Greens senator demands republic debate

·2-min read

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe - who was forced to retake her oath of allegiance after calling the Queen a coloniser - has blasted British colonialism and demanded Australia become a republic.

Days out from the Queen's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Senator Thorpe called a press conference in Melbourne to address the republic debate.

She seized on comments made by former prime minister and "lifelong republican" Julia Gillard, who said it was natural for Australians to reflect on the monarchy following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

"A republic is something that isn't new, it's something that has been called for for decades," Senator Thorpe told reporters on Friday.

"To hear that Julia Gillard has come out in support of a republic just goes to show that there is leadership around the place that will support us self determining our own needs, our own wants, and our own laws in our own country."

Ms Gillard said Australians could expect to have a discussion on constitutional change in the coming years but added now was not the time.

"I've always thought inevitably when the reign of Queen Elizabeth came to the end that people would reflect, but people will do that in a very measured and unhurried way," she told the BBC.

Senator Thorpe, a Gunnai Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman, said colonial laws were outdated and rooted in racism.

"Colonisation means they brought their laws here, they bought their systems here," she said.

"Those laws and those systems don't work here.

"We can make our own laws and our own rules for our own people. We don't need to be dictated to by a colonial, quite a violent past that the colonial system has."

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is a republican but argues now is not the time for debate.

"It's important right now that we take the opportunity to express our gratitude for the service of Her Majesty the Queen," he told UK network ITV.

"We have welcomed King Charles III at the same time.

"People will have different views about a way forward in the future, but that is a matter for future debate."