While Buckingham Palace is preparing for the royal visit of Prince Charles and Camilla in Australia in a few weeks, the Australian Republic Movement (ARM) is pushing for replacing the British monarch with an Australian head of state.
The new campaign aims to engage young Aussies in the movement after a research commissioned by ARM found that only 45 per cent of Australians aged below 30 favour a republic. The move has the strongest support among male Baby Boomers at 54 per cent.
In the 1999 referendum, Australian viewed the British royalty as a dysfunctional and discredited family. This was partly due to the years of marital problems involving Prince Charles and his wife Princess Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997.
However, the recent wedding of Charles and Diana's eldest son, Prince William, to Kate Middleton brought back the attraction of the royalty to young Australians who view the blue bloods as celebrities.
Another factor behind the new young Aussie attitude is they look to Britain for protection because of their view that Australia could be vulnerable in an age of terrorism and the rapid rise of China's power in the Asia-Pacific region.
However, ARM National Director David Morris, said older Australians who survived wars, economic difficulties and the rise of Japan have a different perspective, and they find it difficult to understand the youth sense of insecurity. He opined it may be due to the exposure of younger Aussies to the Bali bombing and 9/11.
"Anyone who has spent any time thinking about this issue knows our security is actually in our alliance with the U.S. We haven't relied on Britain since the fall of Singapore (in 1942)," Brisbane Times quoted Mr Morris.
Only 30 per cent of young Australians favour a republic, although 48 per cent of voters overall favour a republic and 18 per cent are strong supporters of the republic movement.
"We know from the research that the actual mechanics of the (appointment and powers of the) head of state doesn't excite people. But we know they are really passionate about their identity. This is no lingering sentimentality about being part of the Empire - that was half a century ago. We are now a mature nation with our own identity. It is just a matter of working out what is the best time to resolve this," Mr Morris said.
To contact the editor, e-mail: