A decade on - this battle is not over

DESPITE yesterday marking 10 years since Australia voted down a republic model of government, a Bundaberg republic advocate still believes the issue should be debated throughout Australia.

Australian Republican Movement Bundaberg convenor Allan Cook said he understood the idea of a republic was still a “contentious issue” but felt the debate was not over.

Mr Cook said it was hard to gauge what support there was in the Bundaberg region.

“I don’t think you can say the Bundaberg community has overly enthusiastic supporters but I think there are a lot of silent supporters,” Mr Cook said.

At the time of the referendum, Bundaberg had among the highest “no” results.

For Mr Cook, the reason behind the need for a republic has not changed.

“Australia as a nation should be able to say that every one of our citizens should be able to aspire to become head of state,” he said.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey agreed the issue was important, but said thought it was important to protect the model of government.

“I think the current Westminster system is the best for democracy. I think whatever we do, we have to maintain the Westminster system,” he said.

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger did not believe Australians would go to a referendum about the republic for some time.

“I don’t think it is an issue until after the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II,” Mr Messenger said.

The anniversary of the failed referendum had the entire nation talking, with former prime minister John Howard restating his allegiance with the monarchy during a speech in Sydney on Thursday night.


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