Australian Republic Movement

The Australian Republic Movement (ARM) is a non-partisan member-based organisation campaigning for Australia to become an independent republic with an Australian as head of state. Australian constitutional law has provided since Federation in 1901 that the monarch of the United Kingdom is also the monarch of Australia.[1] The Australian monarch is generally understood to be the head of state, although regal functions are ordinarily performed by a Governor-General and state Governors.

Australian Republic Movement
ChairpersonPeter FitzSimons
National directorMichael Cooney
Campaign DirectorSandy Biar
National organiserDavid McGregor
FoundedJuly 1991 (1991-07)
IdeologyAustralian republicanism
Australian Republic Movement



The ARM, then known as the Australian Republican Movement, was founded on 7 July 1991.[2] Its first chairman was novelist Thomas Keneally, with other founding members including lawyer Malcolm Turnbull, later Prime Minister, former Australian cricket captain Ian Chappell, and film director Fred Schepisi.[3] It is currently headed by journalist and author Peter FitzSimons.

1999 referendum

The Australian republic referendum, held on 6 November 1999, was a two-question referendum to amend the Constitution of Australia. For some years opinion polls had suggested that a majority of the electorate favoured a republic.[4] Nonetheless, the republic referendum was defeated due to a range of factors, including a lack of bi-partisanship and division among republicans on the method proposed for selection of the president.[5][6]


The ARM is seeking to bring about an Australian republic through a national plebiscite on the questions:

  1. "Should Australia have an Australian head of state?"
  2. "How should we choose our head of state?"

A referendum would follow offering a choice between adopting the form of republic approved by the plebiscite or remaining a constitutional monarchy.


The ARM argues that Australia should replace the monarchy to become a republic with an Australian head of state. It contends that the benefits of this system are a head of state that can exclusively represent Australian interests, a system that better aligns with democratic institutions, a fully independent constitution and a head of state that can represent Australian values.

Recent developments

The ARM currently operates staffed campaign offices in Sydney and Canberra, and has branches active in all states and territories.[7] In 2017 the Australian Labor Party announced a national vote on the republic during the first term of a future Labor government,[8] and appointed Matt Thistlethwaite as the first 'Shadow Assistant Minister for an Australian Head of State'.[9]

Celebrity supporters

See also


  1. "Commonwealth of Australia Act 1900 (UK)". Federal Register of Legislation., covering clause 2. Hence Australia is a Commonwealth realm within the Commonwealth of Nations.
  2. "Records of the Australian Republican Movement, 1987-2009". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  3. The Coming Republic, Donald Horne, Sun Australia, page 10
  4. "Polls on a republic 1999 - 2002" (PDF). Newspoll. November 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  5. Turnbull, Malcolm (1999). Fighting for the Republic: the Ultimate Insider's Account. South Yarra: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 1864981075.
  6. Vizard, Steve (1998). Two Weeks in Lilliput: Bear Baiting and Backbiting at the Constitutional Convention. Ringwood: Penguin. ISBN 0140279830.
  7. "Majority of parliamentarians support Australian republic".
  8. "Bill Shorten vows to hold vote on republic during first term of a Labor government".
  9. "Major step in push for Australian republic: Labor appoints a 'Shadow Assistant Minister for an Australian Head of State'".
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