Support for Aussie republic slumps after Harry and Meghan visit

Sydney: Public support for Australia breaking its ties to the British monarchy has slumped following the triumphant visit Down Under by Prince Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan, according to a survey published Monday.

The Newspoll survey found only 40 percent of respondents favoured Australia becoming a republic, the lowest level of support in 25 years and 10 points down from a similar poll conducted before the royal couple’s October visit.

A total of 48 percent of the 1,800 people questioned said they opposed ending the colonial tradition of having the British monarch act as Australia’s head of state.

It was the first time since a 1999 referendum on the issue which maintained Australia’s status that supporters of the monarchy outnumbered republicans.

Australia’s opposition Labor Party, which is favoured to take power in the next national elections due by May, announced Monday that it would organise another plebiscite on becoming a republic if elected.

Monday’s poll indicated that bid would likely fail as it did in 1999.

The turnaround in public sentiment came after Prince Harry and Meghan spent two weeks touring Australia, New Zealand and Pacific islands in a tour that drew adoring throngs.

It was the first international tour for Harry and the American-born former actress since the couple were married in May, and began with the announcement that Meghan was pregnant.

She charmed crowds with a down-to-earth style which saw her halt the royal entourage several times to give shy toddlers a cuddle and bring home-made banana bread to an afternoon tea in the outback town of Dubbo.

[source_without_link]Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]