April 6

Republican leader revives long abandoned myth – shooting himself in the foot


In trying to ridicule the awards to the Governors-General and his predecessor, the Australian Republican Movement's executive director, David Morris, is pushing an obviously false claim.

This is that all polls for 30 years have shown the nation's youth are the most republican of all. They certainly do not – they show the opposite. We've listed just 15 below. 

Morris is actually reviving a myth about the nation's youth, one his predecessors long ago  dropped. And why did they do that?  They realised it was embarrassingly wrong, and not something they should draw attention to.  Doesn't he know this?


If Morris had read his own pollster – the one the ARM pays a lot of money for – as well as the string of polls we list below, he'd realise he was talking nonsense.  He should withdraw his claim. 

But Morris continued to claim this after a recent media appearance. It makes you  wonder about his dramatic claims that the restoration of knighthoods has had the dramatic effect on the membership of the ARM.He actually  claims a 5000% growth rate. 

Peter Fitzsimons agrees with me that these would probably be coming off a low base.  But 5000%?

…broadcasting his false claim…

ACM's young executive director Jai Martinkovits had said on 3AW on 26 March 2014 podcast 260314 that support for a politicians' republic among the young was low and that this was a time bomb for the republicans. David Morris responded to Jai's correct observation by this furphy:

"Young people are the most republican and Jai knows that every poll in the last 30 years has shown that."

When Jai protested David Morris shouted over him.

…the facts… 


So what are the facts? I was looking at a number of polls before the referendum. I noticed that whenever polls broke up the responses according to age, the result was a ''bell shaped curve.'' Support for a vague politicians' republic peaked with the middle-aged. Both the old and the young are less supportive.So I used this fact – republicans are not good in mastering facts – in responses in debates.

The republicans with typical arrogance thought they had the young, indigenous and immigrant in the bag. Typical was Senator  Susan Ryan's cruel but famous observation on the ABC that all the republicans had to do was wait until my generation ''dropped off the perch''.This got the laughs she hoped for . But it was so wrong.

Much later former  Attorney General's  Nicola Roxon issued the  barb that "no new monarchists are being born."  Like David Morris she hadn't bothered to check whether she did in fact have the nation's youth in the bag.

A passionate republican if ever there was one, almost her first act as A-G was to stop the appointment of Federal QC's who are rarely created anyway. 

The plain fact is that anybody who knows anything about this issue knows that the lack of support among the young is a time bomb for the Republican movement.  They would be wise not to mention the issue.





After the 3AW debate the presenter, Neil Mitchell read figures from a recent poll showing the youth a not the most republican. In fact there is a string of polls over the last few years which come to the same  conclusion.

But here's something surely Morris had read. 


 …the ARM's own pollster…

Morris's own pollster – the one the ARM commissions to do its polls – has come to the same conclusion we have. (ACM has never had the funds to commission a poll. And anyway, we think that the public do not take much notice of commissioned polls. A reason why the media should always reveal this and set out the actual question asked. In one recent ARM poll, the actual question was not even made public. Worse the media didn't demand this, in clear breach of Press Council guidelines.)

In its March 2012 report, the ARM's pollster UMR founds that the two middle-aged groups, the aged 30 to 49 (49%) and especially aged the 50 to 69 (55%) are demonstrably more Republic than those aged under 30 (45%).

Only those aged over 70 at 36% are even less pro- republican than the young. 

And that's not all.

…polling  expert…

 Peter Brent is one of the nation's most respected  commentators  on polling . He wrote about this issue  in his   authoritative ''Mumbles'' column  which is published on the site of the newspaper which led the Yes case in the media in 1999, The Australian, on 21 October 2011.

He was writing about a recent Newspoll on republicanism. Now because The Australian was the leader in the media of the campaign for Australia to become a politicians' republic, Newspoll has a long history of polling issue, rivalled only by Roy Morgan.

His comment was made in the context of all Newspolls from just before the referendum. He wrote ''the 35–49 group is most in favour'' of a republic  ''and support among the 18–34s is about the same as the 50+s''. 

 In other words the ''bell shaped curve''.

Something ACM has been speaking about for years. 


…a string of polls…

If Mr Morris wanted any more reading he should look at the selection below. It should be noted that this is only a selection and that further research could no doubt indicate many more polls on this issue.

The selection is:-

          ·           Newspoll 28 July 1999

·       Western Australian 2004

·       Morgan Poll 22 February 2005

·       Newspoll 26 January 2005

·       Newspoll 21 January 2005

·       West Australian 8 September 2006

·       West Australian  Youth Survey 2006

·       Australian Democrat Youth Poll 2008

·       Morgan Poll May 2008

·       Newspoll 25 April 2011

·       Eessential Poll to May 2011 (on Prince William)

·       Morgan polling survey 9 October 2011

·       UMR  March 2012

·       Vote Compass ABC 2013

·       REACHTEL Fairfax to February 2014


So does Jai Martinkovits know that every poll in the last 30 years has shown that the young are the most republican, as David Morris claims? Of course not.



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