Bullock speaks against republic push

Nick Butterly Canberra
WA Senator Joe Bullock addresses the Australian Monarchist League.

WA Senator Joe Bullock has again put himself at odds with Labor policy in declaring himself firmly opposed to Australia becoming a republic.

In a speech to the Australian Monarchist League, Senator Bullock has claimed that monarchists are not extinct in the Labor Party, but merely an "endangered species".

Addressing the league's national conference in Sydney, Senator Bullock argued the monarchy played a role in safeguarding democracy and protected Australia from the "dangers inherent in republicanism".

"I suspect that Labor's historical ambivalence towards the monarchy has its origins in the high numbers of Irish immigrants who once featured within Australia's working class," he said.

"More recently, as the Labor Party has increasingly identified itself with so-called progressive causes, republicanism has established itself as Labor orthodoxy.

"Nevertheless, as I constantly remind my colleagues, we are not the Progressive Party. We are the Labor Party - the clue is in the name."

Longstanding Labor Party policy is that the nation should eventually transition to a republic, with an Australian as head of State.

Senator Bullock was blamed by many for Labor's terrible result at the WA Senate vote re-run this year after he gave a speech to a conservative Christian group describing party members as "mad" and complaining that fellow ALP Senate candidate Louise Pratt was a poster child for causes such as gay marriage.

A one-time friend of Tony Abbott, Senator Bullock is often given credit for encouraging the now Prime Minister to join the Liberal Party.

Senator Bullock told league members the presence of a monarch protected people from "the oppression of a totalitarian regime".

"An hereditary constitutional monarchy is particularly well suited to embodying in a living human person a focal point for all the best sentiments of patriotism, duty and public spirit," Senator Bullock said.

Australian Monarchist League spokesman Philip Benwell said Senator Bullock's address was an historic moment.