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Aussie republicans claim not to be afraid of Tony Abbott

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  • Aussie republicans claim not to be afraid of Tony Abbott

    If it weren’t for their adherence to an obscure ideology, one could feel sorry for the Australian republicans.

    It was only on 26th July 2013 that David Morris, national director of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) told AAP (published in The Australian):
    “... when we try and talk about Australia (and a republic) the media has no interest."

    Morris said: "It's very depressing."
    A month later he gave another interview to AAP published by Ninesmn on 26th August, Abbott 'won't set backrepublican cause' , this time to claim:
    “The head of Australia's republican movement says the cause would not be hurt by Tony Abbott, a monarchist, becoming prime minister.
    “If the polls are right, a man who once headed Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy is on track to become the next prime minister.
    “But Australian Republican Movement national director David Morris says Mr Abbott's potential elevation to the top job would be unlikely to set back the cause of constitutional change."
    By this claim Mr Morris contradicts the July article, where The Australian published these figures:
    “In the early 1990s some 70 per cent of Australians wanted a republic while 30 per cent were monarchists.
    “But since the failed 1999 referendum, support for a republic has dropped to about 40 per cent.”
    In January 2013 The Age quoted Mr Morris with these remarks:
    "The Australian Republican Movement's national director, David Morris, said republicanism had been off the agenda since the referendum because of a ''complete lack of political leadership''.

    "Mr Morris said the movement was launching a new campaign, with the slogan ''Our identity: who do we want to be?'' and would focus on Australians ''growing up'' and gaining their independence."
    Did anybody take notice of the ARM’s identity campaign? It left no impact here. The ARM launched the campaign in October 2012 in Hobart and went public with an ARM sponsored opinion poll that hardly showed their strength. The Age reported under the headline Republic? Young want to keep it in the (royal) family:
    "They were the hope of the republican side - confident young Australians with weak emotional ties to Britain increasingly taking over from ageing monarchists and putting the next referendum on the issue beyond doubt. It hasn't quite worked out that way.
    "Research commissioned by the Australian Republican Movement shows that 45 per cent of Australians under 30 want a republic - fewer than any other age group apart from those 70 or over. Strongest support, at 54 per cent, is among baby boomers, particularly men.
    "Moreover, young people are much more positive towards the Queen. As one young participant in a focus group put it, she is ''like a mother figure''. If Australia became a republic, ''we'd feel as though we'd lost a family'', said another.
    "Nevertheless, he concedes that the research is sobering. Or, in the words of UMR Research, which did the polling, ''the Australian Republican Movement's task is massive''.
    The research shows that while 48 per cent of voters overall favour a republic, only 18 per cent are strong supporters. The same proportion rate the issue as very important, but they are more likely to be monarchists than republicans. As UMR put it, ''As passion grows, republican support declines.''
    It is more likely, that David Flint’s remarks on Tony Abbott are closer to reality and the improbability of any republican progress under a possible Prime Minister Tony Abbott. He wrote:
    "On Wednesday afternoon, instead of prepping for the debate, writes Mark Baker in The Age 24 August, 2013 (Tony) Abbott took himself to the northern outskirts of Brisbane to mingle with members of the Pine Rivers Memorial Bowls Club. He thoughtfully brought a framed portrait of the Queen to replace the one that went missing during renovations a couple of years ago.

    ''The monarch is a great symbol of unity. The Crown has served us well,'' said Tony Abbott, as the bowlers voted with applause."
    But an election is only finished, when the last votes are counted. And referenda are not won by the assertion of either side, that they have a majority only because one of their numerous self-organised opinion polls claim they'd had a majority.