26/01/2016 9:25 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Australian Of The Year Throws Support Behind Republican Movement

Newly named Australian of the year David Morrison will lend his voice to the Australian Republican movement.

After listing his top areas of focus for the coming year -- domestic violence, gender diversity and equal pay -- the former Lieutenant-General used his Australia day address to throw his support behind the republican movement and calls for an Australian head of state.

"With great respect to those who don't share my views and recognising our proud history of European settlement in this country...I will lend my voice to the republican movement in this country," he said.

"It is time to at least revisit the question so that we can stand both free and fully independent amongst the community of nations."

General Morrison has been a member of the Australian Republican Movement for 5 months. Chairman Peter FitzSimons said his appointment capped off an "extraordinary" day for the republican movement.

"He would make an outstanding president or governor-general," Mr FitzSimons said.

"I deeply admire him and the great service he has given our country."

General Morrison's remarks come as state and territory leaders throw their weight behind calls Australia to become a republic.

Seven of the eight state and territory leaders have signed a declaration by the Australian Republic Movement and a petition calling for a republic on has now received over 8,900 signatures.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has noted that he and Prime Minister Turnbull -- a former chair of ARM -- supported a republic.

Mr Shorten is expected to use his Australia Day address today in Melbourne to challenge the prime minister to 'seize this moment' and lead the movement ahead of constitutional change.

In a statement, he said the time for debate had come with "avowed republicans" leading both major political parties.

"I don't believe we have to wait for a change of monarch to renew the Republic debate," he said.