I hope you are all having a pleasant and inspiring evening. My apologies for not being able to be with you in person but I thank David for the opportunity to have this short message read to you all.
As you would all be well aware, it is Greens policy that Australia should become a republic, with an Australian head of state. We have held this position for many years; we have had a bill before the federal parliament since 1998 which would allow for a plebiscite on the threshold question of 'do you want Australia to become a republic?' with a simple' yes or no?' response, as we think this is the best place to start in building community consensus. I have personally been a strong advocate of a republic throughout my political career. In fact, as leader of the Tasmanian Greens, from 1996-98 we were in balance of power with a Liberal Minority Government, and I delivered parliamentary support for a republic, amongst other reforms such as gun law reforms, gay law reforms and an apology to the Stolen Generations.
It is timely to remind of the possibility for change regardless of whether the conservatives or the labor party are in power. I have said before on many issues it can be easier at times to drive progressive change in partnership with the conservative side of politics, than the progressive side, and whilst I do not hope for an Abbott conservative government, I do not see it as automatically being a set back for the republican campaign.
What any movement needs however, and the climate change movement is case in point, is a strong, active community to drive change. People like yourselves to push and prod parliamentarians into representing their views and acting on them. Without a groundswell of support for an Australian head of state, the major parties will not dare to act. I am pleased to see this campaign is engaging a new, youthful generation in the debate and refreshing the conversation with the Australian people. This is a vital component of success. I, and the Australian Greens, look forward to standing with you to work hard, to deliver a republic for all Australians.