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ARM to lodge formal complaint that taxpayer funds are being used for dishonest push polling



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ARM to lodge formal complaint that taxpayer funds are being used for dishonest push polling

Republicans will also clarify if the Prime Minister’s office checked push­ polling questions as stated by polling managing director

The Australian Republican Movement will today lodge a formal complaint with the Referendum Task Force and the Special Minister for State about push polling now underway as part of a No case scare campaign, funded by tax payers funds through the $7.5 million allocation to the official No Committee, chaired by monarchist Kerry Jones.

It also questioned the Prime Minister’s supposedly “neutral” role in the referendum campaign following confirmation by Simon McCall, managing director of Quantum Research which is conducting the polling, that “someone from the Prime Minister’s office” checked the accuracy of the push polling questions.

The campaign manager of the Australian Republican Movement, Greg Bams said the polling questions included dishonest and entirely negative comments about Australia becoming a republic.

The ‘questions’ included asserting that the flag, membership of the Commonwealth, coins and the names of royal societies will change if Australians decide to replace the Queen with an Australian as Head of State.

Another ‘question’ posing as fact says that “... one question is being posed (in the referendum) but there are 69 constitutional changes which have not been tried or tested. No one can predict the effect these changes might have on the courts, the parliament or the country.”

“This is one of the most blatant and grubby pieces of push polling any of us working on the Yes campaign team have seen,” said Mr Bams, “and what’s worse, tax payers are paying for this.

“It is legitimate under the Government’s rules for conducting publicly funded research in this campaign to ask legitimate questions to inform advertising strategy, but this is straight up and down push polling, which is either very desperate or downright dishonest. Either way, it is a clear breach of how public funds should be spent.”

Australian Republican Movement Limited A.C.N. 054 557 505 . Telephone: +(61 -2) 9267 8022 Facsimile: +(61 -2) 9267 8155 PO Box A870 Sydney South NSW 1235 Level 11, 60 Park Street Sydney NSW 2000 Toll free: 1 800 80 2000

Email Address: repnhlic@ozemail.com.au Internet Home Page: http://www.republic.org.au

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Mr Bams also said the ARM is concerned that the managing director of the research company conducting the push polling has indicated publicly {West Australian, September 9, p 10) that the No Committee provided all the questions, assured Quantum of their accuracy, and that the questions had also been checked by “someone in the Prime Minister’s Office.”

“We have taken the Prime Minister at his word that he gave to the Australian people that he would not get involved in this campaign, despite his preference that our next Head of State not be an Australian but instead, be King Charles III,” said Mr Bams.

“However, if this report is correct, it appears that the Prime Minister is involved actively and is even checking research questions designed to scare people by providing them with inaccurate information dressed up as market research.

“We hope that this is not the case, and we will be seeking clarification from the Prime Minister that it is not the case.”

Mr Bams said the underhand tactics of the No side during the past few weeks had been very disappointing.

“This push polling comes on top of extremist claims about ethnic cleansing, military coups, lies about the power of the Prime Minister, and production of materials which equate an Australian republic with Idi Amin and Pol Pot.

“Kerry Jones as chair of the No Committee and other No case leaders such as Professor David Flint and Employment Minister Tony Abbott have to begin taking responsibility for these nasty claims.

“They obviously think the Australian people are too stupid to make a decision based on the facts. They have a responsibility not to treat the people as mugs, and bring the debate back to an honest discussion which will help Australians make a fair and informed decision on November 6.”

A copy of page four (4) of the Quantum Market Research company’s questionnaire for Mrs Jones and other members of the No Committee, including Ted Mack, Dame Leonie Kramer and Clem Jones, is attached.

September 10, 1999

Enquiries: Wayne Bums, national campaign communications director, tel 02 9267 8022 or 0416 048 567.

09/09* '99 THU 19:18 FAX Fax sen t by : 0296999331

A

UAYNE BURNS

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0 9 /0 9 /9 9 18:46 P g : 4

ASK ALL -----------------------------—

9 Which of'ihe following would you most prefer? READOUT 1-3

AUSTRALIA DOESN'T BECOME A REPUBLIC AT ALL I AUSTRALIA BECOMES A REPUBLIC BUT ONLY IF THE PEOPLE GET TO ELECT THE PRESIDENT 2

AUSTRALIA BECOMES A REPUBLIC WHERE THE PRESIDENT IS ELECTED BY POLITICIANS 3

DON'T KNOW/DON'T CARE 4

10, There gre some other aspects o f ihe model that I'd like to get your feedback on. As I read out each one. It'd like you to ic|l me whether you are comfortable or uncomfortable with this aspect of the model. READ OUT EACH ASPECT (RANDOMISE ORDER) AND RECORD RESPONSE.

Comfortable Uncomfortable Not sure

Under this model a person Cuh be a politician one day, resign their position and become president the next day

1 2

- - y —

Under this model, the power to remove the Prime Minister Would be: transferred to the President creating a conflict where the Prime Minister can dismiss the President and the President can remove the Prime Minister

1 2 3

Under tills model, unforeseen circumstances could see the role o f the impartial adjudicator being replaced by a poli tical process . '

1 2 3

Under this r.iod>tl die politicians in Canberra choose and appoint the President. *Ihc people do not get to vote for the President

1 2 3

Under this model, there is no apparent economic benefit, no additional employment and no improvement to trade

1 2 3

If this model is successful other things may change including the flag. Commonwealth connections, banknotes, coins, royal societies, royal airforce and the royal navy

1 2 3

Under this model, one question is being posed but there are 69 constitutional changes w h ic h have not been tried or tested. No one can predict the effect these changes might have on the courts, the parliament or the country

1 2 3

Under this model, the present system, which many feci serves us well, would change significantly l 2 3

-V -