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Australia in the 1990s

The Australian republic issue

In 1992, prime minister Paul Keating announced that the federal, state and territory governments had agreed that there would no longer be recommendations made to the Queen for Australians to receive imperial awards such as being made a knight or a dame.

A 1992, proclamation ordained that National Wattle Day would be held on 1 September from 1993. In the same year, a new citizenship oath was incorporated. From this point on, new Australian citizens were no longer required to swear allegiance to the Queen and her heirs, but use the words of the Australian Citizenship Pledge.

In July 1993, only 35 per cent of Australians declared themselves to be monarchists. In 1998, a constitutional convention to debate a republic for Australia was held in Old Parliament House, Canberra. Half the participants were chosen by the conservative prime minister John Howard.

In November 1999, a referendum was held on the model for a republic decided upon by the convention. The results showed 55 per cent of Australians voted against the proposal of adopting the republic model suggested by the government.


A snapshot of 1998

  • February
    • A Constitutional Convention was held in Old Government House, Canberra, and gave in principle support to Australia becoming a republic.

  • April
    • Patrick Stevedores sacked its workforce on the Australian waterfront, thus beginning the Waterfront Dispute with the Maritime Union of Australia.

  • May
    • The first Sorry Day was held on 26 May to commemorate the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.

  • June
    • In Queensland's state election, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party won 23 per cent of the vote and 11 seats.

  • July
    • The Senate passed the Native Title Act Amendment Bill 1998 (Cth) after a debate lasting 105 hours.


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