Now is not the time to reignite republic debate, says Australian PM Albanese

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who had started laying the groundwork for Australia becoming a full-fledged republic after elections in May, has said now was the time not for a change but for paying tribute to the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Many regarded Australians’ respect and affection for the late monarch as the biggest obstacle to the country becoming a republic with its own head of state.

Albanese, who is of Irish and Albanian-Italian background, describes himself as the first candidate with a “non-Anglo Celtic name” to run for prime minister in the 121 years that the office has existed.

The Australian prime minister had created a new position of Assistant Minister for the Republic and appointed Matt Thistlethwaite to the role in June. Thistlethwaite had said there would be no change in the Queen’s lifetime.