Have Meghan and Harry shown Australia the way forward?
Is it time for country to do a “Megxit” and break away from the British monarchy?
The Australian Republican Movement certainly think so, launching a new campaign for a homegrown head of state.
The move comes two decades after a referendum in 1999 on the subject was defeated, due to division among republicans on the method proposed for selection of the president.
An increasing number of high-profile voices have come out in support of a Australia becoming a republic after the royal split.
“Harry and Meghan saw their future being stronger without being tied to the monarchy – there’s something in that lesson for us,” Labor’s Ed Husic told Nine Newspapers.
“They’ve shown us how antiquated that system is. Frankly, why should we stay if the Queen’s grandson has called time on the monarchy?”
The Duke of Sussex has reportedly flown back to Canada to be reunited with his wife and baby son, after completing what is likely to be one of his few remaining official engagements before the Sussexes take a “leap of faith” and leave the monarchy in the spring.
“It’s now time we draw a line under the differences of the past and work together to build consensus around a proposal for change,” ARM chairman Peter FitzSimons said on Tuesday.
The organisation will take the next 18-to-24 months developing a model for independence.
It will then campaign for the model to be put directly to a national vote.
Ray, the starting point is the sheer embarrassing ABSURDITY of being a sovereign nation in the 21st Century, in the southern hemisphere, reigned over by family of English aristocrats in England. Fine for a jumped up colony – but not for a serious nation. @AusRepublic https://t.co/PTcLXVi7aU
— Peter FitzSimons (@Peter_Fitz) January 20, 2020
“This is long overdue. This is a decision that we as Australians must make for ourselves. Do we want to be independent? Then let’s work together to make it happen,” Mr FitzSimons said.
“People are sick and tired of seeing our national leaders fight rather than sitting down and working constructively towards an agreement that benefits everyone.”
Mr FitzSimons said substantial common ground already existed between supporters of a republic.
There was near unanimous agreement an Australian head of state should be ceremonial, without executive power, and should not have a role in setting national policy, he said.
They should be independent and swear exclusive allegiance to Australia and its interests, Mr FitzSimons said.