It sure sounds like Australia will dump the monarchy when the Queen passes

Last month, Anthony Albanese became the newly elected prime minister of Australia. Albanese’s electoral victory was notable for several reasons – he’s much more center-left and will pursue more progressive policies, he’s a competent bureaucrat who has been in government for decades and knows how to get things accomplished, and he’s a longtime small-r republican. Albanese believes that Australia needs to become a republic and the country needs to remove the British monarch as their head of state. Now he’s quietly making moves to soften the ground for Australia’s eventual freedom from the chains of the British monarchy. He’s appointed an assistant minister to the republic. As in, an actual government position to educate Australians on republicanism.

A new appointment: Anthony Albanese, the newly elected prime minister, is an avowed republican. He has appointed the country’s first ever “minister for the republic” — a position intended to begin the transition to an Australian head of state. Polling shows that a slim majority of Australians would support a republic if they had to choose yes or no. But that does not mean that constitutional change on the republican front is anywhere near the top of Mr. Albanese’s agenda. The new ministerial position — an assistant minister — is a comparatively minor one, and its role will be limited, at least for the near term, mostly to conversation starter and weather vane.

Australians didn’t celebrate the Jubbly: During Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee over the weekend, there was little celebration in Australia — and thus little to stir up republican passions. Mr. Albanese delivered a speech about the constancy of Britain’s royal women and renamed an island in the queen’s honor.

Testing the waters: “I think the republican sentiment,” said Ben Wellings, a senior lecturer in international relations at Monash University in Melbourne, “has settled on this passive republicanism — they’re pleased that we don’t have all those trimmings of monarchy, but at the same time, not motivated enough to really change the current setup, which is like a pale imitation of that.” The new assistant minister position is “a way of testing the waters,” he said. “He’s got three years” — the time until the next federal election — “to see what sort of enthusiasm there would be for such a change.”

A growing republican movement? The appointment of Matt Thistlethwaite, a longtime Labor politician, as the new assistant minister of the republic “is the biggest breakthrough for the republican movement in 30 years,” said Peter FitzSimons, chairman of the main republican organization. Mr. Thistlethwaite, for his part, describes his role in less stirring terms. It is, he said, “initially one of educating the Australian people about our current constitutional arrangement and the fact that we have the British monarch as our head of state, and explaining that we can have an Australian in this role.”

[From The NY Times]

Thistlewaite also told the Times that “As the queen comes to the twilight of her reign, Australians are naturally beginning to think, well, what comes next for us.” As many have said, myself included, all hell is going to break loose when the Queen passes. Clearly, many Caribbean countries are moving ahead with the removal of colonialist British ties, but for Australia, it feels more like a wait-and-see vibe. It’s clear that Albanese wants people in place for when the Queen passes, and his government will likely make some serious moves after that. “Serious moves” meaning what would likely be a simple referendum vote. I also didn’t know that the Jubbly was barely celebrated in Australia – that’s very interesting. I know that many Caribbean Commonwealth countries were like “eh” on the Jubbly, but it’s fascinating to hear that Aussies kind of blanked on it as well.

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72 Responses to “It sure sounds like Australia will dump the monarchy when the Queen passes”

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  1. Merricat says:

    Oi, oi, oi!

    • Carrie says:

      Aussie Aussie Aussie

    • Love says:

      I’m in Aus and I don’t know anyone who knows or cares about the welfare royals.

      The only time we acknowledge them is for Betty’s birthday(only for the public holiday too), which we have on Monday in Melbourne & Sydney. In Queensland, it’s so inconsequential the public holiday is moved depending on which gvt is in power.

    • SwitchItUp says:

      I’m an Aussie and we haven’t cared about the Royals since Diana died. Nor did we care before she appeared. You have to understand that most Aussies back then weren’t like the US, they didn’t have their heads turned by famous people: pop idols, movie stars, none of it. We’re a Tall Poppy Syndrome country: we cut down anyone who gets too big for their boots. Diana was our idol: us teenage girls saw in her something of the princess we’d never been spoonfed on but which lived in our hearts anyway. She was the real thing. We loved her. And when H&M went to Oz a few years ago, their first international tour, a repeat performance happened: Australia loved them, and it was like a repeat of Diana’s trip there. What came after destroyed all that, and it reminded Aussies how much we didn’t need or really even like the RF.

      Also, it’s a different and stupider generation in Oz now: the bogans rule, and they jumped on the “we hate Meghan” bandwagon in the media. Idiots.

      Regardless, we’re done with the RF, and have been since 1997. End of.

  2. OriginalLaLa says:

    Yes! Canada next!

    • Genevieve says:

      I agree with the wish, but don’t think it’ll ever happen. It’s too hard to change our constitution. Imagine getting just Alberta and Quebec to agree to the change without demanding a whole bunch of other changes, and then everyone agreeing to those. (And that’s just a tiny sliver of what the conversation would be)

      • Julie says:

        Québec will probably lead the way to be a republic. The last royal visit in the province was in 1964!

      • elaine says:

        Plus First Nation’s treaties are with the Crown.

        I’d like to see it though. And really, no significant celebrations here in Canada either.

      • Mia4s says:

        Definitely complicated treaty and Charter issues for Canada to get it done…but it’s doable. And First Nations people would not exactly shed any tears to see the symbolic monarchy officially toast here.

        As a small “r” republican in Canada (to be clear, since the US Republican Party appears to be a wannabe fascist death cult and can go to hell), I’ve long accepted that the expending the cost and resources of extracting us from the Commonwealth are not a priority…soooo let’s just do a soft exit for now. They can hang in their palaces and we can ignore them. OK? OK. 😏

      • Surly Gale says:

        @Genevieve..yes, I’ve come round to your way of thinking.
        I think of Australia as a whole country. I think of Canada as a piece-meal country made up of provinces with wildly different goals. As a westerner, I get frustrated by all the power being in the east all the time. Frustrated by Quebec insisting of so much ‘specialness’. (I’m Cdn).
        Also, I WANT the Crown to pay reparations to Indigenous people…their treaties are with the Crown and I want the Crown to honour the treaties and return stolen goods. They need to make reparations.

      • Chaine says:

        True, as an American sometime visitor, Canada really is like a collection of different countries. If you didn’t know they were all one you wouldn’t guess it.

      • mazzie says:

        Same, same. I also wonder how much being next door to the U.S and our desire to be ‘different’ influences this.

        As another small-r republican, I want the monarchy gone but like @SurlyGale said, not before they pay reparations.

      • SwitchItUp says:

        @SurlyGale, true: Aust. is an entire independent nation and really always has been just on the tail-end of being “ruled” by the Commonwealth. I was born and grew up there, in Oz, and we never had any training to see the RF as our “rulers.” It was just a remnant of some past violence when they came and stole the land from the Aboriginals and wiped out their warrior community when they landed; the Aboriginals had a warrior tribe, they met the Brits on the shores, and they were destroyed. So we all grew up knowing a lot of the real story, while the rest of the world though it was whining locals claiming land that was simply famous or worth millions: Sydney Harbour, Ayers Rock, and so on. Not true: it was their land, and the Brits stole it, and then we all moved in. I went to school in the late 60s and 70s, and every single person I knew was first-generation Australian, as was I: all our parents, or grandparents, were immigrants—ALL of them. The only person I ever knew who wasn’t was my first husband, whose family were descendants of convicts. People think Oz is a “convict nation,” when actually LESS THAN 1% of the population descend from convicts. They weren’t even “convicts.” They were simply the unpaid help the Brits brought over for no or little reason: sent to the colonies for stealing bread, for eg. They were literally the slave-help to the Brits. So yeah, f— the RF.

    • dina says:

      fellow Canadian here and HELL YES PLEASEEEE

    • buenavissta says:

      Settle with our First Nations first. Take responsibility for the genocide. Honour the treaties and then HELL YES.

      • Jenny says:


      • BothSidesNow says:

        Yes!!! They need to honour the atrocities committed against the First Nations. I hope that there will be freedom for Canada and Australia!! As for Scotland, I hope that they are able to have freedom as well. It’s the 21 century. No country should be beholden to one person that is thousands of miles away.

        It may be difficult to straighten out the constitution but it all could be done.

      • Noo says:

        @buenavista with you and also us Canadians need to pay reparations not just the Crown. Important to note that Indigenous peoples are not “our First Nations” which implies continued colonial possession of self-determining peoples who have been thriving in Canada for thousands and thousands of years!

      • Where'sMyTiara says:

        I had a thought that Canada, in rewriting a post-Colonial Constitution, should consider giving every Indigenous group/tribe/nation a permanent seat in the Senate in the Houses of Parliament. “Nothing for us without us”, you know? It would go a long way towards increasing representation, and making sure reparations are done with consideration of the needs of Indigenous communities at the forefront. Let all the diverse peoples of Canada speak and be heard at the Federal level.

  3. MY3CENTS says:

    Monarchy, what is it good for?
    Absolutely nothing!….

    • Rice says:

      I’ve read that there was a very low turnout for most if not all of the Platty Joob events in Scotland, too. People seemed pissed that a lot of pounds were wasted.

      Meanwhile, here in Trinidad & Tobago (a commonwealth country), there was no coverage and no events. I think it was mentioned in the news once.

  4. K says:

    Australian here! People definitely did not celebrate. My boyfriend’s mother watched the Jubbly concert thing? That’s honestly about it. I am in my mid 20s and I did not hear it discussed at work, did not discuss it with friends, did not even really see much media about it – and actually when I brought it up jokingly to my most anti-monarchist friend she had no idea it was even on. I think if you did a poll of people on your average street in Australia, 7/10 would not have been able to tell you that the Platinum Jubilee was occurring.

    • AnnaKist says:

      I’m on sick leave at the moment, with mobility issues , so do watch quite a bit of telly. There was a very short piece about the Jubilee on ABCs News Breakfast last week, and on the news they only reported what had happened that day, which took less than a minute. That’s it
      As far as softening up the people for a republic, I think there will be a lot of talk about it as we approach Australia Day. It’s going to be interesting because as you know, there is also a push to change the day we celebrate Australia Day. I doubt we will see a referendum in Anthony Albanese’s first term, even if the queen does pass in that time. You’re right when you say the older generations are very loyal to the queen. Well I’m getting up there in that ge

      • AnnaKist says:

        Sorry I was trying to proofread and edit. I don’t know what my fingers did. What I was trying to say was that at any other time this Jubilee would have been used as a distraction from the political upheaval that was going on here, but I think people were so engaged: especially as to how and why thMorrison government was chucked out I loved the post Mortems! They were all the shenanigans to elect a new leader for the opposition and the Nationals. We were and focussed on the price of petrol, the rising cost of living, the energy crisis, interest rate rises, inflation etc etc. These are the things that affect us, not rich Royals in England.
        As I said above, 7I think we will hear the talk around the republic when we get closer to Australia Day. Our Indigenous peoples also have important issues that need resolving. It’s a very interesting time for Australia. It really is a time of change. With Albo as PM, it feels like the windows and doors were opened, the sunshine came in, the fresh air … and now we can breathe again.

      • Cas says:

        Another Australian here and I agree with everything you said @AnnaKist. It’s a very interesting time for us and though I doubt there will be a referendum during Albo’s first term, I think the tides are turning.

  5. Shelly bean says:

    I live in Australia and I only knew it was the Jubbly weekend from reading this website!! A lot of older generations down here support the monarchy but the younger generations dgaf. I didn’t know about the appointment of a Minister for the Republic, but I think that’s excellent. I don’t want to see Charles or William on my money. Good riddance to them.

  6. Jackster says:

    Long time lurker on this site and an Australian … I also saw no enthusiasm or interest in the celebrations among friends, family or work colleagues. It made it onto the evening news each day but there was nothing in shop windows or in the streets to say “look at us, we’re celebrating this thing too”. Complete apathy, I’d say, is the most charitable description.

    You might be interested in some recent numbers on republican sentiment here.
    53% are not supportive of Charles becoming King
    The comparison of how opinions about a republic have changed over the last 10 years is really telling, an unmistakable trend.
    There’s also a comparison between Australians’ and Canadians’ opinions.

    But I think the last few sentences are right – becoming a republic isn’t front of mind at the moment. Just a matter of time, I’d say.

  7. twoz says:

    If we were celebrating anything, we were (still) celebrating the end of Scummo and his rorting ilk.

  8. Margaret says:

    I am not aware of any Jubbly celebrations taking place here in Oz.

  9. Michael says:

    Harrey and Megan are looking smarter every year to have gotten away from this sinking ship. Imagineif the Monarchy is abolished and William has to get a real job? LOL

  10. Blujfly says:

    There were hardly any celebrations in even Scotland.

  11. Tanja says:

    Canada likely won’t for constitutional reasons (Quebec + Alberta) annnnd big implications for treaties with indigenous peoples in Canada:

    • Scout says:

      With the Queens passing the monarchy will struggle to remain relevant. It will not survive in its current archaic state unless there are radical changes to the leadership, levels of accountability, remit and structure. It’s increasingly out of step with the world around it and the dramas surrounding the two heirs, Prince Andrew and Fergy, et al, are fast diminishing it’s role and cache.

      In Australia it’s inevitable we will become a republic. Most Aussie’s could not care less about the RF. Young post baby boomer generations increasingly question its value and relevance to our lives. It just a matter of time.

      As an Australian I can see a day where we become an independent republic,

  12. C-Shell says:

    “ Thistlethwaite” … I’m not sure I could pronounce this man’s name, but good for him. It’s a stealthy move, but very telling that Australia is lining up the ducks for the day when Elizabeth passes.

  13. Shauggy says:

    Did ANY commonwealth countries celebrate the Jubbly?

  14. Scorpion says:

    Let’s go Aus, you can do this.

    Scotland, Jamaica and New Zealand are warming up in the wings.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Scotland will be a huge blow because or balmoral. I can’t wait for that.
      The taxes and upkeep alone…

    • Lou says:

      It won’t happen in NZ for a while, our Māori treaty with the Crown adds complications.

  15. aquarius64 says:

    The BRF may not care too for Caribbean countries to kick them to the curb, but if predominantly white countries say bye, bye Windsors watch them panic.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Oh yes. The panic will bring on a slew of unnecessary visits and you will have to pay for those visits as well. Charles knows he isn’t well liked. Hopefully he will send Cain and Unable and that will push people into the direction of turning into a Republic faster.

  16. Colby says:

    I would be willing to bet that the only reason the monarchy hasn’t been removed from many countries is just the amount of effort if would take to change a country’s constitution. There’s just too much else to focus on.

    The monarchy is like tonsils. Unless they’re actively making your life hell, it’s easier to just leave them be rather than remove them.

    • Philly says:

      I like the tonsils analogy and totally agree.

      While I’d like to see us become a republic, there are other ways I’d rather see that money spent at this point in time (becoming a republic will be expensive). I imagine we’d remain in the commonwealth even after becoming a republic – mostly for the commonwealth games lol.

  17. Call Me Mabel says:

    Good for them! Aussies reading this, good for you! Why should a tiny island across the sea regulate the price of tea?

  18. Peyal says:

    Aussie here -I voted for a republic in 99, realistically to change the constitution in Australia is hard ( a majority of people in a majority of states). It will be challenging tp beat the status quo and get a nation of 28 million people to agree on a republican model. Not even my family can agree on what the best model is

    • Shelly bean says:

      From memory the last model they put forward was crap as well which contributed to the loss. A President appointed by Parliament instead of one voted in by the people.

    • LadyAlbert says:

      And referendums are EXPENSIVE! Albo is already planning one to recognise our First Nations population in the constitution. There’s no way we’ll have a second referendum in his first term.

    • Margaret says:

      The Australian Republic Movement is much, much better organised this time and has published details of their well-thought-out preferred model. I am confident that when the referendum is eventually held, it will be embraced by the majority in a majority of states. Australians want one of their own as their Head of State, not a foreign monarch, and this model gives them the chance to select that person, without disrupting our system of government.

  19. Eurydice says:

    I said the other day that one of the reasons the monarchy will hold on is inertia. There are a lot of details to disentangling from the monarchy and people might not have the passion to tackle that when there are more pressing problems in the country.

  20. Kitty says:


  21. Well Wisher says:

    Small r republicanism is a staple of Australian politics. It will be a reality should enough of the population votes for at. That will shift the civic discourse in another direction.
    Jamaica may get there before, had Manley won the election in early 1980s she would have been a republic.
    For my home, I hope we form stronger alliances with Europe, looking forward to free trade with Germany, do not seek integration with a burning house or a future fraught with strife due to brazen grab for power.
    I want the best option for us and Greenland.

  22. SenseOfTheAbsurd says:

    Didn’t see any jubbly celebration in NZ. Nobody in real life has mentioned it to me, and I haven’t seen anything about it beyond a couple of reprints of idiotic articles from the Fail and Daily Telegraph. The tabloid ladymags probably tried to whip up a bit of interest, but at this point nobody cares. There’s been close to zero interest in recent visits, too, except when it was H & M. People showed up for them, but DGAF about Chuck and Camilla.

    I expect we’ll be a republic before too long. There are similar issues as with Canada, in that the founding treaty is between Maori and the Crown. But NZ doesn’t have a written constitution, only layers of legislation, so presumably the treaty terms could be transferred from the crown to the state.

  23. topherben says:

    Another Canadian here – some media outlets tried to make Jubbly a thing in Canada but where I live (Toronto) if anyone even knew it was happening they didn’t care. I only really know about it because of this site.

    also, fully concur on the difficult of dumping the Monarchy in Canada. It needs a constitutional amendment with 7 of 10 provinces representing at least 50% of the population – in practise, you need all the Western Provinces and Atlantic provinces plus one of Ontario or Quebec. (Ontario alone is almost 40% of Canada’s population) I don’t think that kind of consensus exists. This is more of symbolic matter for of us (as in “why do we have a “Head of State” who resides in a foreign country?” or “What purpose does the Commonwealth serve except to host a sporting event for athletes to prep for the Olympics?”) but the pro-monarchy crowd would make enough of a stink that it likely wouldn’t be worth it for any politician here to invest the political capital to take it on. You literally never hear of any politicians with outwardly republican views let alone rattling a cage about it
    – the issue has almost no resonance at a political level here….

    That said, if Charles really makes a hash of things as king, that could change. Australia cutting the cord could also move the needle somewhat since Canada has always viewed Australia as its only “peer” country within the Commonwealth. In any event, it likely ain’t happening in my lifetime.

  24. jferber says:

    Australia and Canada both need to quit Toxic Isle.

  25. BeanieBean says:

    I was surprised to see this from a American newspaper. It read to me that the NYT was trying to say, don’t get excited folks, everything’s Jake, we’re keeping the monarchy, don’t worry about it. Just a new guy in charge who created a brand new position, but nothing to get all het up about.

  26. Cas says:

    Australian here. I’d say the attitude here to the Jubilee was mostly of indifference. The news reported it, it was shown on TV but I don’t think it rated that highly. The only people I know who were interested in watching are British. I’m an older millennial and among my friends we just discussed what Meghan was wearing and that’s it.

    Albo is taking a softly softly approach to the republic and I doubt we’ll have a referendum during his first term. A major roadblock is deciding on the model of government to put in place. And it will be hugely expensive to become a republic, so much money to change something that is more a matter of principle than anything else. I am a die-hard republican and am so thrilled to have one as PM, but there are many obstacles in the way to actually effecting this change.

    I would love it if Charles’ legacy was to support Australia’s bid for independence. That way he’d make the history books and put a stamp on his tenure, we won’t have to suffer through William as King, and we’d get an Australian head of state.

  27. Christine says:

    Dear Salty Isle and royals,

    Even the white countries/continents are over you. Just find a way to bow out gracefully.

    • EBS says:

      Just to say that this is a decision for these countries to make themselves, the UK has no say in it.

    • Ange says:

      Because it’s a very big, encompassing change that requires public support, often a vote, planning and the proper governmental set up to take over when it’s complete?! A snarky quip doesn’t make any of that go away.

  28. Qtpi says:

    Put the British Monarchy in the dustbin of history where it belongs. I understand that their is great affection for QE but seriously doubt there will be much interest in Charles and Will. Going to be interested to watch it all play out. Harry will be living his best life in Southern Cali.

  29. Den says:

    I will absolutely vote to become a republic when it comes up. IMO William/Kate/Charles have done irreparable damage with how they’ve treated Harry & Meghan, also how the queen has sheltered gross Prince Andrew.