Mark McGowan stands by republic stance

Mr McGowan said in the wake of news Premier Colin Barnett did not to sign a declaration for an Australian head of state – the only political leader in Australia not to do so – he had long held the view Australia should become a republic.

“I’m a republican; I make no bones about it and I have been a republican since I was a kid,” he said.

“I’ve always believed Australia should be able to stand on its own two feet. I like the Queen, I especially like Prince Charles but I do think we should have an Australian head of state.

“I don’t like the idea that you don’t earn your position, you don’t get there by merit. Monarchy is a system where by you don’t get there by merit, you get there by being born into it.

“I don’t like that system; I don’t think it fits in with the Australian ethos or the Australian model.”

Mr Barnett said it was not the “right time” for constitutional change, despite previously supporting a republic.

“While I believe and hope that Australia will choose to become a republic in my lifetime, I do not think that the time is right, or that sufficient time has passed since the referendum, to be again prosecuting the argument for constitutional change,” he said in a statement.

Mr McGowan said the Premier should have had the “intestinal fortitude” to stand by his view and should have committed to the document.

“The Premier claims he’s a republican but he won’t sign a document acknowledging he is.

“I don’t think he’s showing enough courage, not showing the courage of his proclaimed convictions. If you believe in an Australian head of state you should sign the document… people respect that (honesty).

“We can discuss becoming a republic every day and we should… it’s a big national issue.”