Australians pushing for the nation to become a republic have wasted zero time in kicking off the debate to separate from the Commonwealth.
The Australian Republic Movement released a statement on the death of Queen Elizabeth II at 4.52am on Friday (September 9).
"We are deeply saddened by the news of Queen Elizabeth’s passing and express deep gratitude and thanks for her service to the Commonwealth," said the Australian Republic Movement as per an online statement.
We are deeply saddened by the news of Queen Elizabeth’s passing and express deep gratitude and thanks for her service to the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/zesYdxx6zp— Australian Republic Movement (@AusRepublic) September 8, 2022
Their comments came only minutes after Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's statement on the Queen's passing.
Australia woke up to news of the Queen's death after she spent nearly 70 years on the throne with her son Prince Charles set to become King Charles III, with Prince William as the heir.
But as the throne gets reshuffled, the debate as to whether Australia should officially become a republic has already kicked off.
"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'," the Australian Republic Movement said in a media release.
Chair of the Australian Republic Movement Peter FitzSimons expressed his sympathies and gratitude on behalf of the Movement via the media statement.
While a nationwide referendum was held in 1999, which asked the country if they wanted to amend the constitution and cut ties with the Royal Family, the majority of Australians voted no.
Head of the Australian Republican Movement Peter FitzSimons said that the group struggled to gain momentum after the ‘catastrophic’ referendum; however, he believes this will change after Her Majesty's passing, as Manning River Times.
"A phenomenal number of people have said to me over the years, I'm absolutely with you, but not until the Queen passes away. And I expect now there will be a surge of interest, of membership, of donations," he said.
"With the greatest respect to Charles III - and I mean that; I have nothing against him personally - he does not enjoy the same deep wellspring of affection and loyalty that Her Majesty did."
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also shares the same sentiment. For the first time in Australia, an Assistant Minister for the Republic was sworn into the PM’s cabinet on June 1.
Freshly-minted Assistant Minister for the Republic Matt Thistlethwaite told A Current Affair: "I think that many Australians now believe that the time is right."
Additionally, during the Queen’s Jubilee, as the Prime Minister marked the occasion by lighting a beacon at Regatta Point in Canberra, he reflected on the shifting views toward the British monarchy, according to The Guardian.
While he stated it was an achievement for the Queen to rule for almost seven decades, he noted that the relationship between Australia and the UK had changed as it 'is no longer what it was at the dawn of [Queen Elizabeth’s] reign’.
“No longer parent and young upstart, we stand as equals,” the Prime Minister added.
However, national convenor for the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy David Flint disagrees, noting the 2021 online Ipsos poll conducted for The Age that found that 40 per cent of surveyed people rejected the country becoming a republic, as per The Courier.
Only 34 per cent were in favour while 26 per cent were undecided, with the lowest support found in the 18 to 24-year-old age bracket.
"That poll was rolled gold for us," he said.
Featured Image Credit: illian van Niekerk / Alamy. Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Alamy.