Julia Gillard, Australia's new prime minister, may be no monarchist, but she's no Chardonnay republican either:
"Where the republic debate went wrong was that it became too much about what people like me think and not enough about what Australian community thinks," she told the National Press Club in Canberra during her first address as prime minister.This is a very telling statement, isn't it. It is a startling admission from the Prime Minister of Australia no less, that the whole republican agenda has been an elitist-driven project from the get-go, which did not adequately take into account the people's views. We, of course, have known this for years, but it is refreshing to hear it come directly from the Queen's first minister Down Under.
"This has to be about a community consensus and I don't believe we are there yet."
Win or lose the next election, it appears the whole matter has been safely punted into the long grass. By then Tony Abbott might be prime minister, who is perhaps the most monarchist Australian leader since Sir Robert Menzies. Rest assured, Australian republicans are eating defeat today.