Last Friday, Channel 7 asked me to comment on a poll taken by Hawker Britton. There were three questions.
The first was:
Do you think it’s time for Queen Elizabeth to step down or abdicate in favour of Prince Charles?
The results were No 51%, Yes32%, Unsure 17%.
In the country, the Yes vote was 35%. Of those aged under 30, it was 37%, and of those aged over 65, the Yes vote was 25%.
The second question asked:
Who should succeed Queen Elizabeth to the throne?
The results were Prince Charles 37%, Prince William 44% , Neither 7% and Unsure 12%.
Males preferred Prince Charles, 40:35, as did those aged over 65, 42:37, and those with a household income over $80,000, 55: 25.
Those groups preferring Prince William were women, 52:34, rural and regional, 50:33, those aged less than30, 52:30, those aged between 30-49, 48:38and all income groups under $80000.
The final question was:
In your opinion should Prince Charles marry Camilla Parker-Bowles?
The result was Yes 39%, No 27%, with Unsure 34%.
The strongest Yes vote was in provincial towns, 54%.
I said that in my opinion The Queen should not abdicate, and I did not think she would. I pointed out that The Queen has a very strong sense of duty and of her accountability before God. Unlike the present fashion, she does not announce from the rooftops that she is “passionate” about this. (Why, oh, why do some republicans have to tell us they a “passionate” republicans? I have asked journalists not to describe me a “passionate” monarchist. So far, no one has.)
But if you read her few statements touching on this, you will find, I believe, a very sensible, and dedicated lady. She has a very strong sense of duty. I pointed out that no “golden handshake” or superannuation had been set aside for The Queen. In fact we Australians have never paid Her Majesty even a brass razoo! For the benefit of our overseas readers, I should explain that a brass razoo is Australian slang for a non existent coin of trivial value. Razoo may come from ‘raspberry’ in the sense of ‘blowing raspberries’ that is making an offensive sound with the lips to indicate disapproval. Some suggest a more vulgar meaning, one which rhymes with raspberry tart, which I shall not go into.
In any event we have never paid The Queen for being our Sovereign for more than half of the life of our Commonwealth of Australia-during which time she has never once put a foot wrong.
Now opinion polls have all the weaknesses of plebiscites. As someone said, an opinion poll is an answer a person is willing to give to a question uninvited asked without notice and on which the respondent has had no opportunity to reflect not or to seek to be informed. In an opinion poll, the answer depends very much on the form of the question. No wonder that some republican now want a series of plebiscites, that is national opinion polls of all electors paid for by-you guessed it – the taxpayer! This time ,why don’t they fund these themselves?
I also said that of course Charles should succeed to the throne-that is the law. This could only be changed after a consensus emerged among the Realms, including Australia .Prince Charles is dedicated and performs superbly through the Princes trust in raising extraordinary simus for very worthy causes. And how unfair it would be to Prince William. In any event, all the indications are the Queen will reign for many years. Although one interpretation on the programme was the inexplicable suggestion that the results augured poorly for the future of the monarchy, the fact is that only 7% reject either Charles or William as King. Does this mean that 93% are happy with one or the other being King of Australia? Hence my headline. As for Charles and Camilla marrying, opposition is low-27%. I suspect most Australians think this is a matter for them. The approval of The Queen would be necessary, a matter on which The Queen would be advised by her ministers.
How refreshing it was not to have yet another poll about a republic. The fact that Australians are happy to see the monarchy continuing is reassuring indeed.
Until next time,