Australia PM won't hold referendum on republic in next three years after Queen's death

Australia's Prime Minister has said his priority is supporting first nations people within the constitution rather than holding a referendum on the monarchy - Dan Rivers reports

Australia's Prime Minister has declared now is not the time for change - after earlier laying the groundwork for a republic referendum on whether to become a republic.

Anthony Albanese, who had started preparing Australians for a debate on becoming a republic after his election win in May, said on Sunday that now was the time for paying tribute to the Queen's life.

In his first international interview since the death of the Queen, Mr Albanese postponed the republican debate - for now - saying he wanted to prioritise the country's relationship with indigenous Australians.

He said he would not hold a referendum on whether Australia should become a republic in his first term - which lasts three years.

"I think the important thing is, I think to commemorate the moment that we're in now and it is a moment of reflection about an extraordinary life," he said.

He told ITV News: "The constitutional change that I have clearly identified in this term of parliament is the recognition of first nations people in our constitution.

"Our constitution is our nation's birth certificate, and this nation didn't begin in 1788 it goes back some 65,000 years at least."

Mr Albanese, who 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, had created a new position of Assistant Minister for the Republic and appointed Matt Thistlethwaite to the role in June.

Mr Thistlethwaite had said there would be no change in the Queen’s lifetime.

Albanese has said previously that a republic referendum is not a priority of his first three-year term in government.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Credit: Rick Rycroft/AP

During her long reign, the queen connected to Australia in ways that no monarch before her had done.

Australia last held a referendum on the issue in 1999, and chose to keep the Queen as head of state by a narrow margin.

The final years of the Queen's reign has triggered questions about the future of the monarchy in several Commonwealth nations.

Barbados ended its relationship with the Crown to become a republic in 2021, breaking off a 400-year relationship with the monarchy.

The remarkable life of the Queen remembered in our latest episode of What You Need To Know