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Majority of Australians not convinced Prince Charles should be king, Vote Compass reveals

By political reporter James Glenday
There is limited support for Prince Charles taking over as King.  (AP: Aaron Chown)

A slim majority of Australians appear opposed to Prince Charles becoming king when Queen Elizabeth II dies, according to data from the ABC's Vote Compass.

The results suggest 29 per cent are not at all supportive of the Prince of Wales becoming the Australian head of state.

Twenty-four per cent are not very supportive, while only 11 per cent are very supportive.

Of course, voters do not get a choice in the matter.

Under the current Australian laws of succession, which are inherited from the United Kingdom, the throne will pass immediately to the heir upon the death of the monarch.

The coronation of a king or queen is a symbolic event, which usually occurs several months later, after a period of mourning.

"But this would be likely to give rise to legal disputes about changing the meaning of the term 'queen' in the constitution and it is unlikely that anyone would want to provoke that argument."

More Australians now support a republic

The Vote Compass data shows there has been a slight increase in the number of Australians who support becoming a republic since the 2019 election.

About 43 per cent of people strongly or somewhat agree that we should cut ties with the monarchy.

That's up from about 39 per cent in 2019 and about 37 per cent in 2013.

About a quarter of Australians say they are "neutral" on the topic and about 30 per cent somewhat or strongly disagree the nation should become a republic.

Support for the change is highest among people 65 and older, with a slim majority of older Australians appearing to support the idea.

The data also suggests Coalition voters are still more likely to support the monarchy than those who favour Labor and the Greens.

The overall results are similar to 2021 Vote Compass data from Canada, a country which also has the Queen as the head of state.

There, about 45 per cent of people were strongly or somewhat in favour of becoming a republic.

The number of Australians in favour of the country becoming a republic has grown since 2019.  (Reuters: Stefan Wermuth)

Republicans believe momentum for change will grow following the Queen's death.

The Queen has played a key symbolic role in Australian life for seven decades and her long reign is often cited as a reason we still retain our links to the crown.

"She is a most admirable person," Philip Benwell from the Australian Monarchist League said.

"For the whole of her life she has dedicated herself to service."

He said Prince Charles would become more popular in Australia when he took over as king.

Republicans say that's rubbish.

"Please! We are better than that" Peter FitzSimons from the Australian Republican Movement exclaimed.

"There are so many people that say, 'We are with you, but we are not with you until Her Majesty passes away and then we are absolutely with you.'"

Republic referendum not a focus at this election

But a referendum on a republic is not a focus of either major party at this federal election.

The Prime Minister's team declined to answer the ABC's questions about Scott Morrison's views on a republic, however, not long after taking over from Malcolm Turnbull in 2018 he stated: "I'm a constitutional monarchist, so the picture of the Queen is back up in the PM's office."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in 2018 he was a constitutional monarchist.  (AP: Dominic Lipinski)

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is a republican but Labor is no longer committed to holding a vote on the matter within its first term in office.

Instead, the party wants to prioritise a referendum to create an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

In a statement, the opposition's campaign headquarters said: "While constitutional recognition and a Voice to Parliament for First Nations people remain Labor's first priority for constitutional reform, it is important that all Australians have the opportunity to discuss and consider appointing an Australian head of state in the future."

"Each and every Australian, no matter their background, birthplace, gender or religion, should be able to aspire to be our nation's head of state."

Perhaps the lack of urgency is because a republic is not a front-of-mind issue for voters.

In the Vote Compass data, it barely registers among the top concerns.

No matter the outcome of this election, Australia seems set to maintain its links to the crown for the foreseeable future.

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