The reports in the Fairfax press last Sunday, 29 August 2010, have so upset the republican headquarters an order of the day has gone out to their letter writing group to send of letters to the press desperately trying to put a favourable slant on the poll which is, shall we say, loose with the truth.
You will no doubt recall the poll reported on 29 August under the following headlines: ” Republic takes a king hit” in The Sun Herald (29/8) and Josh Gordon’ s “Republican hopes take a king-hit,” in The Sunday Age (also 29/8), and Jessica Wright’s “Not ready for a republic? Well, we are amused” in The Sydney Morning Herald.
We reported the poll here.
As Josh Gordon put it, The Age/Nielsen poll “shows support for a republic is now running at 44 per cent. This is the lowest level since 1994, and well down from the peak of 57 per cent in 1999, the year the question was tested in a national referendum. The national poll of 1400 people found almost half (48 per cent) are now against the idea."
The report added, "Such a level of hostility has not been recorded since the late 1970s, when about 61 per cent were against a republic.”
James Jeffrey’s popular Strewth column in The Australian (30/8) told readers just what the republican movement is capable of:
WHAT a difference emphasis can make. Here's the headline and lead paragraph from a press release from the Australian Republican Movement that lobbed into our inbox yesterday:
"Neilsen poll says 2/3 of Australians want a republic . . . A poll published in The Sun-Herald today reported that support for a republic had slipped, even though, consistent with previous polls on this issue, at least 63 per cent of Australians support a republic, or around 2/3 of the population."
So let's go to the source, namely the original story in The Sun-Herald, and examine its headline and lead paragraph: "Not ready for a republic? Well, we are amused . . . Public support for a republic has slumped to a 16-year low with more Australians in favour of retaining the monarchy for now."
The republicans were well and truly caught out, as we reported here.
….give us one good reason….
On the following Sunday The Sun Herald (5/9) published three letters saying the poll meant that 63 per cent wanted a republic. Another correspondent, Andreas Jacobs of Tamworth, asked
Can those who support the concept of an Australian republic please deign to give those of us who don’t one tangible example of how being a republic will make daily life easier for the working Australian. Pompous statements about ’prolonged adolescence’ and ‘the full flower of independent adulthood’ mean nothing to those who are trying to make ends meet.
Then in The Sunday Age, Cedric Buck of Castlemaine wrote
… Perhaps it's better the devil we know…
ACCORDING to The Sunday Age, Australians are not as keen on a republic as we were a couple of years ago (''Republic hopes take a king-hit'', 29/8). This changing attitude might not however indicate that we are any more enamoured of the Queen or the regal system than we were. Perhaps we wonder what we'd get if we appointed our own head of state or, more likely, had one appointed for us by whichever boy's club was making decisions at the time.
After all, in Victoria we have an unelected premier who, in the company of a couple of mates, makes decisions related to planning or public works on our behalf behind closed doors and refuses to tell us how much the consequences of those decisions will cost us (for example, the desalination plant).
At the same time, he's entertaining people who can financially benefit from these decisions and seeking donations from them to enhance the finances of his own political party, with the intention of using that money to advertise that party [in order] to keep himself and his mates in power. Well, we wouldn't want an Australian head of state like that, would we?
God save the Queen!
….please resist presidential alternatives….
Ron Fischer of Sebastopol wrote:
PERHAPS the most encouraging news of last week was that headed in The Sunday Age, ''Republic hopes take a king-hit''. For all intents and purposes, Australia is already a republic with the governor-general an Australian now for decades. If the media has its way and we pass a referendum, what model would be adopted?
The American public is split down the middle with their ''popularly elected'' president. The US president is elected by far fewer than 50 per cent of the voters. The British monarch presides over the British Commonwealth of nations of which we are a part. The current monarch has held the position since 1952.
In that time, the US has had 12 presidents and are about to embark on the divisive process again. Please do not inflict that on us. You might be tempted to flirt with the French alternative, which has a rerun for the top two or three candidates three weeks after the initial poll if no candidate gets an absolute majority.
Then again, the African solution might seem attractive. The idea is that if you don't like the incumbent you shoot him and install your own man or woman. Let us adhere to what works for us.
…Time for some right royal reporting…
Harold Schmautz of Carnegie said:
SUPPORT for a republic has slumped to a 16-year low, with more Australians favouring retaining the monarchy for now. Does the new opinion poll mean that The Sunday Age will return to reporting in a fair and unbiased way on the Australian monarchy?