The Republican debate back on the agenda?

Friday, September 19. 2008

The election of Malcolm Turnbull this week to the leadership of the Federal Coalition represents a potentially significant milestone in the development of the republican movement in Australia. This comes about since both parliamentary leaders, Mr Rudd (as Prime minister) and Mr Turnbull (as Leader of the Opposition) are on the record as supporting Australia becoming a republic. More on that in a moment.

This turn of events is particularly significant with respect to the Coalition, since the former leader (ignoring Brendan Nelson’s brief stint as Coalition Leader) John Howard was an avowed monarchist. This is compared with Mr Turnbull’s position as de facto leader of the republican movement during the 1999 referendum campaign on this issue. Consequently, this week’s events represent a significant watershed in the direction of Coalition leadership on the republic issue.

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