IT should perhaps be no surprise that the Australian republic movement has chosen the past couple of weeks to reinvigorate its campaign to end our nation’s relationship with the British monarchy.
Media personality and former Wallaby representative Peter FitzSimons has been installed as the new face and voice of the Australian Republic Movement.
As has been the case in previous campaigns, Mr FitzSimons has already engaged the high profile support of politicians and other celebrities to help promote the cause.
But the timing is no coincidence.
Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II officially became Britain’s longest raining monarch, surpassing the reign of Queen Victoria.
It was a significant historical moment for both Britain and Australia, and prompted a new round of Royal stories in the media.
The positive publicity for the royal family over the past few days could only be matched by a royal wedding or baby and, naturally, the focus on the Queen has again started debate over Australia’s current constitutional arrangements.
Staunch monarchists have again pointed to the reign of Queen Elizabeth as a period of great constitutional and political stability in our country. And their “if it broke don’t fix it” argument stacks up pretty well.
On the other hand, this moment of history is also a timely opportunity for supporters of the republic to again put their case. Why, in 2015, should Australia continue to have a foreign citizen as its head of state?
Much like same-sex marriage, there is a sense in the community that becoming a republic will inevitably happen. And also like same-sex marriage, only the timing remains in question.
The only time the debate over republic will go away is when it finally happens.
Australia was not ready 16 years ago for that to happen and it looks less and less likely that it will happen so long as the Queen is on the throne.
When Her Majesty’s reign comes to an end though, it’s quite likely that the reign of the monarchy in Australia will also end.