Aussies leading the Republic Movement plan to confront King Charles

How two high-profile Aussies leading the Republic Movement plan to confront King Charles and present their case for ditching him as head of state

  • Nova Peris and Craig Foster want to sit with Charles
  • Want to present case to remove him as head of state 
  • Also pushing for referendum on leaving Commonwealth 

The two people leading the push for a republic have said they will try to secure a meeting with King Charles III during his expected tour of Australia next year.

Newly-appointed Australian Republic Movement co-chairs Nova Peris and Craig Foster say they want to sit down with the 74-year-old monarch to present their case for replacing him with an Australian head of state and call for the repatriation of Aboriginal remains from Britain.

Ms Peris and Mr Foster renewed their case for cutting ties with the monarchy as they spoke to reporters at Parliament House on Wednesday, five weeks before the new King’s coronation is due to take place in London.

The pair were in Canberra for the launch of a new multi-partisan group of politicians that will lobby for a republic, led by independent MP Helen Haines, Labor senator Fatima Payman and Liberal MP Russell Broadbent.

Britain’s King Charles III is likely to face a mixed reception in Australia as the push for Indigenous recognition and becoming a republic grows

Ms Peris, an Olympic gold medallist and former senator, said Indigenous Australians would be campaigning for the repatriation of Aboriginal remains in the United Kingdom when King Charles III travels here.

‘I guess the messaging from us First Nations people – and right across the world where countries are now becoming republics – (is) calling for the repatriation of Aboriginal remains that the United Kingdom hold,’ she said.

‘And that’s something that’s important to us, as First Nations people, and we will certainly be calling for that when he comes out to Australia.’

The federal government’s work to repatriate the ancestral remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders removed to museums, universities and private collections in the UK and other countries overseas is ongoing.

The remains of more than 1660 Indigenous Australians have been repatriated since 1990, including those of 18 people held by two English museums which were returned last year.

The British Museum has previously refused to return the skulls of Torres Strait Islanders despite multiple requests from their communities.

Earlier this month, UK high commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell told the National Press Club in Canberra that returning Indigenous artefacts and remains was important but not a straightforward process.

Newly-appointed Australian Republic Movement co-chairs Nova Peris and Craig Foster (pictured together) say they want to sit down with the 74-year-old monarch 

The Australian Republic Movement has also thrown its support behind the Indigenous Voice to parliament which Australians will vote on enshrining in the constitution at a referendum later this year.

The Albanese government has said it will hold a referendum on becoming a republic if it wins a second term in office, meaning a national poll on leaving the monarchy could be held as early as 2025.

Mr Foster said on Wednesday the Australian Republic Movement would campaign for the Voice but would continue its push for a referendum on leaving the Commonwealth regardless of the outcome of this year’s referendum.

‘I’m certainly personally hopeful, as I’m sure most Australians are, that the Voice will be successful,’ the ex-Socceroo turned human rights advocate said.

‘We don’t know what the outcome will be of the Voice referendum. We can’t project into the next term of government.

‘All we can do is focus on starting this starting to build this infrastructure and campaign support so that we can have this important conversation with Australia next year.’

A previous referendum to turn Australia into a republic in 1999 was unsuccessful.

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