Republican ardour dims in Australia

Australians are even less inclined to clip their links to the British monarchy and dump
their governor-general than they were five years ago, according to an Australia
Day survey commissioned by
The Australian newspaper.

Less than half the 20 million population would support a constitutional change to
allow a local to take over as head of state and to get their own flag.Just 46 per cent want Australia to become a republic – the
lowest level of support since 1999 when a referendum on the issue was
soundly defeated.

Leading monarchist David Flint said the Newspoll survey didn’t
surprise him. “There’s been a trend over some time which indicates a
disinterest, I think, in the republic and a greater confidence among
Australians,” he said.

On Australia Day citizens across the country mark the anniversary
of the January 26, 1788, landing in Sydney of the first colonists
aboard the First Fleet from England.

It’s a public holiday although not everyone was celebrating the
anniversary of the start of colonisation. Aboriginal activist and
lawyer Michael Mansell and around 100 other demonstrators came together
for an Invasion Day rally.

“Australia Day celebrates the coming to power of whites over
blacks,” Mansell said. “Australia Day perpetuates the myth that
Australia was peacefully settled. It’s the equivalent of celebrating
the coming to power of the Nazis at the expense of the Jews.”