Australia to hold referendum on bidding farewell to Queen

November 26th, 2007 - 2:33 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Nov.26 (ANI): Kevin Rudds taking over as the new Australian Prime Minister after Saturdays general election victory has come with some surprises.
Apart from deciding the timing of the withdrawal of Australian troops, the new government is likely to hold a referendum on removing the Queen as the countrys head of state.
Rudd, 50, a former diplomat, has promised to hold a plebiscite on severing links with the monarchy.
He also said on Sunday that he would withdraw Australian troops from Iraq and ratify the Kyoto pact on climate change.
With 53 percent of the vote, Rudd brought an emphatic end to the 11-year tenure of John Howard, an avowed monarchist.
According to The Times, critics of the referendum argue that it was rigged in favour of monarchists because it gave voters only the option of having Parliament elect a President and not the direct election of a head of state by the people.
Rudd has promised a plebiscite that is likely to offer a far broader means of choosing an Australian head of state.
It is expected that the plebiscite would probably be held in 2010 in conjunction with the next general election.
With polls showing strong support for a republic, Buckingham Palace insists that the issue can only be resolved at the ballot box.
“I have always made it clear that the future of the monarchy in Australia is an issue for you, the Australian people, and you alone to decide by democratic and constitutional means. It should not be otherwise,” the Queen said during a State visit to Australia in 2000.
Rudd swept the Labor Party into office on the back of about 53 per cent of the vote compared with the Government’s 47 per cent. Computer projections show Labor on track to take at least 86 seats in Australia’s 150-seat House of Representatives.
Labor’s win sees the elevation of Australia’s first woman as deputy Prime Minister. Julia Gillard, 46. (ANI)

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