SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Campaigners pushing for Australia to become a republic are hoping President Clinton may be able to give them a hand.

Ahead of Saturday's referendum on whether to remove the British monarch as head of state, republicans have shot a TV commercial using 1996 footage of Clinton addressing Queen Elizabeth as ``the Queen of Australia.''

Republican campaigner Jason Li said the commercial, which was to begin airing Wednesday, aimed at highlighting what republicans consider the absurdity of having the queen as head of state.

``If we vote yes on Saturday we will no longer have to suffer the embarrassment of having to toast the British monarch as our head of state, when we could easily have an Australian citizen who represents the real heart and soul of the nation,'' Li said.

If voters choose to turn Australia into a republic, parliament will elect a president to replace the queen as head of state.