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Australia names junior ‘minister for the republic’

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia’s centre-left Prime Minister Anthony Albanese named his Cabinet yesterday including an “assistant minister for the republic”, despite the country being a constitutional monarchy.

As the United Kingdom’s 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II prepares to celebrate her platinum jubilee, her recently-elected government in Australia took a symbolic step toward her ouster.

Albanese announced that Sydney Member of Parliament Matt Thistlethwaite would be assistant minister for the republic, in addition to other duties.

Previous Labour leaders have promised a referendum on removing the Queen as Australia’s head of state, but Albanese – a long-time republican – did not make the promise a feature of his election campaign.

The move was welcomed by the Australian Republic Movement, which campaigns for an Australian head of state.

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. PHOTO: AFP
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