Republicans call for AusExit from Britain
AUSTRALIA’S republican movement says membership has surged in the wake of the Brexit vote, as Australians question the benefits of being part of “little Britain”.
An “AusExit” campaign, including calls to remove the Union Jack from the flag and replace the Queen as head of state, has gained momentum in recent days.
Peter FitzSimons, the chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, said the country had belonged to the British empire, but historic ties between the nations had become less relevant because “Great Britain barely exists any more”.
“It’s one thing for the monarchists to say ‘we should be staying so very closely aligned to Great Britain’ … but how do you feel about staying so closely aligned to little Britain?” he told ABC Radio.
“From the moment that Brexit came through, social media came alive, with people saying ‘this is ridiculous, let us be our own people, let us get away from this’.”
Mr FitzSimons said if Australia abandoned the British monarchy it would be a unifying moment of national pride rather than a “divisive and horrible campaign as was Brexit”.
“[ We’re] not looking to Brexit as the model at all,” he said. “We’re just saying that it’s ludicrous in the 21st century to say that Australia cannot do better than find our heads of state from one family of English aristocrats living in a palace in London.”
However, the monarchist movement said Britain’s vote “has nothing whatsoever to do with changing from a constitutional monarchy to a republic”.
“For the republicans to say that it gives an excuse to become a republic is total, apparent nonsense,” said Philip Benwell, the chairman of the Australian Monarchist League.