Majority of Australians want monarchy to remain for now

Sunday, August 29, 2010

CANBERRA - A majority 48 percent of Australians have said that the country should retain the monarchy for now while 44 percent want a republic form of government, according to a Nielsen poll.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a majority of 34 per cent said Australia should become a republic only after Queen Elizabeth II’s reign ends.

However, 31 per cent said Australia should never become a republic and 29 per cent said that it should become a republic as soon as possible.

Backing for a republic is at its lowest since 1994 - five years before Australia had a referendum on the topic.

Nielsen pollster John Stirton said that despite the slump, there was a sense of inevitability Australia would one day become a republic with a large number backing Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s stance that the issue should be closely considered after a change of monarchy.

“These results suggest Australians will be more likely to support a republic when Queen Elizabeth II is no longer on the throne,” he added.

Australian politicians are divided over the republic issue. During the election campaign, Prime Minister Hulia Gillard echoed the sentiments of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, who said a republic was not a first-term priority and would only be considered after a monarch change. Gillard said a Labor government would work towards an agreement on the type of republic model, a sticking point in the 1999 defeat of the referendum, the paper reports.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who is an open monarchist along with his mentor and former leader John Howard, said Australians have shown little desire for change and added that he would not seek to put the republic question to a vote under a Coalition government.

“The Australian people have demonstrated themselves to be remarkably attached to institutions that work. I think that our existing constitutional arrangements have worked well in the past. I see no reason whatsoever why they can’t continue to work well in the future,” he said. (ANI)

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