Support for republic in Australia slumps: poll

25th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Support for Australia becoming a republic has fallen to a 17-year low, according to a poll published on Monday, just days ahead of Britain's royal wedding.

The Newspoll survey found that almost as many Australians wanted to retain ties to Britain's royal family as those who wanted independence, with support for severing links falling to 41 percent -- its lowest level since March 1994.

Only 25 percent of those polled were strongly in favour of a republic.

The number of those opposed to cutting the royal link had risen to 39 percent according to the poll of 1,201 people, published in The Australian newspaper, while one in five said they had no strong view either way.

Support for a republic was highest among those aged 35-49 and men were more likely to be in favour of independence than women.

Australians voted against becoming a republic in a 1999 referendum and support for independence peaked between 2000-01 at 52 percent. It has steadily ebbed ever since.

Despite Prince William being popular in Australia, 45 percent of those surveyed said they would support independence if he were king.

The young prince, who is to be married on Friday, was warmly received on two recent visits Down Under, where his late mother Diana was much loved, and monarchists believe his profile has boosted support for the royals.

"It's very very unlikely that we will see a plebiscite (on a republic) in the foreseeable future," said Philip Benwell from the Australian Monarchist League.

"When you just had the Queen and Prince Charles, they're both of an older generation. Now you've got Prince William he bridges that gap," Benwell told AFP.

"Prince William also bridges the gap between Charles and Diana. The republicans in many ways have missed the boat."

© 2011 AFP

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