Important election issues

Jan 24, 2011

Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election? (Number from 1 to 3 where 1 is the most important, 2 the second most important, etc)

Total Labor Liberal/ National Green
Management of the economy 65% 63% 77% 47%
Ensuring a quality education for all children 26% 33% 20% 24%
Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system 49% 52% 47% 37%
Protecting the environment 13% 12% 6% 42%
A fair industrial relations system 10% 18% 5% 8%
Political leadership 16% 11% 25% 14%
Addressing climate change 10% 10% 5% 22%
Controlling interest rates 21% 17% 22% 19%
Australian jobs and protection of local industries 30% 33% 32% 18%
Ensuring a quality water supply 6% 4% 6% 5%
Housing affordability 16% 15% 13% 21%
Ensuring a fair taxation system 18% 17% 19% 14%
Security and the war on terrorism 5% 5% 8% 5%
Treatment of asylum seekers 5% 3% 5% 15%
Managing population growth 11% 8% 12% 9%

Compared to the average, Labor voters are more likely to rate ensuring a quality education for all children (33%) and a fair industrial relations system (18%) as important.

Liberal/National voters attach more importance to management of the economy (77%) and political leadership (25%) while Greens voters are more likely to nominate protecting the environment (42%), addressing climate change (22%) and treatment of asylum seekers (15%).

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Party best handling important election issues

Jan 24, 2011

Q. And which party would you trust most to handle the following issues?

Labor Liberal Greens Don’t know
Management of the economy 33% 43% 2% 22%
Ensuring a quality education for all children 39% 33% 4% 24%
Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system 33% 33% 7% 27%
Protecting the environment 16% 19% 40% 24%
A fair industrial relations system 40% 30% 5% 25%
Political leadership 28% 37% 4% 31%
Addressing climate change 18% 20% 34% 28%
Controlling interest rates 22% 40% 2% 35%
Protecting Australian jobs and protection of local industries 36% 33% 4% 27%
Ensuring a quality water supply 21% 28% 20% 31%
Housing affordability 26% 30% 7% 37%
Ensuring a fair taxation system 28% 35% 4% 32%
Security and the war on terrorism 23% 37% 4% 36%
Treatment of asylum seekers 20% 33% 12% 35%
Standing up for regular Australian working families 41% 27% 6% 25%
Managing population growth 21% 36% 7% 37%
Making sure Australian working people got fair treatment at their workplace 41% 29% 6% 25%

Labor is trusted most to handle a fair industrial relations system (40%), ensuring a quality education for all children (39%) and standing up for regular Australian working families (41%).

The Liberals are trusted most to handle management of the economy (43%), controlling interest rates (40%), political leadership (37%) and security and the war on terrorism (37%).

In October, Labor was considered substantially better to handle 5 of the issues surveyed and Liberals 5 issues – compared to this survey where Labor leads on 4 issues and Liberals on 8 issues. The Liberals have now established a lead on political leadership (+9%), water supply (+7%), and taxation (+7%).

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Climate change? Scepticism becomes mainstream

Dec 7, 2010

First Published on The Drum 07/12/2010

It was a year ago today that the hottest gig in global warming opened in Copenhagen, amidst expectations that the world’s leaders would rise above their geographical interests and make a stand for the future.

Twelve months on and the hopes of Copenhagen seem as retro as a Midnight Oil album, the world has opted to sleep even when our beds are burning.

While the lack of political action over the past year has been well documented, this week’s Essential Report picks up another dynamic that is both a response to and a driver for this inertia. For the first time, we have found less than 50 per cent of Australians think climate change is real.

Dec 10 Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 45% 53% 32% 76%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate 36% 27% 53% 14%
Don’t know 19% 20% 15% 10%

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Position on Climate Change

Dec 6, 2010

Q. Do you agree that there is fairly conclusive evidence that climate change is happening and caused by human activity or do you believe that the evidence is still not in and we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s climate which happens from time to time?ear

Dec 10 Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens Nov 09
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 45% 53% 32% 76% 53%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s climate 36% 27% 53% 14% 34%
Don’t know 19% 20% 15% 10% 13%

45% believe that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity (down 8% since last surveyed in Nov 2009), 36% think we are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s climate (up 2%) and 19% don’t know (up 6%).

Those most likely to think climate change is happening and is caused by human activity were Greens voters (76%), Labor voters (53%), women (49%) and aged 18-35 (50%).

Those most likely to think it is a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s climate were Liberal/National voters (53%), aged 55+ (47%) and men (40%).

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Importance of Climate Change Issue

Dec 6, 2010

Q. Compared to other issues that are often raised in politics – like the economy, healthcare, immigration, etc –  how important to you personally is the issue of tackling climate change?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Total important 61% 73% 50% 87%
Total not important 35% 25% 47% 12%
Very important 24% 31% 15% 55%
Quite important 37% 42% 35% 32%
Not so important 26% 18% 35% 11%
Not at all important 9% 7% 12% 1%
Don’t know 4% 3% 3%

61% think tackling climate change is a very important (24%) or quite important (37%) issue – 35% think it is not important. 73% of Labor voters and 87% of Greens voters think it is important while Liberal/National voters are split (50% important/47% not important).

Those most likely to think it is important were women (65%) and aged 18-35 (68%).

Of those who believe that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity, 47% think it is a very important issue and 46% a quite important issue.

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Party Best at Dealing with Climate Change Issue

Dec 6, 2010

Q. Which leader and party would you trust most to understand and deal with the climate change issue?

Dec 10 Dec 09 *
Julia Gillard and Labor 23% 24%
Tony Abbott and the Coalition 29% 27%
Bob Brown and Greens 19% 17%
Don’t know 29% 32%

* Note : Similar but not identical question asked in 2009.

29% trust Tony Abbott and the Coalition most to understand and deal with the climate change issue, 23% trust Julia Gillard and Labor and 19% trust Bob Brown and the Greens.

These figures are little changed since this question was previously asked in December 2009.

58% of Labor voters trust Labor most, 65% of Coalition voters trust the Liberals and 83% of Greens voters trust the Greens.

Of those who believe that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity, 31% trust the Greens, 27% Labor and 15% the Liberals.

Of those who believe that climate change is a very important issue, 38% trust the Greens, 31% Labor and 10% the Liberals.

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Labor should tread (water) warily

Oct 19, 2010

First Published on The Drum 19/10/2010

As the Federal Government attempts to quell the backlash to its plans to save the Murray Darling by slowing the process to a crawl, it would do well to consider the lessons of the recently aborted Emissions Trading Scheme.

If there were a structured training program for politicians (and maybe there should be) the former Rudd government’s failure to deliver on its commitment to address climate change would be a required text.

It is a story of how tortured process can kill off reform, confuse would-be supporters, drain the public of confidence in their government and ultimately leave leaders in a no-win situation.

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Most important environmental problem

Oct 18, 2010

  Q. Which of these do you think is the most important environmental problem facing Australia today?

Q.  And which would you say is the second most important?

  Most important Second most important Total
Water supply 33% 20% 53%
The health of rivers and waterways 17% 21% 38%
Pollution 14% 17% 31%
Climate change 16% 14% 30%
Loss of native habitat 8% 11% 19%
Logging of native forests 4% 8% 12%
Greenhouse gases 2% 6% 8%
Don’t know 6% 2% 6%

Water supply (53%) and the health of rivers and waterways (38%) were considered the most important environmental problems facing Australia today.

Younger respondents were more likely to nominate climate change (36% of aged under 45) while 47% of those aged 45+ nominated the health of rivers and waterways. Water supply was the top issue for all segments except Green voters who nominated climate change as their most important issue (51%).

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