BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Special Report: 1998: Australian Republic  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 2 February, 1998, 11:45 GMT
Australia's stormy relationship with Britain
Queen Elizabeth II
Past times: Queen Elizabeth II meets former PM Robert Menzies on a state visit to Australia
Australia has begun discussions to decide whether or not the country should sever its links with the British monarch and become a Republic. Republicans hold a majority of the seats in the newly elected constitutional convention, and if they can agree on what sort of republic they want the Prime Minister will call a referendum.

Our correspondent in Australia, Michael Peschardt, has been looking at the country's relationship with the monarchy. This is the first of his three reports:

Australian monarchists were out-polled in the election for the constitutional convention. But many are still determined to retain the Queen as their head of state.

"I'm proud to be Australian, and I'm proud to be part of the British Commonwealth, and I still salute the Queen as a leader of my country. We are the freest country on earth. They want to stuff it," says Bruce Ruxton, a Monarchist Delegate.

cricket
'Infamous' Jardine bombarding Australia's cricket team
Australia's relationship with Britain from the convict era to the cricket-pitch has been turbulent.

It reached an early low during what is known as the "bodyline tour" in the 1930s.

Determined to beat Australia, the English captain, Douglas Jardine, instructed his side to target the batsmen as much as their stumps.

England won the series, but many Australians wanted to leave the Empire in protest.

Although 30 years later the Australian prime minister of the day, Robert Menzies, was again entranced with the young Queen, the days of fawning over the monarch are now over.

Election analyst Anthony Green says there has been a fundamental change of attitudes: "If you go back to the last war, Australians went and fought for king and country. Australians once happily sung 'God Save the Queen', and many Australians called themselves British, but today all those three things sound ridiculous to most Australian eyes and ears."

Keating
Paul Keating was outspoken in his criticism of the British
Some are even outright antagonistic towards Britain.

Australia's former prime minister Paul Keating kicked off the current Republican debate, and he was vitriolic about those wanting to retain links with Great Britain. He accused the British government of deserting Australia in the Second World War.

However, Mr Keating will not play any part in the Republican convention.

Republican leaders now want a much more conciliatory approach. Bashing Britain is not an election winner. It is not what Australia's modern Republican movement is all about.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY

Ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating rejects allegiance to Britain

Real Video: Watch the English cricket team in action in the controversial 1930s Bodyline Series.
See also:

28 Jan 98 | Australian Republic
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Australian Republic stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Australian Republic stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes