In all the carry on about Prince Charles and Camilla, and the republican repeat of their tired 1999 argument that the marriage means we must change our constiution and our flag, it was refreshing to see the result of the Daily Telegraph Voteline yesterday. We reacted with the following release to the media:
26 March 2005
"Seventy five percent say the monarchy can remain relevant in Australia beyond the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. That is the opinion of those who replied to the telephone poll in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on 25 March. One hundred and fourteen people responded, which is not large, particularly when you consider that the Daily Telegraph enjoys the highest circulation of any newspaper in Sydney," said Professor David Flint, National Convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.
"But what else does the poll tell us? That outside of the chattering classes most Australians are happy with the constitutional system and the role of the Crown in it. These polls attract large responses on burning issues. When people are happy with the issue raised they do not vote. A poll taken in the Daily Telegraph tends to measure the real concerns of mainline Australia, just as talk back on commercial radio does, and in a way that a random opinion poll may not.( Of course they have their place, but not as infallible statements of public opinion). Perhaps the truth about Charles is getting through or even, may never have left mainstream Australia – that he remains a caring, witty man, with a wide range of interests, and he is not ambitious for power. As Prince, and having a distinguished record of service as a sailor and pilot in the defence forces, he could now relax and enjoy his days and perhaps even retire. But last year he worked hard, raising one quarter of a billion dollars for charity, mainly for underprivileged youth. A quarter of a billion dollars. If he were a pop star and raised a small proportion of that he would be praised around the world. If the public were informed more about what he actually does, rather then some of the malicious and patently untrue stories that are manufactured in the British press, his personal stocks would go through the roof. And as one talkback caller said recently, both Charles and Camilla are entitled, as is everyone else, to a little happiness in this world. Camilla, dignified, restrained, unaffected and witty, will grow in the public’s affection and understanding when they are married and she takes her role as Charles’ wife.
All Australians will wish them well.
What the Telegraph poll demonstrates is that mainstream Australia rejects the stale argument- the republicans tried it in 1999- that the marriage means we must radically change our constitution and our flag.
Until next time,