Prince William to meet Aussie PM

SYDNEY: Prince William will meet Prime Minister Kevin Rudd when Queen Elizabeth II's grandson visits Sydney this week, the Australian leader and avowed republican said Monday.

The 27-year-old, who is second in line to the throne, arrives in Sydney from New Zealand on Tuesday for a three-day tour -- his first since he came to Australia as an infant with his parents in 1983.

"The prince and I are visiting a youth homeless centre together later this week," Rudd told reporters.

"I look forward to having a conversation with him."

During his tour, Prince William is set to visit a deprived Aboriginal neighbourhood in inner Sydney and bushfire-ravaged zones outside Melbourne.

The young prince is expected to be warmly received in Australia, a former penal colony which remains a constitutional monarchy with the British sovereign as its head of state.

The centre-left Rudd has said he supports a republic but that scrapping the monarchy is not a top priority for his government.

Ahead of meeting Queen Elizabeth last year, Rudd told the BBC that "Her Majesty is well loved in Australia and Australia will become a republic and we'll have a referendum in due season".

In 1999, voters rejected a referendum promoting a model for an Australian republic.