Australia’s new centre-left Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, on Tuesday (May 31) appointed his government, which includes an “Delegate Minister for the Republic”, in a country that is a monarchy under its Constitution. Matt Thistlethwaite, MP for Sydney, saw this award fall to him among others. This is a symbolic step for Australia towards an exit from the British monarchy, in full preparation in London for the jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Labor leaders had already promised in the past a referendum to undo the Queen of England as head of state of Australia. A promise that Mr. Albanese, a longtime Republican, refrained from repeating during the campaign.

This appointment was welcomed by the Movement for the Australian Republic which campaigns for an Australian head of state. “We’re on the way!” tweeted prominent Republican Peter FitzSimons. “For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, Australia has a member of government who is dedicated to removing the Crown and helping Australia become a republic,” the writer added.

In the past, Mr Albanese had described the country’s transition to Republican rule as “inevitable”. In 1999, a narrow majority of Australians (55%) opposed the move to a republic, following a disagreement over the method of electing the Queen’s replacement, who would have been chosen by Parliament and not by universal suffrage.