Australian Prime Minister supports severing ties with British Monarchy

By Sid Astbury

Sydney (dpa) – Prime Minister Julia Gillard was rapped Thursday

 for linking the future death of Queen Elizabeth II to constitutional

 change in Australia.

    Gillard, who supports severing ties with the British monarchy,

 said Australia should become a republic in the interregnum between

 the passing of one monarch and the coronation of her successor.

    “I think the appropriate time for this nation to move to be a

 republic is when we see the monarch change,” Gillard said. 

    “Obviously I’m hoping for Queen Elizabeth that she lives a long

 and happy life, and having watched her mother I think there’s every

 chance that she will,” she added.

    Ted Baillieu, the leader of the opposition Liberal Party in

 Victoria, described the link as unfortunate.

    “I think it’s an unfortunate reflection to consider the life of

 the queen now,” Baillieu said. “It’s not something I’d wish to do.”

    Liberal Party national leader Tony Abbot, Gillard’s opponent in

 parliamentary elections Saturday, wants the British monarch to remain

 Australia’s head of state “well into the future.”

    Queen Elizabeth II is represented locally by the governor general,

 who is appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of Australia’s

 prime minister.

    Gillard wants to replace the governor general with a president.

 The issue was taken to a referendum in 1999, which the republicans