Queen keeps her job - no thanks to ACTinians

November 19, 1999

Education levels were an important factor in determining whether individual Australians chose to keep the Queen as their head of state or opted for the republican model in the recent Australian constitutional referendum, say university researchers, writes Julia Hinde.

According to Australian National University political scientist Marian Simms, the fact that the Australian Capital Territory - home to Australia's capital, Canberra - was the only region of the country to vote "yes" to a republic, was, in part, a reflection of educational levels.

"You are looking at an electorate which is among the best educated in Australia," she said of ACT residents. "I have done research looking at party activists' attitudes to social issues. There is a strong correlation between education and progressive views on a variety of issues. On non-economic issues, every extra year of education makes a person more likely to support ideas that are more progressive."

Her colleague Mark McKenna added that Canberra had long had a reputation for being home to a higher proportion of professional people, many of whom came to service government.

"Because these people were more informed, they were not as vulnerable to the scare campaigns that affected the rest of the country."

But Mr McKenna added: "The vote in the ACT was not just a function of sitting in a classroom, but also a function of living nearby to parliament. Contempt for politicians appears to increase with distance from Canberra."

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