Julia Gillard throws weight behind republic debate, but warns it won’t be “quick”

Australia could start debating whether to become a republic as soon as the queen’s mourning period ends, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

But the self-proclaimed Republican doesn’t expect a referendum to take place any time soon.

“I always thought that when the queen left us, there would be a period of reflection,” he told ABC.

“I think we can have a measured and regular discussion that will eventually lead us, I believe, to a republic. But it won’t be fast.

Mrs. Gillard spoke of her memories of the queen and paid homage to her “stoicism” and her humor.

“We were in this big line waiting to take the stage, moving very slowly. So I said, ‘Can I get someone to find you a chair?’ And she replied: “No, I agree to get up,” said the former premier.

“And I’m like, it’s a real shame because if someone found you a chair, someone might have brought me a chair.”

Anthony Albanese has repeatedly dismissed questions about the future of the monarchy in Australia over the past week.

Speaking with the UK’s BTI before leaving for the monarch’s funeral, the Prime Minister reiterated that he would not consider the matter during this government term.

The inauguration of the Queen Elizabeth Terrace at Parkes Place in Canberra this morning in the presence of Prince Charles, Camilla and PM Julia Gillard (Pool Pic)
Camera iconMs Gillard expects Australia to start debating whether to become a republic in the coming weeks. (Photo of the swimming pool) Credit: Limited news

“We’re just honoring Queen Elizabeth right now,” he said.

The priority, he said, was to facilitate the referendum for the vote in parliament and to recognize the Aborigines and islanders of the Torres Strait in the Constitution.

Asked whether Governor General David Hurley’s role in Scott Morrison’s secret ministers saga could inform the Republican debate, Albanese said the upcoming revision will provide more information.

“The Governor General should seek advice from the elected government of the day. The Governor General did so on this occasion.

“It is also true that the Governor General may have interviewed the Prime Minister at that time, those discussions, private discussions and we do not know, at this stage, what those discussions entailed.”

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