Turnbull — a staunch republican who led the cause before a failed referendum in 1999 — said his support for an Australian head of state stemmed from patriotism.
“The cause of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) is a cause for Australia ,” Turnbull said during a keynote address to the ARM.
“We do not diminish or disrespect the patriotism of those who take a different view, but we have no other motive, no other reason than love of country.” The British crown’s power in Australia is seen as largely symbolic, and while the Queen is hugely popular Down Under, the monarchy is viewed by some as an anachronistic colonial relic.
Critics within Turnbull’s own conservative Liberal Party earlier in the week said his support for a republic would be damaging to the government. But Turnbull said there was no appetite among Australians for another referendum during Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
“The less party political the republican movement is, the broader its base, the deeper its grassroots, the better positioned it will be when the issue becomes truly salient again,” the Australian leader added.