Green King Charles no republican pushover

In 1999, I voted for Australia to become a republic.

I’d probably do so again, if the question was put to me.  But, I’m not sure I would be in the majority.

For years, republican campaigners have seen Charles' ascension to the throne as the next big opportunity for constitutional change.

The theory went that, after Queen Elizabeth’s exemplary reign, Charles would prove to be less popular.  The monarchy, in turn, would become less popular and change would inevitably follow.

But, what if the new King is the man for the moment?

The last referendum was held during the hubristic pre-millennium years following the end of the Cold War, before the dot com crash, 9/11 and the GFC dampened the mood.

In that relatively prosperous and peaceful time, it was easy to think that Australia lacking an Australian-born head of state was the biggest issue facing us.

But young people today face much bigger issues, including climate change, an issue Charles has been campaigning on for years – well before it was popular to do so.

It is very possible that his credibility on this existential issue connects him to the community in a way few of us predicted.

And, in a world of polarised debates, disputed elections and authoritarian rule, people look at last week’s dignified transfer of sovereignty, and conclude our system of constitutional monarchy isn’t that broken.

Australia might become a republic, but the campaign will have to earn it.

Daniel Smith is executive chair of ReGen Strategic.


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