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Australian support for republic at new low: poll
AFP on Yahoo ^ | 5/9/08 | AFP

Posted on 05/09/2008 7:59:23 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

SYDNEY (AFP) - The number of Australians who want to replace the monarchy with a republic has fallen to its lowest level in almost 15 years, according to a poll published Thursday.

Only 45 percent of Australians favoured scrapping the monarchy for a republic, although the figure rose sharply when respondents considered the prospect of Prince Charles taking the throne, according to the poll from Morgan Research.

Pollster Gary Morgan said support for a republic featuring a popularly-elected president was the lowest since former prime minister Paul Keating raised the issue of dumping Queen Elizabeth II in December 1993.

Morgan said the number of respondents backing a republic had fallen six points since February 2005, even though Australians last November elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who describes himself as a "life-long republican."

He said the figures showed that Australians were more concerned with issues that directly impacted on their livelihoods than cutting links with former colonial ruler Britain.

"Kevin Rudd and his republican colleagues should forget about changing the constitution over the next few years and concentrate on making sure working Australians can survive with higher interest rates and higher prices," Morgan said.

Establishing a republic was one of the main suggestions to emerge from a brain-storming session of 1,000 prominent Australians in Canberra last month organised by Rudd to generate ideas for his centre-left Labor government.

Morgan's poll found that support for the monarchy had risen two points to 42 percent since February 2005.

However, the figure dropped sharply to 32 percent when respondents were asked how they would view the monarchy if Prince Charles took the throne, with 56 percent supporting a republic.

A referendum on becoming a republic failed in 1999 after the-then prime minister John Howard campaigned strongly against the move.


TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: australian; republic; support

1 posted on 05/09/2008 7:59:23 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

How would Australia’s government change if it were to dump the monarchy?


2 posted on 05/09/2008 8:03:48 PM PDT by pnh102 (Save America - Ban Ethanol Now!)
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To: NormsRevenge

I actually kind of like the idea of having a figurehead to represent the country. When we think of England, we think of the Queen, not Tony Blair. But when other countries think of the US, they think of Bush, and they think less of Americans, rightly or wrongly. I wouldn’t support having such an arrangement here, but in the UK, Canada, and Australia, it might not be a bad idea to keep the Queen around.


3 posted on 05/09/2008 8:06:24 PM PDT by Bastiat_Fan (Please don't call me a PaulTard... Surrender Monkey is so much more pleasing to the ears!)
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To: pnh102

I suspect little if any.. It’s a symbolic thing, linking and re-invoking the legacy and lengths to which ‘The Empire the Sun never set on’ spanned.


4 posted on 05/09/2008 8:08:20 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE toll-free tip hotlineĀ—1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRget!!!)
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To: Bastiat_Fan
here's a figure head and royal family.... the Kennedy's...just ask the MSM.
5 posted on 05/09/2008 8:13:24 PM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck....... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.,)
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To: Bastiat_Fan
here's a figure head and royal family.... the Kennedy's...just ask the MSM.
6 posted on 05/09/2008 8:13:24 PM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck....... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.,)
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To: Dick Vomer

Like I said, I wouldn’t support anything like that here, but just look at how much fun we had when the King of Spain met Chavez


7 posted on 05/09/2008 8:24:37 PM PDT by Bastiat_Fan (Please don't call me a PaulTard... Surrender Monkey is so much more pleasing to the ears!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Here’s something the Australians might not have considered.

Why not replace the English monarch with an Australian one?

That is, since the monarch has no authority in Australia, why not elect a king and queen every couple of years, as people who represent Australia.

Their purpose would be as official “greeters” to important visitors, making tourism commercials, and generally act as the focal point of the things Australia wants to show off.

Put them in a “palace”, a trade center showing Australian products and corporations, along with interesting cultural stuff.


8 posted on 05/09/2008 8:33:36 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: pnh102
How would Australia’s government change if it were to dump the monarchy?

Well about 30 years ago the Governor General (the Queen's Representative), kicked out the elected Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, who was hard left. He continued to have a majority in parliament, as I remember. That couldn't happen in a Republic.

9 posted on 05/09/2008 8:33:48 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (All of this has happened before, and will happen again!)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

I nominate Nick Tate for King.


10 posted on 05/09/2008 9:09:28 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: pnh102; NormsRevenge
How would Australia’s government change if it were to dump the monarchy?

That would depend on the model of republic adopted - it's precise features.

Australia's status as a Constitutional Monarchy is not purely symbolic, although the symbolism is certainly important to a lot of people.

The Queen of Australia actually has an immense amount of power under the Australian Constitution, powers which would normally be exercised by her representative, the Governor-General of Australia. These powers are typically referred to as the 'reserve powers' and are very rarely exercised. However, they are very real and exist to deal with constitutional crises.

These powers have been used twice in Australia's history - once at a state level, and once at a national level, and both cases illustrate the importance of the monarchy in Australia. In both cases, the powers were used to end constitutional crises that had been created by socialist governments attempt to exceed their legal authority.

In 1931 and 1932, the socialist Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, initiated what he called the Lang Plan to deal with the impact of the Great Depression in his state. Among its provisions, he decided that the New South Wales government would no longer pay its debts to foreign entities - most notably the British government and British banks.

He didn't have the power to make that decision - the Constitution gave the Commonwealth government responsibility for state debts, and they ordered Lang to pay up. In response, Lang withdrew all state funds from the bank and placed the cash under armed guard at New South Wales' Trade Union headquarters.

The King's representative, Governor Sir Philip Game informed Lang that his actions were illegal and unconstitutional - and when Lang refused to correct his actions, Sir Philip withdrew Lang's commission as Premier, sacked the New South Wales government, and appointed the Leader of the Opposition Caretaker Premier on condition he immediately call an election (which the Opposition won). The crisis was resolved by the use of the reserve powers.

In 1975, the socialist Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam had, because of a series of political maneuvers by the opposition, lost control of the Senate. As he still controlled the House of Representatives, he was able to remain in government, but the Australian people were deeply disatisfied with that government because of a series of scandals. The opposition decided to use their control of the Senate to 'block supply' - they refused to pass the budget or any other money bills unless Whitlam agreed to call an early election. The government was about to run out of money, and Whitlam's only proposed solutions were illegal (he intended to order the banks to loan the government money to continue operating). The Queen's representative, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, attempted to mediate the crisis, but ultimately, on 11th November 1975, he withdrew Whitlam's commission as Prime Minister, dismissed the government and commissioned the Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister on condition he ask for an immediate general election (which the opposition won in a landslide).

The point is, the reserve powers of the Crown have proven to be of critical importance in resolving constitutional crises. They are not used very often, but they are of value and they are not just symbolic (Whitlam, in particular, made the mistake of thinking they were).

Now - how much Australia's government would change if Australia became a republic does depend on the model adopted, but most models involve the Governor-General being replaced by an elected President. And that would have very real implications for our system of government. Because once the people in that position had to run for election, we'd only ever have politicians in that position. And that would mean the position would become very political.

Sir John Kerr, the Governor-General who dismissed Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister was a personal friend of Whitlam's and was a socialist. But even so, he dismissed Whitlam - because he was also a former judge (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales) who had spent his entire life serving the constitution. He put the constitution above his personal friendships - and above his political beliefs. It is critical that the Governor-General be a person who will do that. We don't want a politician in the role - we want a man of character and commitment to the constitution. And, yes, sometimes a politician can be a man of character - and several have been Governor-General - but we don't want it to become a political office.

I'm a Monarchist for a few reasons. The first is our current system has given Australia 107 years of stable government and that is something that should not be messed with lightly. The second is that I don't want to see a politician with their hands on the reserve powers, and I don't want to see the reserve powers disappear.

But finally, and most importantly, I swore an oath when I took the Queen's Commission - to be ever faithful and to bear true allegiance to my Queen. And I take an oath seriously.

11 posted on 05/09/2008 9:15:32 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

It has been considered. The major problem with it is, we’d never get agreement on who should take the role.

For reasons I’ve just outlined in a longer post, a lot of us don’t want an elected person in the role either - that would politicise it.


12 posted on 05/09/2008 9:17:10 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
Just to elaborate on a few points:

Why not replace the English monarch with an Australian one?

We have - Australia is reigned over by Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.

Yes, it's the same person as the Queen of the United Kingdom, but legally, we're dealing with a separate entity.

That is, since the monarch has no authority in Australia, why not elect a king and queen every couple of years, as people who represent Australia.

The Monarch does have authority in Australia. Immense authority, actually. She can dismiss and appoint a government, at will, for example. If she wanted to.

A representative of the Queen, the Governor-General is appointed, to represent Her within Australia, and Australia overseas.

13 posted on 05/09/2008 9:24:37 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla

November 11th, 1975 - Whitlam had lost control of the Senate, but still had a majority in the House of Representatives at the time of his dismissal until Parliament was dissolved a few hours later.


14 posted on 05/09/2008 9:26:03 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

I appreciate the additional details, which were sadly underreported in the US.


15 posted on 05/09/2008 9:38:11 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (All of this has happened before, and will happen again!)
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