Malcolm Turnbull has been quite consistent in being pessimistic about the chances of Australia becoming a republic, as we reported in this column on 25 July, 2005. On the Channel  9  Sunday programme on 29 July, he was asked about Kevin Rudd’s recent announcement  that he would call a referendum on the republic at some point if he were to win government.,

“I’d like Australia to become a republic. I am as committed to a republic as I was in 1999. But as I said then, if you vote No, it will be No for a long time.  The point is not that the next Prime Minister may be a republican; for a referendum to succeed all the planets have to be in alignment. Next time would be at the end of The Queen’s reign. The real issue is whether we have  got to the point where Australians are ready to decide on the Head of State. Bob Hawke actually counselled me against proceeding the way we did on the nineties.”

On earlier occasions Mr. Turnbull has pointed out that even at the end of the reign, there would also have to be a consensus on the model, and little opposition. The republicans will ensure there is no consensus and the constitutional monarchists will raise significant opposition.  Her Majesty's first British Prime Minister was Sir Winston Churchill, her first Australian Sir Robert Menzies. There are likely to be many more.