Siladitya Ray, Forbes

A day after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Australian lawmaker Adam Bandt reignited a persistent debate by calling on the country to sever its ties with the British crown, a sentiment that is expected to gain some support not just in Australia but also in other Commonwealth countries like neighboring New Zealand and parts of the Caribbean where the U.K.’s monarch serves as the head of state.

Key Facts

  • Bandt, the leader of Australia’s progressive Greens Party, mourned the Queen’s death on Twitter but called on Australia to “move forward,” by cutting ties with the British monarchy and becoming a republic.
  • Apart from the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II also served as the head of state of 14 other nations including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Jamaica and several other island nations in the Caribbean and the South Pacific.
  • Australia last held a referendum on becoming a republic back in 1999, but the measure failed with 55% of voters opposing such a move.
  • New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who paid tribute to the deceased monarch by calling her “extraordinary,” has previously said she expects her country to become a republic within her lifetime.
  • The sentiment appears to be stronger in parts of the Caribbean, where British rule is linked to a history of slavery, and where Prince William and his wife Kate were met with protests during a recent visit, along with calls for an apology, and slavery reparations.
  • Jamaica, the most populous Caribbean nation in the Commonwealth realm, began the process of transitioning into a republic in June and is expected to remove the British monarch as its head of state sometime before its next general election in 2025.
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Big Number

51%. That is the percentage of Canadians who oppose having the British Monarch as the head of their state “for generations to come” compared to 26% who support such a move, according to a poll conducted by the non-profit and non-partisan Angus Reid Institute in April this year. According to the survey, 67% of Canadians oppose Charles as the King and official head of state of Canada.

Key Background

Last year, the Caribbean nation of Barbados became the most recent country to remove the British monarch as its head of state and become a Republic. A ceremony marking the transition was attended by the then Prince Charles who addressed the “appalling atrocity of slavery” that the Caribbean Island faced under British rule. While the deceased Queen was popular in parts of the Commonwealth, her son King Charles does not enjoy quite the same level of support. This issue came to head earlier this year at a meeting of the heads of states of the Commonwealth of Nations—a geopolitical association made up of former British colonies and the U.K. including 36 Republics—in Kigali, Rwanda. Some member states questioned the decision that Charles should succeed his mother as the head of the organization following her death.

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