Essential Report

Funding for the ABC

Oct 8, 2012

Q. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) currently receives about $950 million a year from government, including money for transmission. In terms of future funding, do you think the ABC should receive:



Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Total – More funding





Total – Less funding





A lot more funding





Some more funding





About the same funding as current levels





A little less funding





A lot less funding less funding





Don’t know





The largest portion of respondents believe that the ABC should receiving more funding (34%) followed very closely by those that believe funding at current levels should remain (32%).

Seventeen per cent (17%) believe that the ABC should receive less funding.

Looking at the results by voting intention, Greens voters are the most in favour of more funding for the ABC (67%), whilst Coalition voters are the most likely to take the view that the ABC should receive less funding (23%).

Looking at the results by gender, male respondents are far more likely to support more funding for the ABC (44%) compared to female respondents (25%).

What next for public broadcasters in the digital age?

Jul 10, 2012

If SBS and the ABC don’t get a substantial increase in funding, their future is shaky, warns Nadine Flood.

The old media empires are being transformed by a new audience which doesn’t pay for its news. The News Corporation scandal in the UK is turning people away from newspapers. So what are the ramifications for public broadcasting?

CPSU’s Nadine Flood tells 3Q the role of the national broadcasters will be more important than ever. Investigative journalism and public accountability are at risk. But public funding must increase if they are to fulfil their roles and continue to innovate.

TRENDS: Loss of trust spreading beyond Parliament

Jun 25, 2012

Peter Lewis spells out how Aussies have little trust in anyone or anything — except maybe the ABC.

Trust is hot property in politics. Everyone wants to claim it while undermining their opponent’s. Broken promises are played hard in the hope of achieving political bingo: irreparable reputational damage.

Labor’s flat-lining polls are widely attributed to Julia Gillard’s ‘trust issues’. Mind you, Tony Abbott isn’t considered to be excelling in the trustworthy stakes either. They barely muster a pass mark between them.

But something even more insidious is beginning to occur, as this week’s Essential Report suggests. Loss of trust is contagious. We’re not just cynical about politicians; we are also losing faith in the institutions that underpin public life.

Read the full article on The Drum.

Trust in various Australian institutions

Sep 26, 2011

Q. How much trust do you have in the following institutions?

Total Trust Total No Trust A lot of trust Some trust A little trust No trust Don’t know
The High Court 72% 19% 33% 39% 13% 6% 10%
The Reserve Bank 67% 24% 23% 44% 17% 7% 10%
Courts in general 65% 26% 19% 46% 18% 8% 9%
Charitable organisations 61% 30% 18% 43% 22% 8% 9%
Federal Parliament 55% 36% 15% 40% 21% 15% 10%
The ABC 46% 44% 12% 34% 31% 13% 10%
Environment groups 45% 46% 11% 34% 28% 18% 9%
Trade unions 39% 52% 10% 29% 30% 22% 10%
Business groups 38% 51% 6% 32% 34% 17% 10%
Religious organisations 29% 62% 9% 20% 27% 35% 9%
Please note: ‘Total Trust’ is an aggregate figure achieved by adding ‘A lot of trust’ and ‘Some trust’ together.  ‘Total No Trust’ is an aggregate figure achieved by combining ‘A little trust’ and ‘No trust’.

The institution in which respondents place the most trust is the High Court with 72% of respondents stating that they either have ‘a lot of trust’ or ‘some trust’ in the High Court.  The High Court is followed by the Reserve Bank (67%), Courts in general (65%) and Charitable organisations (61%).

Federal parliament features below these top four, ranking 5th with 55% of respondents having either ‘a lot of trust’ or ‘some trust’, followed by the ABC which ranked in sixth place (46% total trust).

The institutions for which respondents had the most distrust were trade unions (52% no trust), business groups (51% no trust) and Religious organisations, which attracted the highest proportion of distrust (62% no trust).

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Green-baiting and the art of product differentiation

Apr 12, 2011

First published on The Drum: 12/04/2011

The Prime Minister has been dedicating a significant slice of stump time in recent weeks to explaining the differences between the ALP and the Greens, how one emerges from real-world struggles and the other is a group of out-of-touch extremists.

A similar debate has been being waged within the Greens following their underwhelming NSW state election performance, where a local candidate’s intervention in the Middle East peace provided the platform to portray the party as a collective of bat-faced ideologues.

But as the debate about the Greens’ orientation gains pertinence as they move to assume the balance of power in the Senate a more basic fact is being missed: Labor voters and Green voters agree on just about everything.

A review of findings to Essential Research questions over the past few months finds that on nearly every big debate the similarities between Greens voters and Labor voters far outweigh their differences.

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Memo Tony: Shit’s happening

Feb 15, 2011

First published on The Drum: 15/02/2011

That philosopher to the common-folk, Tony Abbott, is this week dealing with his own slings and arrows as he enters the political twilight zone of disapproval from which some never return.

Despite ongoing difficulties within the Labor Government, Abbott is showing no signs of establishing himself as anything more than an attack dog whose fortunes rise when he runs negative on issues that happen to also be currently unpopular with the public.

This leaves him exposed when he has a bad week, such as the past one when he split his front bench by attempting to come up with a way of paying for flood reconstruction by cutting back anti-terrorism programs before nearly jobbing a TV reporter.

As this week’s Essential Report shows the response has been a sharp rise in disapproval to 46 per cent and drop-off in approvals to 37 per cent. To put this into perspective, the ALP moved on Kevin Rudd when his disapproval rating hit 47 per cent, with 41 per cent approval.

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tony Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader?

18 Jan 29 Mar 5 Jul 16 Aug 20 Sep 18 Oct 22 Nov 20 Dec 17 Jan 2011 14 Feb 2011
Total approve 37% 33% 37% 41% 43% 39% 40% 39% 42% 38%
Total disapprove 37% 50% 47% 44% 37% 45% 40% 39% 37% 46%
Strongly approve 5% 8% 8% 9% 12% 8% 6% 9% 7% 8%
Approve 32% 25% 29% 32% 31% 31% 34% 30% 35% 30%
Disapprove 20% 28% 23% 22% 21% 22% 22% 21% 22% 24%
Strongly disapprove 17% 22% 24% 22% 16% 23% 18% 18% 15% 22%
Don’t know 26% 16% 16% 15% 19% 17% 19% 22% 20% 16%

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What if the hippies are right?

Feb 8, 2011

First published on The Drum: 08/02/2011

When the floods have receded, the cyclone has blown, the bushfires have burned out and Sydneysiders can sleep again, one question will remain: what if the hippies are right?

Willingness to convince the public there is a link between extreme weather and climate change will go a long way towards determining whether the Prime Minister can meet her own KPI of securing a price on carbon.

Recent history shows that the public responds to the need for action on climate change when warnings are being reinforced by their own experiences and observations. It is no coincidence that support for action peaked in the middle of the last drought and fell away as weather patterns returned to something close to normal.

Now we have a summer from climate apocalypse central casting – but as this week’s Essential Report shows – climate change is barely on the radar.

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Ask not what you can do for your country

Feb 1, 2011

First published on The Drum: 01/02/2011

The nation opened their hearts to Queensland as floods threatened communities and cities over summer, but now they are being asked to open their wallets it appears to be a very different story.

After more than two decades of being conditioned to expect prosperity without sacrifice, Australians seem in no mood to kick the can when it comes to rebuilding Queensland’s infrastructure.

In the first public polling of attitudes towards the proposed floods levy, Essential Research has found majority opposition to the modest impost proposed by the Prime Minister.

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the Government introducing a one-off levy on taxpayers to pay for damage caused by the recent floods?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens Qld NSW Vic Other states
Total approve 39% 63% 23% 48% 46% 35% 37% 43%
Total disapprove 53% 31% 73% 41% 46% 57% 56% 51%
Strongly approve 12% 24% 3% 19% 11% 10% 12% 14%
Approve 27% 39% 20% 29% 35% 25% 25% 27%
Disapprove 24% 20% 28% 21% 21% 25% 27% 22%
Strongly disapprove 29% 11% 45% 20% 25% 32% 29% 29%
Don’t know 8% 6% 5% 10% 9% 8% 6% 9%

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