Julia Gillard says Australia will ultimately become republic after death of Queen Elizabeth II

Former PM endorses Anthony Albanese’s view to wait on debate, saying ‘no rush’ on moving away from British head of state

Julia Gillard says Australia will ultimately become a republic but has endorsed the prime minister, Anthony Albanese’s view it is too soon for the debate.

The former Australian prime minister told the ABC, in her first interview since the Queen’s death, that Albanese was right to delay consideration of a republic to a future term of government.

Before flying to London on Thursday Albanese said the Queen’s death had made Australians “more conscious of our system of government”, but he has refused to be drawn on timing of a referendum beyond noting his government’s first priority is to recognise First Nations people in the constitution.

Gillard said at its centre the Queen’s passing is a human story of loss and grief. “A family has lost a beloved member and because the family is so on the public stage we’re sharing that moment,” she said

Gillard said that everybody’s experience of the monarchy was different but for many Australians the Queen represented continuity “in a chaotic and fractured world”.

Asked if she was still of the view the Queen’s death would be an appropriate time to move away from a British head of state, Gillard said: “Yes, I always thought that when the Queen did leave us, that it would cause a period of reflection.”

“I always thought in Australia too it would unleash a new set of reflections about our own constitutional arrangements.

“But there’s no rush and I certainly endorse what the prime minister has said. There’s time for measured discussion. It’s certainly too soon for that now.”

Gillard said that Albanese would honour the Queen at the funeral on Monday.

“And then I think we can have a measured, steady discussion, which will ultimately take us, I think, in the direction of a republic,” she said. “But it won’t be quick.

“He’s said it’s something he wouldn’t contemplate until a future parliamentary term. I think that’s right.”

On Thursday Albanese told ABC Brisbane some people have “expressed surprise to me about how King Charles has ascended to the throne automatically”.

“And it is a chance, I think, for us to reflect on the system that we have over a period of time,” he said.

Asked about his republican views, Albanese told ITV his job as prime minister “is to represent Australia at this historic time”.

Australians hold a “range of views over our constitutional system, but [are] united in respect for the life and service that her majesty Queen Elizabeth showed to Australia, to the Commonwealth and, indeed, to the world”, he said in a pre-recorded interview before his departure.

Albanese said the Queen had recognised the royal family “would respect the decisions which Australians made” about becoming republic, but said it was a debate “for another time”.

“In terms of constitutional changes, that is very difficult to achieve in Australia,” he said, adding that his “priority for constitutional change is recognising [Indigenous Australians] in our nation’s birth certificate”.

Asked about the governor general’s role appointing Scott Morrison to multiple secret ministries, Albanese said David Hurley had taken advice from the elected government and it was Morrison who “needs to explain the circumstances in which that occurred”.

“It’s also the case that the governor general may have made inquiries of the prime minister of the day, those discussions, private discussions and we don’t know, at this point in time, what those discussions entailed,” he said.

Earlier, Gillard said that “some things have got better” for women in politics in the last decade, saying “we are much more likely to talk about gender, sexism, misogyny, in politics now.”

Gillard said former US president Donald Trump had been criticised for “sexism 101” for describing Kamala Harris as a “nasty woman”.

“I think that is the kind of thing that would happen if there was a woman prime minister in Australia today,” she said. “There would be activism around making sure her treatment was fair.”


Paul Karp

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Republic debate flares as Australia mourns its longest-serving monarch Queen Elizabeth II
Governor general says Queen ‘a symbol of stability, inspiration and servant leadership’ as PM calls 1954 visit ‘a defining moment in our nation’s history’

Ben Doherty

09, Sep, 2022 @9:12 AM

Article image
Albanese says ‘inappropriate’ to discuss republic now but doesn’t rule out future referendum
Prime minister says vote to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution comes before any referendum on republic

Paul Karp

12, Sep, 2022 @12:51 AM

Article image
Morning mail: PM says ‘not the time’ for republic debate, anti-corruption law on hold, Ukraine fightback
Monday: Queen’s death puts end-of-year timeline in doubt for Labor’s integrity commission legislation. Plus: the rise of astro-tourism in Australia

Chris York

11, Sep, 2022 @9:04 PM

Article image
What happens in Australia now that the Queen has died and Charles is King?
Explainer: A 14-day series of events including a national day of mourning has been mapped out to memorialise the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Josh Butler

09, Sep, 2022 @12:10 AM

Article image
Australia quietly mourns passing of an era with Queen’s death as thoughts turn to a republic
Elizabeth’s death and Charles’s ascension has Australia – at once an old and young country – questioning what sort of nation it is and wants to be

Ben Doherty

11, Sep, 2022 @10:23 AM

Article image
The pageantry of the royal succession has all but eliminated debate on an Australian republic | Malcolm Farr
The full apparatus of the monarchy has been deployed to preserve itself – rousing nostalgia for an age when the world bowed to Britain

Malcolm Farr

16, Sep, 2022 @8:00 PM

Article image
Defence minister hails ‘heroic’ Ukraine counteroffensive – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Mostafa Rachwani and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

12, Sep, 2022 @8:51 AM

Article image
Queen may be replaced by an Australian rather than King Charles III on $5 note
Monarch features on coins ‘as a matter of tradition’, but Elizabeth II is on banknote due to her ‘personal’ status, minister says

Paul Karp

13, Sep, 2022 @3:05 AM

Article image
Peter Dutton hits out at republicans seeking ‘political advantage’ from Queen’s death
Opposition leader accuses Labor minister of rewriting history over suggestion King Charles III might not appear on $5 note

Paul Karp

15, Sep, 2022 @3:01 AM

Article image
Guardian Essential poll: Australians divided on whether King Charles should be head of state
Survey respondents split 50-50 but women, older voters and Coalition supporters more likely to back new monarch, poll suggests

Sarah Martin Chief political correspondent

19, Sep, 2022 @5:30 PM