Republic of Oz a way off: Brits

Queen Elizabeth II in Canberra, Australia. Photon / AP
Queen Elizabeth II in Canberra, Australia. Photon / AP

The royal wedding and visits by the Queen and Prince William have killed chances Australia will become a republic soon, according to a series of British Government reports.

But changing demographics and fewer Australians with ties to the United Kingdom mean ditching the monarchy would be a natural development, the Foreign Office said.

Written in September and November, immediately before and after the 11-day Australian visit by the Queen and Prince Philip, the reports frankly assess the republican movement.

"It is clear the debate about Australia becoming a republic is off the table for the present," the November report says, adding most Australians feel the issue of republicanism won't reappear until after the Queen's death.

The reports, obtained using freedom of information laws, credit Prince William's 2010 visit to Australia and his April marriage to Kate Middleton as factors curbing republicanism.

Prince William, second in line to the throne, was warmly received on his 2010 visit to Sydney and Melbourne, and his wedding was viewed by a global television audience of billions.

But the reports, used to inform opinion at Britain's Foreign Office, say Australia may eventually relinquish the monarchy. "In the longer term, demographic change is reducing the number of Australians who feel a natural tie to the UK, and many Australians feel becoming a republic is a natural part of maturing as a country," another excerpt said.

Michael Keating, chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, rubbished the idea the debate was dead. "I can assure UK citizens the desire for Australia becoming a republic is still extremely strong," he said.

- AAP

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