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Is now the time to start talking about a republic?

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King Charles III has become the head of state across 14 Commonwealth realms following his mother’s death

In the depths of the Caribbean lies an archipelago, which was born in 1981 after it received autonomy from Britain.

Since then, the nation known for its beaches and rainforests has become the home to nearly 100,000 people.

But the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda has announced his country will soon take its independence one step further, as it casts a vote on whether to become a republic within the next three years.

Gaston Browne made the announcement following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last week.

“This is not an act of hostility, or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy,” he said.

Instead, Mr Browne added it is “a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation”.

Queen Elizabeth II meets the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II visited the three islands, which make up Antigua and Barbuda on three separate occasions in 1966, 1977 and 1985.

The Queen’s state visits were guided by a group of nations known as the Commonwealth.

The political association, which groups 56 member states, are mainly former territories of the British Empire. It spans from Cyprus in Europe, to Tuvalu in the depths of the Pacific.

How many countries did the Queen rule?

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II visited at least 117 countries.

In 14 of these, the late monarch remained as their head of state. This includes Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Solomon Islands.

But her death is stirring the motion towards independence, or a republic for some of these states.

In Australia, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his country will not vote on a republic in this current term of government, which expires in 2025.

“Now is the time for commemorating and recognising the life and service of Queen Elizabeth and also for welcoming our new head of state in King Charles III.”

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA

The Prime Minister believes constitutional change is “very difficult to occur in this country”, and has instead focussed his attention towards an Indigenous voice to Parliament.

Australia voted on whether to part ways with the monarchy in 1999, when nearly 61 per cent chose to not alter the constitution.

Jacinda Ardern is the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who said her country will become a republic at some stage in her lifetime.

But she has stopped short of putting forward a timeline for this to take place.

This is also the case in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the late monarch as one of his “favourite people in the world”.

“She was our Queen for almost half of Canada’s existence. And she had an obvious deep and abiding love and affection for Canadians.”

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA

Queen Elizabeth II spent 70 years on the throne, where she met a dozen Canadian, 15 British, and 16 Australian prime ministers.

Where is the republican movement strong?

Like Antigua and Barbuda, Queen Elizabeth II’s reign was prominent across the Caribbean; including The Bahamas, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.

Another country in which Queen Elizabeth II remained head of state—also known as a Commonwealth realm—is Jamaica, which has paved its way for a shift towards a republic.

In fact, questions around the republican movement were raised earlier this year.

In March, the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Jamaica. However, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Royal couple the country was “moving on” with its vision to become “independent”.

Queen Elizabeth II on one of her six visits to Jamaica.

Similar to other Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth II was represented by Governor-General, who is appointed on the advice of Jamaica’s Prime Minister.

The Governor-General represents the monarch and gives formal approval to any laws passed before those they come into effect.

Many Caribbean states tend to associate the British Empire’s colonial legacies with exploitation and slavery.

On his visit to Jamaica, Prince William said acts of slavery “should never have happened” and “forever stains our history”.

“While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude.”

William, Prince of Wales

In the Pacific, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea are all part of the Commonwealth realms. But the shift towards a republic is less prominent.

In recent days, these three states have proclaimed King Charles III as their new sovereign.

When was the last time a country ditched the monarchy?

Barbados is the most recent country to separate from the British Empire by removing Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state.

However, it still remains part of the Commonwealth like other former British colonies including India, Singapore, and Kenya.

In a visit last year, then-Prince Charles acknowledged the country’s history of slavery, which he described as an “appalling atrocity”.

Barbados’ Presidential Inauguration Ceremony marks the birth of a new republic.

The Caribbean island has a stained history of slavery in which captured Africans were used in plantation fields.

It was first declared part of the United Kingdom in 1625 and became part of the transatlantic slave trade.

Under the current arrangement, Barbados’ Parliament chooses a president. The then-Governor-General of Barbados Sandra Mason, became the country’s inaugural president last year.

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”

sandra mason, president of barbados

Barbados became the first country to remove the British monarch as its head of state in nearly three decades.

It follows Mauritius choosing to part ways with its colonial past in 1992.

Sierra Leone, Malawi, Guyana, Uganda and Nigeria are also part of a suite of African countries to leave the monarchy from the 1960s onwards.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Bombshell pro-Russian video emerges from Australian Open

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A bombshell video has emerged of the father of tennis star Novak Djokovic, amplifying the Russian controversy the Australian Open

 
Djokovic’s father was seen posing for pictures with a group of Putin supporters after his son won against Russia’s Andrey Rublev, to qualify for his 10th semi-final.

Russian flags have been banned from the Australian Open, but that didn’t stop one fan.

A man was seen holding a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it and wearing a t-shirt with the pro-war ‘Z’ symbol on it.

Four spectators were questioned by police and evicted from Melbourne Park.

After losing her semi-final, Belarusian Viktoria Azarenka hit back at media when pressed on tennis’ relationship with Russia’s war on Ukraine.

She told reporters incidents like Novak’s father posing with Russian fans have nothing to do with players.

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World

FBI Director discusses classified documents as U.S. lawmakers demand answers

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Bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill as politicians say the Biden administration is stonewalling their quest for answers

FBI Director Christopher Wray is speaking out for the first time after several batches of classified documents were discovered in U.S. President Joe Biden’s Wilmington home and Washington think tank office.

On Thursday, Wray urged lawmakers and officials to be “conscious of the rules” when dealing with classified documents.

The statements appear to be a veiled criticism of President Biden after news broke that some of the classified papers in the President’s possession date back 14-years ago to when Biden was a Delaware Senator raising questions if this is a pattern for the president to mishandle classified information.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, there is bipartisan outrage as lawmakers say the Biden administration is stonewalling them in their quest for answers.

Currently, both Biden and former President Donald Trump are facing special counsel investigations into their mishandling of classified documents—and just this week, former Vice President Mike Pence turned over classified documents to the DOJ.

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World

Black box from Nepal plane disaster to be sent to Singapore

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The black box recovered from the January 15 Nepal plane crash in Nepal is being sent to Singapore for analysis

The aim will be to identify the cause of the Yeti Airlines crash that killed all 72 people on board.

Both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder will be examined by experts at Singapore’s Transportation Safety Investigation Bureau.

A government committee is still looking into the cause of the plane disaster.

It was initially suggested the black box be taken to France where the aircraft was manufactured, but Nepalese authorities decided to send it to Singapore.

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