Julia Gillard says Australia will ultimately become republic after death of Queen Elizabeth II


Julia Gillard says Australia will ultimately become a republic but has endorsed the prime minister, Anthony Albanese’s view it is too soon for the debate.

The former Australian prime minister told the ABC, in her first interview since the Queen’s death, that Albanese was right to delay consideration of a republic to a future term of government.

Before flying to London on Thursday Albanese said the Queen’s death had made Australians “more conscious of our system of government”, but he has refused to be drawn on timing of a referendum beyond noting his government’s first priority is to recognise First Nations people in the constitution.

Gillard said at its centre the Queen’s passing is a human story of loss and grief. “A family has lost a beloved member and because the family is so on the public stage we’re sharing that moment,” she said

Gillard said that everybody’s experience of the monarchy was different but for many Australians the Queen represented continuity “in a chaotic and fractured world”.

Asked if she was still of the view the Queen’s death would be an appropriate time to move away from a British head of state, Gillard said: “Yes, I always thought that when the Queen did leave us, that it would cause a period of reflection.”

“I always thought in Australia too it would unleash a new set of reflections about our own constitutional arrangements.

“But there’s no rush and I certainly endorse what the prime minister has said. There’s time for measured discussion. It’s certainly too soon for that now.”

Gillard said that Albanese would honour the Queen at the funeral on Monday.

“And then I think we can have a measured, steady discussion, which will ultimately take us, I think, in the direction of a republic,” she said. “But it won’t be quick.