Harry's identity crisis

Arriving at London's Heathrow Airport and finding that as an Australian he was classified as an ``other'' was a signal moment in Dr Harry Cooper's understanding of Australia's ties with Britain.

``I went to England when I was 25 when we looked to `the mother country' and at the airport we were classified with Commonwealth countries,'' he said.

Twenty years later, the TV vet went back to England to find that Heathrow Airport arrivals were either citizens of the UK, Europe or Other.

``Britain has severed its ties with us by calling us ``other'', he said.

Yesterday, the Australian Republican Movement appointed Dr Cooper as an ambassador for the republic and a prominent member of the ``yes'' coalition in Tasmania.

Exchanging his signature cloth cap for a republican-logo baseball cap, Dr Cooper said the republic ``sits comfortably on my head''.

``I'm proud to be Australian, proud of my country, but we need our own identity.

``This is a wonderful time in our history and a time when we need to go forward,'' Dr Cooper said.

``Australians should recognise and appreciate the history that has shaped our country, the peaceful evolution of Australia to an independent republic was a natural, forward step in nation building. We need to enter the new millennium with a recognisable Australian as our head of state.''

As an ambassador for the republican movement, Dr Cooper will be involved in the escalating publicity campaign leading to the referendum to be held in five weeks'.

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