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Australian leaders call for making the country a republic

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The leaders of seven of Australia’s eight states and territories have called for the country to become a republic, reigniting a thorny debate ahead of a national holiday on Tuesday.

Australia is a constitutional monarchy, with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as head of state. The role is largely ceremonial, but the monarch does have the power to dissolve parliament, as in 1975, when Queen Elizabeth sacked the government.

The question of Australia becoming a republic is a perennial debate that often crops up around Australia Day, the January 26 holiday that commemorates the start of British settlement.

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