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Whose republic?

Australia's connection with the British Crown is an artefact of history; there is a clear majority for a republic. But the referendum has revealed the growing gulf between the elite and ordinary Australia

By Nicolas Rothwell   November 1999

In one of those strange half-echoes that resound through Australian history, the prime minister, John Howard, a conservative populist and staunch supporter of retaining the British monarch as his nation’s head of state, has chosen 6th November, the day after Guy Fawkes’ night, as the date for the long-awaited referendum on Australia’s constitutional future. Republic or no? That would seem to be the question, but as always in this country’s placid-surfaced public life, further unasked questions glint in the background.

As the campaign reaches its low-key climax, it appears that the referendum has yet to engage the passions. Other events…

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