A Britsh queen stops Australia from being great: Former PM

December 17th, 2011 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 17 (IANS) Queen Elizabeth II is stopping Australia from becoming a great country, former Australian prime minister Paul Keating has said.

“The fact is that Australia can only be a great country when it claims its head of state as one of its own. It will forever have that derivativeness about it while ever our head of state is the Queen of Great Britain and we share her with 16 other countries,” Keating told Sky News Australia.

“And by the way, we get around with the British flag in the corner of our flag. I mean, great states do not do these things,” he said.

Keating, who was Labor prime minister from 1991 to 1995, is known for his anti-royal views.

The former prime minister said many Australians still have affection for the queen, and criticised current politicians for shying away from demanding a republic.

“We are not going to take our republic, we are going to wait till the old lady dies or leaves. Of course the next day King Charles and Queen Camilla will be there. And of course they’ll say, ‘Let’s give the new bloke a go’,” he said.

Incumbent Prime Minister Julia Gillard favours a republic, but believes any move in that direction should not happen during the queen’s lifetime.

“They (politicians) don’t have the imagination about this. They don’t see the importance to the country. The republic will say much more to us about ourselves. You just imagine the impact on this country psychologically, of a shift to an Australian person as head of state,” Keating said.

The idea of Australia becoming a republic was rejected in a referendum in 1999.

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