Sydney Harbour Bridge illuminated in 'royal purple' - as the Australia debates axing the Queen

The light show follows calls for a Republic across Australia following the election of a new Prime Minister

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge has been illuminated in a '"royal purple" light to mark the Platinum Jubilee of the country's Head of State.

Australia's 31st Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese was appointed earlier this month, sparking talks of a referendum to remove her Majesty as Head of State.

Mr Thistlethwaite was sworn in by the newly elected Labor government as assistant minister for the republic on the eve of the Jubilee and said the occasion gave Australians food for thought about the country’s future.

In a statement, Mr Thistlethwaite said: “As the Queen comes to the twilight of her reign, we can appropriately – and we should — pay respect to her for the wonderful job that she’s done.

“But Australians are now beginning to start to think about what comes next for our country. And I think it’s time that we start the serious conversation once again about what comes next for Australia after Queen Elizabeth’s reign ends.

Anthony Albanese lit the beacon in Canberra
Anthony Albanese lit the beacon in Canberra

“Australia is an independent nation. We have our own unique identity and culture. Each and every Australian, no matter their background, birthplace, gender or religion should be able to aspire to be our nation’s head of state.

Sydney Harbour Bridge illuminated in "royal purple"
Sydney Harbour Bridge illuminated in "royal purple"

“My role is very much one of education in the initial stages: explaining to people that we do have a foreign monarch as our head of state, we have a proxy representative in the Governor-General, but that we can have an Australian as our head of state.”

Mr Albanese's government has informally pledged to deliver a referendum on a republic in its next term if it wins a second election.

The newly elected government are currently prioritising a referendum for constitutional recognition of the country's Indigenous peoples.

The Queen is Australia's Head of State
The Queen is Australia's Head of State

The Australian Prime Minister ignited Jubilee celebrations across Australia by lighting a beacon to the Queen, in the country's capital, Canberra.

Over 2,000 beacons were lit around the UK and Commonwealth to mark the Queen's 70-year reign.

Mr Albanese, whose party secured a small majority to form government earlier this month, praised the Queen’s visits to Australia and said she had been “a rare constant, an enduring, inspiring… presence of calm, decency and strength”.

Controversially he added how the relationship between Australia and the UK “is no longer what it was at the dawn” of the Queen’s reign.

“No longer parent and young upstart, we stand as equals. More importantly, we stand as friends,” he said in his Jubilee speech.

Sydney Harbour Bridge is among more than 80 famous landmarks, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which lit up in purple for the length of the Jubilee celebrations.

In Sydney, the bridge, Luna Park and other buildings around the harbour were synchronised in a lighting display on Thursday as ferries on the water sounded their horns in “seven minutes for seven decades” to kickstart the illuminations.

While the Australian Republic Movement welcomed the creation of Mr Thistlethwaite’s new position, the Australian Monarchist League criticised the move and complained about the Jubilee celebrations.

The group took to Twitter, saying the celebrations showed “a clear lack of respect for the Australian people” and, amid a notable lack of community-hosted Jubilee events, accused the new government of banning the public from the official events.