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Editorial |  :

Will Australia choose its own head of state once the Queen dies? Harry & Meghan's expose has revived the republican movement & they would like to ditch the monarchy within a year of Queen's death.

The Australian Republic Movement is working on a proposal for new constitution 

Former PM Malcolm Turnbull believes vote will come when Charles ascends

Republicans in Australia want to ditch the monarchy within a year of the 94-year-old Queen's death and think Harry and Meghan's recent TV interview will help their cause.

The Australian Republic Movement is working on a proposal for how the nation's constitution should look without the monarchy as head of state and will unveil its model later this year ahead of a potential referendum.

'The time to have the conversation is now so that when the vote comes around we are united,' national director Sandy Biar said.

President of Australia

Mr Biar is liaising with federal politicians, the majority of whom support a republic, to develop a 'Consensus position' on how a president should be elected. 

He said the idea was to avoid a repeat of 1999 when a referendum returned a result in favour of the monarchy because the republican vote split.  

Many republicans believe the opportune time for another vote will come after Queen Elizabeth dies because she is too popular to unseat.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a staunch republican, said there may not be popular support for a republic while the Queen is on the throne. 

'She's been an extraordinary head of state, and I think, frankly, in Australia, there are more Elizabethans than there are monarchists,' he told the ABC. 

Liberal MP Jason Falinski, who also supports a republic, said a vote could happen within a year of Prince Charles taking the throne.

'After the Harry and Meghan interview especially, there is this strong sense that when Her Majesty is no longer the head of state that that will break a lot of emotional bands and create an opportunity,' he told Guardian Australia. 

However, Mr Biar hopes Australia could become a republic even before the Queen's reign ends. 

'We don't think it necessarily has to be after the Queen. We don't know when the Queen's reign will end but we do know that Australia should be a republic,' he said. 

In their recent bombshell interview the Duke and Duchess of Sussex accused the royal family of racism, emotional neglect and bullying. 

Mr Turnbull said the interview reinforced the need for Australia have its own head of state. 

'It's clearly an unhappy family or at least Meghan and Harry are unhappy. It seems very sad,' he said.

'After the end of the queen's reign, that is the time for us to say: Okay, we've passed that watershed.  

'Do we really want to have whoever happens to be the head of state of - the king or queen of the UK, automatically our head of state?' 

In the 1999 referendum the republicans lost with 45 per cent of the vote.

The republican vote was split and some voted in favour of monarchy because the referendum proposed a president appointed by Parliament and they wanted an elected president. 

Mr Turnbull said the republicans let the 'perfect be the enemy of the good'. 

A 2019 study by the Australian National University found that support for the monarchy was on a knife edge with 51 per cent in favour. 

But more recently an Ipsos poll in January found that only a third of Australians supported a republic.  

During the interview, Meghan described feeling so isolated and miserable inside the royal family that she had suicidal thoughts.

She also said Harry told her there were 'Concerns and conversations' about how dark Archie's skin would be.

Winfrey later said Harry told her off camera that the family member wasn't Queen Elizabeth II or Prince Philip, sparking a flurry of speculation about who it could be. 

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