Australia has proved a popular destination for the British royals over the years, with the Queen alone having been on as many as 15 tours of the former British colony. Harry and Meghan visited as recently as 2018, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had been slated to visit in April to show support to communities afflicted by the recent devastating bushfires. However, the trip was postponed on account of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sandy Biar, the national director of the Australian Republican Movement, said that although the Royal Family would always be welcome, they must pay their own way on these state visits.
He told Express.co.uk: “In terms of the slated upcoming visit from William and Kate to Australia……we have been calling for William and Kate to pay their own way.
“If they are genuine about wanting to come here to help people who have suffered through bushfires and the natural disasters in Australia recently, then they shouldn’t be putting a burden on taxpayers on that trip.”
He added: “The Australian public shouldn’t be paying for these royal visits.
“We are talking about the grandchildren of our head of state.
“So, we wouldn’t pay for the grandchildren of another country’s head of state to come and visit and do some sightseeing and we shouldn’t pay for the grandchildren of our current head of state to do those kinds of visits either.
“Those costs should be entirely borne by the Royal Family.
“They shouldn’t be a cost that is pushed onto the Australian taxpayer.”
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Less than one third agreed that it was appropriate for the taxpayer to cover the royal costs.
The Australian Republican Movement is currently campaigning for another referendum on whether to replace the Queen as head of state with an elected President.
The organisation hopes to hold the plebiscite in three years time.
A new surge in support among under 25s for a Republic has boosted the movement’s hopes that this time they will succeed.
However, the popularity of the younger royals, such as Princes William and Harry and their respective wives, has helped bolster support for the Royal Family in Australia and throughout the rest of the Commonwealth.
Such has been the impact overall of the younger royals, that suggestions have occasionally circulated that the Queen would bypass Prince Charles to give the crown to William.
Mr Biar dismissed suggestions that such a move would undermine the Republicans’ campaign.
“No, I am not concerned about that,” he said.
“Queen Elizabeth is still more popular than William and so any changes inevitably are going to make support for the monarchy weaker in Australia.
“So we’re already starting from a very strong base of support and every succession hereon in is going to weaken the monarchy’s support in Australia.”