King Charles III is invoked to scare Australian voters

THE AUSTRALIAN Republican Movement yesterday attempted to sway undecided voters by declaring that a "no" vote in tomorrow's referendum would mean Australia's next head of state would be King Charles III.

Polls continue to suggest the likely defeat of the referendum proposing that Australia become a republic. But the expected outcome will be anything but a vote of confidence in the monarchy, according to analysis yesterday of an opinion poll which found that only a tiny proportion of people wanted to retain the Queen as head of state.

The analysis of a Newspoll survey that had "no" voters leading "yes" voters by 54 to 42 per cent, was published in a Sydney newspaper, the Daily Telegraph. According to the detailed breakdown, only 9 per cent of people who oppose a republic do so on the grounds that they support the monarchy. By far the biggest reason cited by those planning to veto the referendum was general satisfaction with the status quo.

A relatively small proportion, 16 per cent, said they would vote "no" because they wanted a republic with a president directly elected by the people, rather than one appointed by two-thirds of parliament, as is currently envisaged. Thirty-three per cent said there was too much uncertainty about the model of republic offered.

Malcolm Turnbull, the chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, said yesterday monarchists had refused to defend the monarchy. "The 'no' case has avoided the Queen," he said during a debate at the National Press Club in Canberra. "[Yet] they want to keep the Queen in our constitution. This is the love that dare not speak its name, if ever there was one."

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