Essential Report

Support for Right to Protest laws

Nov 12, 2019

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements regarding the right to protest in Australia?

  NET: Agree NET: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Unsure
The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of a democratic society 82% 10% 51% 31% 7% 3% 9%
Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it disrupts businesses 58% 31% 26% 32% 17% 15% 11%
Protestors should have the right to pressure banks not to invest in companies that are building coal mines 53% 33% 23% 30% 18% 15% 14%
Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it is contrary to the national interest 47% 41% 20% 28% 22% 19% 12%
  • A large majority of people agree that the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of a democratic society (82%), with half (51%) strongly agreeing.
  • 58% agree that the Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it disrupts businesses (31% disagree), and 53% agree that protestors should have the right to pressure banks not to invest in companies that are building coal mines (33% disagree).
  • Agreement was split for the statement ‘Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it is contrary to the national interest’ with 47% agreeing, and 41% disagreeing.
NET: AGREE Total Gender Age
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+
The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of a democratic society 82% 84% 79% 75% 83% 86%
Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it disrupts businesses 58% 60% 56% 54% 58% 62%
Protestors should have the right to pressure banks not to invest in companies that are building coal mines 53% 54% 52% 60% 52% 48%
Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it is contrary to the national interest 47% 50% 45% 41% 48% 52%
Base (n) 1,075 526 549 327 371 377
  • Older respondents (those aged over 55) were more likely than younger people (18-34) to agree that the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of a democratic society (86% to 75%), that the Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it disrupts businesses (62% to 54%), and that the Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it is contrary to the national interest (52% to 41%).
  • Over 55s are less likely to agree that protestors should have the right to pressure banks not to invest in companies that are building coal mines (60% to 48%).
NET: AGREE Total Voting Intention Protest Activity
Labor Coalition Greens NET: Other Participated in protest activity Not participated in protest activity
The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of a democratic society 82% 84% 86% 89% 85% 87% 72%
Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it disrupts businesses 58% 48% 78% 33% 61% 58% 59%
Protestors should have the right to pressure banks not to invest in companies that are building coal mines 53% 60% 47% 80% 49% 60% 41%
Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it is contrary to the national interest 47% 39% 65% 22% 49% 47% 49%
Base (n) 1,075 325 377 107 155 682 393
  • Coalition voters were most likely to agree that the Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it disrupts businesses (78%) and that the Government has the right to limit citizen protests when it is contrary to the national interest (65%). However they were least likely to agree that protestors should have the right to pressure banks not to invest in companies that are building coal mines (47%).
  • Those who have participated in a protest activity are more likely than those who have not to agree with the statements ‘The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of a democratic society’ (87% to 72%) and ‘Protestors should have the right to pressure banks not to invest in companies that are building coal mines oppose the proposed changes’ (46% to 27%).

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