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YouGov Survey Shows Strong Support for Australian Republic to be Entirely Secular

The Secular Association of NSW Media Release

In a survey commissioned by the Secular Association of NSW and carried out on 26 April 2023, YouGov respondents were asked whether:

“An Australian republic should recognise religious sensitivities by providing taxpayer-funded grants, tax exemptions, as well as exceptions to discrimination law for religious groups.”

They were then asked whether:

“An Australian republic should be entirely secular and not provide taxpayer-funded grants, tax exemptions, as well as exceptions to discrimination law for religious groups.”

The results were:

  • 24 per cent supported existing religious privileges
  • 53 per cent opposed existing religious privileges
  • 23 per cent ticked ‘don’t know’.

There were similar majorities in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia. The NSW statistics were 25 per cent support for religious privileges, 48 per cent opposed, 27 per cent ‘don’t know’. Tasmania was not part of the survey.

Every generation – Gen Z (1997-2009), Millennials (1981-1996), Gen X (1965-1980), Baby Boomer (1946-1964), and Silent (1918-1945) – showed majority support for an entirely secular republic without privileges for religious groups.

35 per cent of Christians supported existing privileges for religion, 41 per cent opposed, and 24 per cent did not know.

The Secretary of the Secular Association of NSW, Max Wallace, also pointed to their YouGov survey of 7 February 2023, which asked:

“Australia has no formal recognition of government and religion. Would you approve or disapprove of a constitutional amendment to formally separate government and religion?”

The results of that survey were:

  • 53 per cent approved
  • 12 per cent disapproved
  • 35 per cent ticked ‘don’t know’.

Max Wallace said:

“It looks as if the earth has moved beneath the feet of the Australian Republican Movement, who are committed to the received wisdom that you cannot achieve a referendum result in Australia unless the question is timidly minimal.

“These surveys add to the thought that Australian public opinion has shifted to a more progressive place after the 2022 federal election.”


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  1. New England Cocky

    Oh goody, goody ….. if the exemptions for tax, grants and discrimination are removed from religious organisations, this means that church buildings would become liable for local government rates. Given the present status of religious observation, this boost to government revenue may then be passed on to social housing or other community needs.

    Now I wonder what the rates for St Andrews Cathedral Sydney would be each year? I guess the Anglican Diocese of Sydney would be able to fund the payment from their real estate portfolio, given that the Trust recently lost about $200 MILLION from commercial investment real estate investments.

  2. Clakka


  3. margcal

    NEC, have you thought of doing a cost-benefit analysis before you remove the tax exemptions?

    Would church services such as hospitals, a myriad of social services, some schools stop operating due to this increased cost? Would you lose current volunteers and donors to these church run operations if governments took them over?

    I’d be quite happy for churches to lose exemptions provided we don’t finish up worse off.

    The Age yesterday was talking about the cost of education rising faster than salaries and, consequently, families struggling. I wonder how many of them would have been better off paying a bit more tax (a lot less than school fees) and having a properly funded and resourced public school system. No cost benefit analysis done there… except perhaps by J Howard, to the benefit of his cronies, but not to many others.

  4. New England Cocky

    @ margcal: A prudent thought. But then I remember the multiple billions of state aid to private church based schools providing child minding services for aspiring parents and wonder about all the other government subsidies extracted from government for the benefit of foreign owned multinational corporations.

  5. Stephen S

    Look, I support the “spirit” of the Secular Association poll, but it further muddies what are already extremely murky waters. The “republic” is already carrying a ton of baggage, and its success is still a very long way from assured. You won’t get it under Albanese.

    Indeed, the very use of the R-word is the original error. It alienates conservative voters. The word “commonwealth” is more attuned to Australian mores and culture. American states also use it.

    Our homework is to entirely ditch the loathsome Charles, aka Supreme Governor of the Church of England. And replace him entirely by our own “governor”. Chosen by the PM. Or a 2/3 joint sitting. It doesn’t even matter all that much. But we sure don’t need an election.

    The longer that Craig Foster’s ARM stands for grand elective republicanism, as distinct from purging hereditary Charles, the longer they will get nowhere. Soon enough, Albanese will be grovelling, over a Charles-Camilla Tour. Just as Gillard did.

  6. wam

    The first step should be tax the money gathered in Australia and sent overseas. I see no change needed as the government selects the gg now and a kerr is np longer possible.
    stephen S agree there is absolutely no need for an election.
    But there are millions of Australians who will grovel as much as gillard.

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