Republic the choice of the people: G-G

January 22, 2006 - 4:39PM, AAP

The parliament and the people must decide whether Australia becomes a republic, says Governor-General Michael Jeffery.

Major General Jeffery reiterated his position in response to criticism from the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) for alleged entering the republic debate.

Speaking from Kalgoorlie on Saturday, Major General Jeffery said,

"I have served our country proudly as a soldier, state governor and as Governor-General," The Sun-Herald reported.

"In this role, I fulfil all the functions of a head of state on a daily basis." He also said,

"I would encourage all Australians to care more about their mates, families and themselves."

The comments were interpreted as an attack on the ARM's Mate for a Head of State campaign. ARM chairman Ted O'Brien said the intervention was inappropriate.

"As the Queen's representative in Australia, the Governor-General, by convention, should be non-partisan and rise above the politics of the day," he said. "It is unacceptable for him to weigh into the debate over an Australian republic in this manner."

A spokesman for Major-General Jeffrey said on Sunday the Governor-General's view had not changed from those made in his 2005 Australia Day address when he said any decision on the issue was a matter for the parliament and the people to resolve.

"His position of constitutional reform remains as he stated in last year's Australia Day address when he said ultimately it was a matter for the people and the parliament to decide."

Major General Jeffery will attend a dawn service at the Australian Miners and Prospectors Hall of Fame in Kalgoorlie.

2006 AAP

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