Australian opposition leader promises monarchy referendum

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Brisbane, July 29 (IANS) Australia’s opposition leader Bill Shorten on Saturday promised to hold a referendum on whether the country should remain a monarchy or become a republic if he wins the 2019 elections.

Labor leader Shorten said the referendum would be convened during his first term in office and that it would have a simple “yes or no” vote on whether Queen Elizabeth should remain the Australian head of state, reports Efe news.

“We will put a simple, straightforward ‘yes or no’ question to the Australian people. Do you support an Australian republic with an Australian head of state, yes or no?” Shorten said at the Labor Party Conference in Townsville, Queensland.

“I believe the answer will probably be yes, but we will let the people decide,” he said, adding that “We are not Elizabethan, we are Australians”.

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Shorten insisted that the country should have an Australian head of state and attacked Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who opposed a referendum after coming to power in 2016.

Turnbull ruled out holding another referendum on the monarchy before the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who is currently represented in Australia by Governor General Peter Cosgrove.

Australia held a plebiscite on the country’s constitutional monarchy in 1999, when 54.87 per cent of the participants voted in favour of maintaining the monarchy.

The next legislative elections are scheduled for November 2, 2019.



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