Jamaica - republican claim much exaggerated
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 06 November 2011
The Jamaica Observer published the following letter in response to a claim by a prominent Jamaican republican that "75% of Australians voted to remove The Queen".

The letter was published under the headline "Many Australians support the monarchy".


Dear Editor,

In his proposal to convert Jamaica into a republic with an executive president, Dr Franklin Johnston in his column of October 28 said some 75 per cent of Australians voted to remove The Queen.

The only vote was in 1999, when only 42.6 per cent of voters indicated their support for the republicans' preferred model. (In Australia, the details of change must be on the table before we vote, not as in the blank cheque plebiscites British politicians use where the details are filled in after the vote.)

The republic was rejected in all states and 72 per cent of electorates.

Neither can Dr Johnston rely on opinion poll trends. Since 1999, support for a vague politicians' republic - we say we are already a crowned republic - has been falling and is below 38 per cent. This trend is reflected in two areas of crucial importance, the young and the immigrants.

Support can also be measured in terms of passion. The only demonstration constitutional monarchists have called was to protest against the expulsion of the governors from Sydney's Government House. It attracted 20,000 - one of the largest and peaceful demonstrations the city has seen. The recent farewell to The Queen in Perth attracted over 100,000 people. I am pasting below a photograph from Melbourne's Federation Square which demonstrates this support.

But when the often self-described "passionate" republicans called a highly promoted demonstration with celebrities during the referendum, only 70 attended, including the celebrities.

When they announced a barbecue on Bondi Beach as the culmination of their 2005 "Mate for a Head of State campaign", only 50 attended, including republican heavyweights.

As a leading republican newspaper lamented last Sunday, "The republic is dead; Long live The Queen."

David Flint

Emeritus Professor of Law