Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Australian Democrats’ Spokesperson on the Republic

Senator Nick Bolkus

Chairman, Senate Legal and Constitutional Reference Committee


17 June 2003 MEDIA RELEASE

The Australian Democrats and the Australian Labor Party today announced they would establish a Senate Inquiry to examine the best way to work towards Australia becoming a republic.

The Inquiry, to be conducted by the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee, will seek community feedback on the most appropriate steps towards the establishment of an Australian Head of State. It will also give Australians the opportunity to put forward their preferred model for an Australian republic.

The Democrats announced the Inquiry in November last year and welcome Labor’s support for this initiative.

Democrats’ Republic spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, said the Inquiry would put the republic back on the national agenda.

"There is overwhelming support for a republic within the Australian community and it is now time to kickstart the debate on how we can achieve this," said Senator Stott Despoja.

"This issue has remained static for too long. We are not prepared to let the Prime Minister’s antipathy to a republic hold Australia back anymore."

Senate Legal and Constitutional Reference Committee Chairman, Senator Nick Bolkus, said the Inquiry would consult widely with the Australian community and would travel to rural and regional areas to ensure that all Australians would have the opportunity to participate.

"Ultimately, it is the Australian people who must choose what kind of republic we will be and how our Head of State should be selected," said Senator Bolkus.

"This Inquiry will be the first step towards a plebiscite or referendum, but it is up to the community to tell us when that poll should be and what questions should be asked," Senators Stott Despoja and Bolkus concluded. 

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Last modified:
05 July, 2003