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New monarchists are being born, Minister Roxon

The picture on page 1 accompanied a report by Peta O’Sullivan in The Sunday Times of 22 October 2006 about  Year 1 children at Newman College, a Catholic school in Floreat, in the western suburbs of Perth.

The photograph shows the children's reaction when they returned from their holidays and  found a letter from Buckingham Palace awaiting them.

"They were so excited about it," said teacher Mrs. Annette Rose. Ms. O’Sullivan reports that the royal correspondence was in response to letters the children had written to The Queen as part of an exercise on the letter Q.

Mrs Rose said: "All the Year Ones were learning about the letter Q, so I mocked up an A3 sheet with a crown at the top and got the kids to write letters to the Queen".The letters asked "Who cleans the palace?", "Do you get sick of waving all the time?" and "Do you like the King?"

Mrs Rose had no intention of sending the letters to the Queen and was as surprised as the children at the reply. But when one of the mothers, Andrea Whitely saw them in her daughter's classroom, she told Mrs Rose that she would be visiting Highgrove and would try to give them to Prince Charles and ask him to pass them on to The Queen.

The royal response, passing on The Queen's best wishes and congratulating the children on their beautiful work, was from The Queen's lady-in-waiting, Susan Hussey. The report is accompanied by the photograph above . It was taken by Richard Hatherly on 18 October, 2006.

Earlier that year, on 13 March, 2006 , Ms. Nicola Roxon, then federal shadow attorney general and later the hon. Nicola Roxon, Minister for Health said:

"There are no new monarchists being born," she said, only months after swearing or affirming her allegiance to the Sovereign. "If we bide our time they will all die off…”

She reflects the views of many republicans, most frequently expressed by former senator and minister, the Hon. Susan Ryan.

But polling  among West Australian youth shows that support for a republic among the youth has collapsed.  According to a report by Melissa Kent in The West Australian of 8 September, 2006, republicans may have to rethink the theory that” the monarchists who spoilt their party back in 1999 will eventually die out.”

According to the West’s major iGeneration survey of those aged 18 to 30, support for a republic among that crucial group, the young, is in free fall. When the West’s survey of youth attitudes was taken two years before, 53% of young people indicated some support for change to a republic. This has dramatically fallen to a low of 38%.

We suspect this must have introduced a dose of reality into republican ranks.

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