TURNBULL: There won’t be any ‘momentum’ for a republic until the Queen’s reign is over

A referendum is unlikely while the Queen is still steering. Photo: Carl De Souza/ Getty Images.

Talk of a republic referendum has been thrown around this week, with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull saying that it will happen “when the time is right”.

In an interview with radio host John Laws on 2SM, Turnbull reiterated his position saying that the right time may be once the Queen’s reign is over.

“The issue with the republic is — I’m a republican as you know — to achieve that you need to change the Constitution, that is no mean feat,” he said.

“You need to ensure the next referendum is presented at a time that this is the right time to deal with the change.”

He said the movement would need to come from the public, with strong grassroots support.

“You won’t see that popular momentum until after the Queen’s reign.

“I know this from experience.”

Turnbull was a leading campaigner for change in the failed republic referendum of 1999.

“It’s easy to call for a referendum, it’s a lot harder to win one.

“To win you’d need to ensure you have overwhelming support.”

The topic arose because it’s the Queen’s 90th birthday today.

Turnbull recognised the great contribution the Queen has made for the country, and wished her a happy birthday.

This year the government’s gift is a donation to Royal Children’s Hospital foundation.