In a rather bold move by Australia's first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has said Australia should move to become a republic when the queen dies
This is an interesting play on an issue that has largely been quiet for ten years since the last referendum in 1999 - personally I am in agreement with her, and many republicans share the view that the queen, who is immensely popular throughout the Commonwealth, is only going out one way - it will be the installation of her less respected heirs that bear the scrutiny from the modern public
I'm not sure whether this will have more traction here or in Oz, however - Australia has very little to do with the monarchy in real terms, and personally I'd prefer to be in the Australian's situation, who benefit from a ceremonial head of state without the pomp, or the cash, than the British, but whatever my feelings - Republicanism remains much more viable down under than in the Motherland according to most polls
In terms of Ozzie politics, this seems to be another attempt at a dividing line between herself and the staunchly conservative Abbott - it won't surprise you that Labor are the party of Republicans, so if anything this will be an optimistic shot at more liberal (small l - I hate these two party names) swing voters, a gamble that Australia is more republican now than it was under Howard, and yet another reason for the moderate to hate the Catholic, abortion-opposing, gaffe-prone Abbott
If you're interested I quite like Bryant's latest blog about the narrowness of the Australian electoral system - where they are all forced to vote and yet a smaller number of swing votes than ours decide their government, they of course use blooming AV - yet more evidence that constituency based parliaments do not work for their country, might've been a good idea once, but no more
As an aside - does anyone have a real defence of the monarchy post-Queen? It always centres on her - but she's been there since a time when we liked hereditary rule and since before most of us were born, what happens when some tosspot who no-one respects takes over?
We'll probably roll over and take it...as usual