No time Albo, for vanity issues

David Flint

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David Flint

1 October 2022

Polling, it has been said, is funded not to measure, but to shape public opinion. Obvious in the 2020 US election , there is little evidence of this in Australia. But as demonstrated here, the polls can be wrong as they were in agreeing on a 2019 Shorten ALP victory.

The government has not changed the agenda of a Voice referendum this term and a republic referendum in the ‘second or third term.’ But the insider view seems to be that the republic poll will be put off indefinitely.

As to both, the times will soon be hardly conducive to pushing vanity issues.

Determined to follow Europe’s disastrously increased reliance on so-called ‘renewables’ and with Biden’s inflation unleashed and exacerbated by Canberra’s underwriting of the premiers’ incomprehensible adoption of Beijing-style lockdowns, blindly supported by the mainstream media, it is likely the economy could soon be in trouble. This is despite the superb contribution of our despised CO2-emitting farmers and miners.

I recently reminded Tony Abbott in an interview on the new ADHTV platform that the politicians should have completed two things he had started.

First, they should have followed his much-lauded, commonsense, lockdown-free pandemic plan written as health minister. In fact, Abbott always knew more about pandemics than anybody in the ‘national cabinet’.

Second, had the Turnbull government included Abbott’s Senate-blocked environmental bill in the 2016 double dissolution, ‘Greens’ activists would not now be able to rely on Albanese’s destructive climate change legislation to block just about all major new mining and many agricultural and manufacturing projects.

With Australia not so much to be ruled but wrecked by the Albanese-Bandt-Teal Axis, few voters will be interested in either Voice or republic.

The early opinion polling we’re seeing typically overstates the Yes vote high tide in most referendums.

Prepare for this to recede when the bill is passed, and the No case is heard.

That’s why, after hearing outrage about the ACM-drafted 1999 No case, the ALP pushed through – with the Liberals asleep –the 2013 ‘garbage-tin amendment’ to the referendum law. This is to ensure the Yes/No booklet is likely to be thrown out, unread. So rather than sending it to each voter, one copy goes ‘to the householder’ even in a multi-voter dwelling, with Canberra claiming to do what it rarely does, save money. It isn’t. It’s to block information.

As to specific polls, Ipsos has not yet had one for the new reign. But it’s worth mentioning because of its long and balanced record in asking simply, ‘Do you think Australia should become a republic?’

In 2021 response was No by 40:34 with 26 per cent undecided. Among the 18-24, age group, republican support fell even lower to 26 per cent. Back in 1999, the overall response was Yes 59:41, a fall over time that is broadly reflected across the polls.

At this point, I should mention that from my observations, when a significant number of Yes and, importantly, most undecided respondents in early polls actually see the details and hear the arguments, they will change to No.

As to September polls under King Charles III, the Morgan Poll asked, ‘In your opinion should Australia remain a Monarchy or become a Republic with an elected President?’

The monarchy was favored 60:40 , among women 66:34 and with rusted-on Labor supporters, 58:42.

Note that this poll is about an elected president, the ARM’s current model. Although preselection is strictly controlled by politicians and the president is stripped of the reserve powers, the model is still rejected by the republican establishment (e.g. Paul Keating, Bob Carr, politicians, commentariat, etc) This is despite the official republican myth – at least after their 1999 loss – that the ‘direct-elect’ model would have easily won. I doubt this affected the poll as few respondents would have been reminded of the republican establishment’s negative views.

Another recent poll was by Compass Polling for the Menzies Research Centre. This shows support for ‘retaining the monarch as our head of the state’ at 57:43.

Using the words ‘head of state’ will record lower support for the monarchy, which is precisely why the ARM uses them. Not in the constitution, these words have a precise international legal meaning and were not in general use until the republicans cornered them. The meaning was a crucial issue in the referendum.

Briefly, the ARM’s strongest argument was and is that only in a republic can we have an Australian as head of state. ACM’s consistent argument, supported by expert constitutional and international legal advice and vice-regal practice is that we already have a head of state, the governor-general. Despite a few years after the referendum when an alternative monarchist group curiously took the republican position on this, the ACM view tends to prevail.

In another recent poll, Essential asked, ‘To what extent would you support or oppose Australia becoming a republic with an Australian head of state?’

Respondents said Yes to a republic 43:37 with 20 per cent undecided, curiously little different from January’s 44:34 poll.

Essential has hovered around much the same result since 2017 when, after private polling for ARM, their old question, ‘Are you in favor or against Australia becoming a republic?’ was replaced by the current one. ACM protested without reaction.

Another poll was by Resolve Political Monitor in the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s Age newspapers. After an inappropriate reference to head of state in their material, the core question was, ‘The real referendum vote question will force you to vote Yes or No. Even if it’s just a slight leaning or a guess right now would you vote yes or no to Australia becoming a republic?’

Although the reference to a forced vote is wrong, the reply was No, 54:46.Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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