Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said today he will swear allegiance to King Charles III at the monarch’s coronation, despite believing Australia should have its own head of state.
Albanese voted in a referendum in 1999 for an Australian citizen to replace the British monarch as the country’s head of state.
Albanese said he accepted the fact that most Australians preferred the country to remain a constitutional monarchy rather than becoming a republic and that he would reflect that sentiment when he attended the king’s coronation on Saturday in London.
“I have not changed my position on the subject and have made it very clear. I want to see an Australian as Australia’s head of state,” Albanese told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“This does not mean that one cannot have respect for the institution, which is the government system we have”, he justified. “And I believe that, as Australian Prime Minister, I have a particular responsibility to represent the nation in a way that respects the constitutional arrangements that exist,” he added.
A movement campaigning for Australia to become a republic has urged Albanians to remain silent when the Archbishop of Canterbury invites “all who wish” among the congregation in Westminster Abbey to take the oath of allegiance to the king.
But Albanese said he would follow protocol by taking the oath.
Raised Roman Catholic, Albanese chose not to be sworn in on a bible a year ago when he was appointed prime minister by Governor General David Hurley, who was then Queen Elizabeth II’s representative to Australia.
He opted to take an oath of office, a secular alternative to the oath that makes no mention of God or the monarch.
Albanese ruled out the possibility of holding a referendum in his first term to replace the British monarch with an Australian president. In return, he is prioritizing a referendum that recognizes Indigenous Australians in the Constitution and creates a representative body to advise parliament on Indigenous issues.
Although Albanese has appointed a minister responsible for the republic, he has yet to set a deadline for Australians to vote on an eventual constitutional change.