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Support for an Australian republic at its lowest in years

With the reintroduction of Knight and Damehoods in Australia in the recent weeks, and a visit from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince George, Australia is talking all things royal.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in Canberra

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in Canberra

A poll conducted by Fairfax media put the question to Australians: “Do you support Australia becoming a Republic?” The results came back and, surely, they ruffled the feathers of republicans across this great country.

Support for the Abolition of the Australian Monarchy was at its lowest point in 22 years, with 41% saying they would vote to abolish the Monarchy, 51% supporting the monarchy, and 9% undecided or uninterested.

Far from being a background issue, the Republic vs Monarchy debate has been gaining momentum with a large number of recent events linked to the Australian Monarchy.

Most recently was the issue dusted off when former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce made comments that seemed to show her favouring a Republic in the future, despite being Her Majesty’s representative.

Although support of the Monarchy is up, the reintroduction of Knighthoods was looked upon less favourably with 50% saying they didn’t support it.

Support of the Monarchy seems to stem from admiration of Her Majesty The Queen, as many Australians have spent their entire lives with The Queen as Head of State. In fact, thousands came out to see The Queen and her husband Prince Phillip on their visit in 2011 for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

I asked some local residents from Canberra, the Nation’s Capital, what they thought of the Republic vs Monarchy debate.

Stevie Pedemont of Canberra said: “I am a modern girl, but I believe in keeping some traditions alive.”  Stevie (22) seems to follow the trend of the poll that shows Gen Y are the most in favour of the continuance of the Monarchy.

“I don’t know; I would need more information,” was the undecided answer from Brylee Crowe. Ms Crowe is not alone in the undecided group, with 9% of Australians unsure how they would vote if a referendum was called.

When I asked Russell Jackson what he thought of the Royal Tour, he had this to say: “I don’t think the people going out to see them are going because they’re royalty. I think they’re going more because of their celebrity status. They’re more interested in seeing someone famous.”

For its part, the Australian Republican Movement Facebook page has posted statuses slamming the idea of a monarchy in Australia and New Zealand like, “Of course Australians warmly welcome tourists, but don’t mistake a welcome for allegiance.”

Another, with reference to an article in the New Zealand Herald by Morgan Godfrey, quotes, “The Monarchy has lost its meaning. It’s a celebrity tour and a colonial hangover.” The comment soon elicited comments from its ‘likers’; one in particular caught my eye.

Mark Hyde wrote, “Some tourists with their baby are not going to dampen the spirit of republicanism….but he is cute…damn!! lol :),’ which goes to show even republicans are swept up by the dapper Prince who steals the show everywhere he goes.

Fortunately for monarchists, it seems the Australian Monarchy will remain, and I am certain this won’t be the last time we hear about Monarchy vs Republic.

photo credit: KMJPhotography Australia via photopin cc

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