Anthony Albanese, who is a Republican, invited King Charles III to visit Australia “as soon as possible” as he promised that a constitutional change referendum would not be held before the end of his first term as prime minister.
Rejecting talk of any rush to oust the King as head of state of Australia, the Prime Minister said that out of “deep respect and admiration” for the Queen, he would not “consider questions about our constitution” until he was re-elected.
In his first international interview since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Mr Albanese told Sky News UK that he will not hold a referendum on whether Australia should become a republic during his first term.
“Of course, this is a significant change. The only monarch we knew during my lifetime and during the lifetime of most Australians was Queen Elizabeth,” he said.
“She was such a respected figure no matter where people are on the political spectrum. These 70 years of public service, this devotion to duty is what gives her such great respect.”
Mr Albanese expressed his hope that King Charles III and his Queen Consort Camilla would visit Australia “as soon as possible”.
“He is a man who has a deep relationship with Australia. I hope he can come here as soon as possible,” Mr. Albanese said.
The Prime Minister, his partner Jodie Haydon, Governor General David Hurley and his wife Linda will travel to London next Thursday to prepare to attend a state funeral.
King Charles III was formally proclaimed monarch in a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on Sunday by the Governor General.
Mr Albanese also declared a national public holiday in honor of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 22 September.
This will provide a four-day weekend for the Victorians, who already have a public holiday scheduled for the AFL Finals.
“This will be the only national public holiday that will allow people to pay their respects to the passing of Queen Elizabeth,” the prime minister said.
Australia, Canada and New Zealand and other former colonies of the British Empire are among the 15 current Commonwealth realms, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and UK.
Earlier, Mr. Albanese told an ABC correspondent. Insiders program that “Now is not the time to talk about our system of government.”
“This is the system of government that we have and it is my duty as the Prime Minister of Australia to respect it,” he said.
“It is clear that this is a time of national mourning.
“Even though the Queen was 96 years old and lived such a long life, it still came as a shock to her. I think that says something about the fact that the Queen was perceived as a constant in our lives.”
Mr. Albanese also urged King Charles to keep talking about climate change, suggesting it did not pose a threat to political neutrality.
“Of course, King Charles was very active and outspoken on issues such as the need for the world to challenge climate change and take action on climate change,” Mr Albanese said.
When asked if the monarch should continue to speak out, he replied: “In my opinion, it would be appropriate. That’s his business, of course.”
“I think that addressing climate change should not be seen as a political issue, it should be seen as an issue about humanity and the very quality of our life and survival in the world,” Mr. Albanese said.
“It’s a big threat and King Charles has long identified it.”
But Liberal leader Peter Dutton said it was necessary for King Charles III to put his defense aside “for now”.
“As king, I think that since the queen has run her own business, he is here now as an impartial person, taking on this role, and they obviously take her very seriously,” Dutton said.
Monarchist Mr Dutton said any talk of Australia becoming a republic should be put on hold for another time.
“We need a king as much as we need a queen because there is stability in our system that has served us well and I don’t believe that it can be destroyed,” he said.