Republicans confused
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 20 August 2009

“The latest opinion poll available to the republican movement shows 80% are in favour of Australian becoming a republic with its own elected head of state, whose role is symbolic and non-executive, similar to that of the Governor-General except that the powers, and responsibilities would be codified –written down for all to see-as it would also be for the first time for the Prime minister , to avoid a conflict when one or other claims to have a mandate, “ claims Brian Buckley of Wahroonga in a letter to the Sun-Herald of 16 August, 2009 (“Clashing Heads”). 

The 80% were not in favour of Australia becoming a republic. The question in the UMR online poll was “Suppose Australia did become a republic with a president as head of state, should the President be elected by the people or appointed by Parliament? “ .

In other words the question was about how the president should be chosen if, to repeat, if, we were a republic.

Image
[ Confusion of Tongues, Gustave Doré ]




....what the poll actually found....




The poll actually found 52% in favour of a vague republic, compared with the latest Morgan Poll and Newspoll at  45%. (Polls taken before a referendum campaign typically show much higher support than in the actual vote.)

On the basis of his complete misunderstanding of the poll, Mr. Buckley says “We in the republican movement ask the Prime Minister to give us this referendum this year, so as not to clash with the general election.

But at a recent Senate Inquiry, the republican movement said they fully supported a plebiscite to be held with the election.



....right of reply... 

   I sent this letter to The Sun-Herald: 

“Mr Brian Buckley (letters 16/9 )  is wrong to say the latest  UMR poll shows 80% in favour of a republic with a directly elected president. The question was about how the president should be chosen if we were already a republic.

“The poll found 52% support and not 80% for becoming some sort of republic. This compares with 45% in the last Newspoll. The latest Morgan Poll found 45% support for a republic with a directly elected president.

“Mr. Buckley says the republican movement wants a referendum this year to avoid a clash with the election. But the ARM leader told a Senate inquiry recently they supported a plebiscite to be held with the election.

“This is all rather confusing.”