SYDNEY (AFP) — Most Australians want to dump the monarch as head of state and become a republic, an opinion poll showed Tuesday.
Fifty-two percent support a republic, 40 percent do not and eight percent are undecided, the Herald/Nielsen poll of 1,400 voters showed.
The poll comes as the government and official opposition are both led by republicans for the first time in the history of this former British colony.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who ousted royalist John Howard in elections last November, describes himself as "a lifelong republican".
The new leader of the opposition, former merchant banker Malcolm Turnbull who took over the Liberal Party from a royalist last week, led a push for a republic nearly 10 years ago.
A referendum on the issue was held in 1999 and republicans lost. Since then, the issue has been largely shelved while the popular Queen Elizabeth II remains on the throne.
But opinion polls have shown that if her heir-apparent, Prince Charles, is crowned, support for a republic with an Australian head of state would surge.
Turnbull said after his election as party leader that he would not push for a republic until the 82-year-old queen was no longer on the throne.
"We cannot have a successful referendum on the republic during the queen's reign," he said.
"In '99, I said if you vote no it means no for a long time, and the next chance will come after the queen's reign has ended.
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