Opposition Leader Promises Another 'Republic' Vote For Australia

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is taking constitutional issues off the agenda after a 55% majority voted to keep Queen Elizabeth II as head of state in a national referendum held Nov. 6. But while Howard turns his attention back to economic issues, including his promise to cut the corporate tax rate to 30% by July 2001, opposition leader Kim Beazley says a future Labor government would reopen the republican debate. Many Australians voted for the status quo rather than accept a president appointed by a two-thirds majority of Parliament, a model criticized as a "politicians' republic." Beazley says he would give voters a chance to choose their own republican model, including one with a popularly elected president, but Australians have given a clear signal that they don't want change for change's sake. They also voted by a majority of 61% to 31% to reject a constitutional preamble that would have recognized Aborigines as the first peoples of the nation.

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