Australia Plans Potential Referendum on Monarchy

The debate about the future of the monarchy in Australia has sparked following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, with Anthony Albanese's administration planning to hold a referendum to test Australians' support for a republic.

Australia Plans Potential Referendum on Monarchy
Image credit: Al Jazeera

Facts

  • The debate about the future of the monarchy in Australia has sparked following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, with Anthony Albanese's administration planning to hold a referendum to test Australians' support for a republic.
  • While the government is currently prioritizing the referendum on adding an "Indigenous voice" to parliament in this term, a successful result in this vote would reportedly encourage Albanese to put the post of head-of-state to a national ballot in a possible second term.
  • Over the first half of 2023, Australia's Attorney-General's Dept. will convene discussions to help inform the government's approach to holding a republic referendum. Assistant Minister for the Republic Matt Thistlethwaite stated that those who voted against the measure in 1999, as well as youth and immigrant groups, would be a key focus.
  • A Guardian Essential poll taken after Queen Elizabeth II's death indicated that support for a republic in Australia has stagnated over the past five years at 43%.
  • A double majority vote — a national majority yes vote and a majority in at least four of Australia's six states — must be achieved for a referendum to be successful and the country's constitution to be changed.
  • Australians were asked in 1999 about altering the Constitution to establish the country as a republic. The proposal was rejected by a 9.7-point margin and a majority "yes" was recorded only in the Australian Capital Territory.

Sources: Al Jazeera, SMH, Guardian, NAA, and AEC.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by American Spectator. The monarchy is part of the British heritage that has enabled Australia to be a strong, long-lasting democracy and an attractive destination for immigrants. There's no reason to degenerate the country's culture by replacing this impeccable and impartial leadership for a politicians' republic — especially not when the main argument for that is based on assumptions about the rising population of Chinese and Indian immigrants.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by SBS News. Replacing the British monarch is an important move for Australia. It would give all Australian voters a merit-based choice about who speaks for them as head of state — reflecting Australia's maturity, independence, and unique identity. The decision will be in the Australian voters' hands, unlike now, where it's luck of the draw of who's representing the British Royal Family.

Predictions