CANBERRA: The Australian government has put on hold its plans to cut ties with the British monarchy by becoming a republic. Matt Thistlethwaite, Assistant Minister for the republic, said that holding a referendum on becoming a republic was not currently a priority for the governing Labor Party, reports Xinhua news agency. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in June 2022 committed to holding a referendum - a vote of the Australian people on a proposed change to the country's constitution -- on splitting from the monarchy if he wins a second term in power in 2025.
However, Thistlethwaite told state media the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that there was no timeline for a vote but that he remained passionate about the issue. "The current method of selecting our head of state is undemocratic. It doesn't represent modern Australian values, and that's something that we want to begin a discussion with Australians in the longer term," he said.
"I'm certainly committed to and still passionate about Australia, hopefully having one day one of our own as our head of state," said the assistant minister for the republic. "It's a longer-term priority, but at the moment, the priority of the Albanese government is the cost of living relief for Australians." He said that at the moment, all the policies "have been directed at assisting Australians to get through that difficult period".
Albanese said after winning power in 2022 that Australia's splitting from the monarchy was inevitable and appointed Thistlethwaite as the first-ever minister dedicated to the issue. Australia last held a referendum on becoming a republic in 1999 when 54.8 per cent of voters rejected a proposal to replace the British monarch as the country's head of state with a president appointed by Parliament. (IANS)