The republic debate is 'off the table' in Australia – according to unsurprising advice from the Foreign Office to the UK government
The reports were compiled in September and November – immediately before and after the Queen and Prince Philip's 11-day visit to Australia – and obtained by AAP (News 26/11)under the freedom of information law.
"It is clear that the debate about Australia becoming a republic is off the table for the present," the later report says. It says that the royal wedding and visits by the Queen and Prince William have “killed off any chance Australia will become a republic in the near future.”
…republic support has been trending down for years…
But as was demonstrated in the Roy Morgan Research tabled at ACM's national conference in October, just before the royal tour, support for a vague and undefined politicians’ republic has been trending down for years and support among the young is particularly feeble. It is a mistake to think that the royal wedding and the Royal visits have suddenly changed the people's opinion. They have confirmed it.
It is surprising to think that the Foreign Office would incline to this rather superficial view that "In the longer term, demographic change is reducing the number of Australians who feel a natural tie to the UK, and many Australians feel becoming a republic is a natural part of maturing as a country."
Actually the Morgan survey suggests otherwise. In-depth polling taken by the no case at the time of the referendum demonstrated that it is a mistake to assume that immigrant communities are all strongly republican. Indeed some communities – and certainly individuals from them – show strong support for the constitutional monarchy. (I have seen that in my own family.)
This reflects a real problem for diplomats, who spend a vast amount of time speaking to the elites. Perhaps they should spend more time speaking to rank-and-file Australians perhaps they should spend more time speaking at a rank and file Australians.
…republican chief still peeved…
Sidelined by the government who refuse adamantly to touch the issue with a bargepole, the republican movement’s chief Michael Keating denied the idea the debate was dead."I can assure UK citizens that the desire for Australia becoming a republic is still extremely strong," he told AAP, clearly rattled by the movement's increasingly irrelevance since the 1999 landslide.
…republican support feeble…
This is not so. So few Australians feel strongly about a politicians’ republic the movement have never been able to bring out anything but an embarrassingly small number of supporters. There is no passion there – even if republican celbrities used to insist almost endlessly how 'passionate' they were. You don't hear that much these days.
This contrasts with the over the 20,000 Australians in Macquarie Street Sydney who responded to ACM’s call to protest against the New South Wales Premier Bob Carr's unpopular attempt to expel future governors from their purpose built home, Sydney’s Government House.
Rather than trying to explain just what his movement proposes as Australia’s new constitution and new flag, the republican chief claimed the visits by the Queen and Prince William had been designed to bolster support for the monarchy.
He clearly has not overcome his displeasure at Prince William’s 2010 tour asshown above. He peevishly claimed that the “Windsor family” is in the process of ” a very well orchestrated attempt to reinvent themselves around the world."
Perhaps he should just tell the people what exaclty he wants why it will be better.