Brexit Vote Gives 'Renewed Drive' To Australian Republican Movement

The landmark UK vote is reinvigorating local republicans.

25/06/2016 9:18 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Australian republicans' hopes were dashed in 1999 but they haven't given up on the movement.

Britain's surprise vote to leave the European Union has renewed calls for Australia to become a republic, with many Aussies taking to social media to urge a break with the UK.

Britain on Friday voted to quit the EU in a referendum that sent shock waves through global share markets and triggered speculation that other nations like the Netherlands and France could follow their neighbour's lead.

In Australia, the historic UK vote has sent pro-republic supporters into a tizz, with hopes it could generate momentum for independence from Britain that's stalled since the failed 1999 referendum.

Australian Republican Movement chair Peter FitzSimons was among those using Brexit to advance the case for an Aussie head of state.

Prime Minister Turnbull led the failed republican movement in 1999 and said earlier this year that the timing for any future referendum would be crucial. He has warned not to move too fast on the issue.

Even if momentum does increase for another tilt at independence from Britain it's likely to be an uphill battle as recent polling shows support in Australia for the monarchy has lifted since the referendum.

That turnaround has largely been put down to an improved public profile on the part of the royal family, especially due to events like Prince William's wedding to Catherine Middleton and the births of Prince George in 2013 and Princess Charlotte in 2015.

The Duke of Cambridge largely stayed out of the Brexit debate however some recent comments were interpreted as backing the losing remain campaign.

On Friday, Turnbull said Australia's links with Britain would remain "very strong and intimate" in the wake of Brexit.

"I have no doubt... that our very strong and intimate relations with the United Kingdom will be entirely unaffected," Turnbull told Agence France-Presse.

"And our very strong relations with Europe, with continental Europe, which are leading towards negotiations to a free-trade agreement, will also continue.

"We have enhanced our relations with the major continental European economies in recent years, in particular, of course, Germany and France."

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