Australia should drop Queen Elizabeth II as head of state: opposition leader

Australia should drop Queen Elizabeth II as head of state: opposition leader

"The first, clear question we ask the people should be whether we want an Australian head of state".

Senator Cormann said the more hard question was not if the Australian people wanted a republic, but what system they wanted to change to.

Mr Shorten is set to argue the republican debate is not about a lack of respect for the Queen or his regard for her service, but that Australia shouldn't wait for a change of monarch.

Mr Shorten says enshrining a voice for indigenous Australians is the first priority for constitutional change and can be achieved in this term of parliament.

In a copy of the speech released to media before his speech Saturday night, Shorten said the question would be simply: "Do you support an Australian republic with an Australian head of state?"

Labor leader Shorten said the referendum would be convened during his first term in office and that it would have a simple "yes or no" vote on whether Queen Elizabeth should remain the Australian head of state, reports Efe news.

"If the yes vote prevails - and I'm optimistic it will - then we can consider how that head of state is chose", Mr Shorten will say in his speech.

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"We can not risk being caught in a referendum like the last one, where Australians were given one vote to settle two questions", the Labor leader will say in a speech today.

The call for a single-question referendum could cause difficulties for Australia's Prime Minister, a prominent republican himself.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has mocked Bill Shorten's plan to hold a national vote on becoming a republic, saying Australians instead "give a toss" about their power bills and jobs.

"This is about trusts serving their true objective, so that distributions are taxed fairly", Mr Shorten said. "But I am not an Elizabethan. No one will ever lose respect for her as an individual, or her accomplishments, or her family as a result of a change to an Australian head of state".

On Saturday, Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen would not be attending the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.

"If you want to see what is pressing at the moment, go to any office and say what is the issue coming here and they will say, 'I can not afford my power bill"'.

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