Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday proposed that her country turn into a republic at the time of succession to Queen Elizabeth II in Britain.

She set this timeline while responding to a question in a network interview, a transcript of which was released by the ruling Australian Labour Party.

Heading towards the final lap on the campaign trail for Saturday general election, Ms. Gillard said: “I am someone who supports a republic for Australia. I also understand that there is a great deal of affection for Queen Elizabeth. So … the appropriate transition point would be when there is the move to a new monarch [in Britain]. Now, obviously, I am wishing Queen Elizabeth a long, healthy, happy life. And, if she is anything like her mother, she certainly is going to live a long, happy, healthy life.”

Asked the reason for the timeline, instead of pressing for that now itself, Ms. Gillard said “the move to a new monarch” in Britain would be “the appropriate transition time.” She did not budge when told that Queen Elizabeth II “is even expecting us [Australians] to be a republic”.

On the “central” issue before the voters, she said the election “is about who is best positioned to run our $1.3-trillion economy”. She was, therefore, consistently calling for “an economic debate” with Tony Abbott, opposition Liberal candidate for Prime Minister.

Ms. Gillard is seeking a mandate in her own right after unseating Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister in a political coup within their Labour party.

More In: International | News