Australian support for republic flags: poll

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Support for Australia becoming a republic has slumped to a 16-year-low, according to the results of a poll released Sunday which found that one-in-three people never want to break ties with Britain.

Asked whether Australia should become a republic, 48 percent of the 1,400 polled said they wanted to keep things as they are for now -- with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

While 44 percent said they supported a constitutional change at some point, the Nielsen poll published in The Sun-Herald found that this figure had dropped some eight percent since a 2008 survey.

Thirty-one percent said Australia should never become a republic while 34 percent said Australia should become a republic after the reign of the Queen, for whom Australians have an enduring affection, and 29 percent said they wanted a republic as soon as possible.

"These results suggest Australians will be more likely to support a republic when Queen Elizabeth II is no longer on the throne," Nielsen pollster John Stirton told the paper.

Australians voted against becoming a republic in a 1999 referendum and the issue has faded from the limelight since then.

The poll, conducted in early August, found that support for a republic is at its lowest level since 1994.

© 2010 AFP

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