Q. And which party would you trust most to handle the following issues?
|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%|
|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%|
|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%).
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%|
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%|
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%).
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 not important||35%||25%||47%||12%|
|Not so important||26%||18%||35%||11%|
|Not at all important||9%||7%||12%||1%|
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.
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%|
* 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.
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.
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|
|The health of rivers and waterways||17%||21%||38%|
|Loss of native habitat||8%||11%||19%|
|Logging of native forests||4%||8%||12%|
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%).
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)
|One||Two||Three||Total||Total 10th May 10||Total 25th Jan 10|
|Management of the economy||38%||15%||9%||62%||62%||63%|
|Ensuring a quality education for all children||6%||12%||14%||32%||19%||23%|
|Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system||14%||21%||13%||48%||50%||48%|
|Protecting the environment||3%||4%||5%||12%||13%||16%|
|A fair industrial relations system||3%||5%||3%||11%||10%||*|
|Addressing climate change||4%||3%||4%||11%||12%||16%|
|Controlling interest rates||4%||6%||7%||17%||16%||15%|
|Australian jobs and protection of local industries||8%||10%||12%||30%||29%||33%|
|Ensuring a quality water supply||1%||3%||2%||6%||7%||12%|
|Ensuring a fair taxation system||4%||5%||7%||16%||17%||14%|
|Security and the war on terrorism||1%||2%||3%||6%||7%||9%|
|Treatment of asylum seekers||1%||2%||2%||5%||*||*|
|Managing population growth||2%||3%||5%||10%||14%||*|
62% of people surveyed rate management of the economy as one of their three most important issues, followed by 48% ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system, 32% ensuring a quality education for all children and 30% Australian jobs and protection of local industries.
Only 11% rate addressing climate change as one of their three most important issues and 6% rate ensuring a quality water supply. The major change since the previous survey in May, was an increase in the importance of ensuring a quality education for all children from 19% to 32%.
Read Essential's ongoing research on the public response to Covid-19.
In this week's report:
- Federal government response to Covid-19
- State government response to Covid-19
- Views towards reopening international borders
- Views towards state border closures
- Comprehension and confidence in PM’s plan to ‘safely reopen’ Australia
- Uptake of a Covid-19 vaccine
- Necessity of mandatory vaccinations in specific situations
- Views towards easing restrictions for fully vaccinated people