worked well, but the symbolic significance of having an Australian head of state can’t be denied.

So you admit the current system has largely worked well and the vote would be symbolic.

You have to seriously question it if thats the case.. And I seriously question it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So you admit the current system has worked well and the vote would be symbolic

Yes, you don’t have to drag out the thumbscrews to make me agree with that. You’re going to get far worse from far more committed Republic advocates than anything I’m going to put up. The only thing I’d say to you is that “symbolic” is not synonymous with “trivial”, and don’t underestimate the importance, or the significance, of symbols.

I also think that one of the crucial criteria for the acceptability of any new Head of State, elected or nominated, would be that they would have no political affiliations whatsoever.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Best chance for a head of state in Australia would be a sportsperson.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Best chance for a head of state in Australia would be a sportsperson.

Quite possibly.

What a weak alternative to a Queen that was known the world-over after 70 years of service and whos funeral has probably been the biggest and most extensively covered in the media for decades. Actually, in global terms, possibly ever. And Australia, as part of the Commonwealth and one of the most visible members is part of that legacy.

How is some cricketeer going to fill those shoes?

Even a King that might live for just another 20 years will bring far more to the table than somebody who was captain in an Ashes series or who won the Brownlow.

There is just no comparison.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's an oxymoron. Pay tribute to the queen and discuss becoming a republic

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How is some cricketeer (sic) going to fill those shoes?

Sure. The only people in Australia eligible to “fill those shoes” are sportspeople. Australia possesses no scientists, engineers, business people, successful entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists, or other people of achievement, only “cricketeers”.

If this is the standard of argument we can expect in favour of retaining the monarchy, a Republic is a done deal already.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sure. The only people in Australia eligible to “fill those shoes” are sportspeople. Australia possesses no scientists, engineers, business people, successful entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists, or other people of achievement, only “cricketeers”.

If you read the post, I was responding to the previous comment that suggested somebody successful in sport is a likely candidate. I did include a quote from the previous poster.....

And there many people who have achieved great things in Australia, but they can never compete with a tradition lasting over a 1000 years and in Australia's case since the foundation of the country.

No, to me, the real question is not about whether we can find an adequate individual. They dont and cant exist in my mind. The real question is whether removing the monarchy, as the representation of the colonisation of Australia is a powerful enough argument to get rid of the monarchy. And secondly to that, that we should have an Australian has head of state. Those two questions is really what a future Republic hinges on.

There is no hope any individual is going to carry enough weight to compete with a monarch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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