ANUpoll: Attitudes to Government and Government Services

The latest quarterly Australian National University poll on various aspects of public opinion was released earlier this week, this one targeting “attitudes to government and government services”, as well as asking its usual question on the most important problems facing the country. The poll is derived from a weighted sample of 2001 respondents to phone polling conducted between September 5 and 18, and boasts a margin of error of 2 per cent.

• Satisfaction with the “the way democracy works in Australia” produced the same results as obtained from the ANU’s Australian Election Study survey after last year’s election, with 73 per cent satisfied and 27 per cent not satisfied. Last year’s result marked a plunge from 86 per cent satisfaction recorded after the 2007 election, which was part of an apparent peak recorded in the middle of the previous decade. The report notes that of 29 advanced democracies surveyed in the 1990s, only the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and the United States had higher levels of satisfaction with democracy than Australia (I suspect the mentality at work in the latter country differed from the first three).

• The public appears to have soured on the federal tier of government since 2008, when 40 per cent of respondents were receptive to an expansion in federal power. This time it’s at 30 per cent, with opposition up from 39 per cent to 50 per cent. Western Australia stands out among the state breakdowns, recording only 18 per cent support compared with 29 to 35 per cent for the other states. The current results still compare favourably with 1979, the previous occasion when an ANU survey had posed the question, when 17 per cent were supportive against 66 per cent opposed.

• Respondents were a lot more inclined to believe taxes, unemployment and especially prices had gone up since Labor came to power than they were to believe that health, education and living standards had improved. In the case of prices, this is incontestably correct: the inflation rate may be a different matter, but this isn’t what was asked. However, 58 per cent believed prices had risen “a lot”, which is probably untrue in historical terms. The figures for unemployment offer an even more telling insight into voter psychology, with only 19 per cent believing it had done anything so boring as remain the same, which it essentially has. Forty per cent believed it had increased against 29 per cent who thought it had decreased, which no doubt tells you something significant about the government’s fortunes.

• A trend of recent years has been maintained with higher support recorded for increased social spending (55 per cent in the current poll) than for reduced taxes (39 per cent). The report notes that opinion on government spending “tends to be both secular – in that it is largely unrelated to partisan debates and changes in government – and cyclical – in that it is responsive to broader economic conditions”. Contra John Maynard Keynes, it seems that “national electorates are more likely to favour spending on social services and welfare when economic conditions are benign”. Tax cuts are preferred to government spending to stimulate the economy during downturns.

• The policy areas in which respondents most wanted more money to be spent were education (81 per cent want more spending) and aged pensions (71 per cent), with unemployment the only area where more wanted spending cut (33 per cent) than increased (20 per cent). Small businesses (66 per cent) beat people on low incomes (52 per cent) as most deserving of tax relief, with mining companies, banks and companies which produce carbon pollution essentially tied for least deserving (in each case 59 per cent thought they paid too little tax). Somewhat bewilderingly, all revenue-generating measures suggested to respondents recorded very strong support, and while “a carbon tax on the 500 largest polluting companies” was the least popular of the seven, it still had 63 per cent approval and 34 per cent disapproval.

• As always, respondents were asked to identify the two most important problems facing Australia today. Following the previous poll in July I produced a chart plotting the progression of this series since April 2008. If that were updated with the current results it would show “economy/jobs” continuing to trend upwards (37 per cent rated it first or second, up from 34 per cent) and “better government” jerking sharply upwards from 14 per cent to 26 per cent, taking third place behind a stable immigration (down a point to 31 per cent).

NOTE FOR READERS: Following a software upgrade, the feature which breaks pages down into digestible chunks of 50 comments is not working. This will be rectified, but in the meantime I will be keeping the posts frequent to keep the comments pages at manageable lengths.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

848 comments on “ANUpoll: Attitudes to Government and Government Services”

Comments Page 17 of 17
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  1. [left wing union thuggery]

    Yeah, like wearing a red tie.. and otherwise following proper process.

    Pull the other rummel, you’re talking out your arsk again.

  2. [This little black duck

    Posted Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 2:39 am | Permalink


    That would be WA local radio?

    ABC overnights is National – caller owned a Family Business and said the unions gave him hell – so he closed the business, sacked the workers and restarted it a few weeks later.

  3. [

    OccupyAusUnionsOccupy Workplaces

    by Love0ntoast

    #occupyqantas protest 12 noon Qantas Terminal at Melbourne Airport Sun 30 Oct #occupymelbourne #ausunions #occupysydney #ows

    1 hour agoFavoriteRetweetReply]

  4. Frank,

    And the FWA reconvenes at 2PM. Having the unions and government cross-examine the QANTAS witnesses should be a hoot.

  5. [This little black duck

    Posted Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 2:47 am | Permalink


    He can occupuppy whatever but getting out of Afghanistan just won’t happen till the US does.


  6. so who is joyce? another telstra like ceo import with free market ideology? euro irish trash – as if that country had a clue? goodbye joycie – go fly kites. you don’t do in passengers, or world leaders. joyce should be subject to travel ban – in australia. government should act with muscle – by now. nationalise.

  7. [

    7NewsSydney7 News Sydney

    by mamabook

    Pilots’ Association has told 7News the #Qantas #grounding was planned & the airline has booked thousands of hotel rooms in advance

    8 hours agoFavoriteRetweetReply]

  8. Frank,

    From an earlier post, it would appear that someone from QANTAS set up a company in Melbourne two months ago. Might be normal or it might not.

  9. Qantas as a group has doubled its profit from 2010 to 2011.

    They have just voted a MASSIVE pay rise to their CEO.

    There is evidence emerging that this disruption was planned weeks in advance, yet Qantas sold tickets to people to fly during this period. They may have made commitments to carry people (who would then have planned around that commitment being honored), knowing at the time they made them that they would not honor those commitments.

    Frankly, it beggars belief that the Qantas board would have taken this action at short notice. They must have at least taken legal advice on this matter and been considering it for some time. If accusations in the press that they have been booking hotel rooms around the world in anticipation of this disruption occurring today are true then this speaks to a deliberate strategy planned in advance. Why did they not inform customers?

    Qantas could wind up in major manure if people and travel insurance companies start legal actions to recover for losses. Will be interesting to see if they are in breach of the FWA for the lack of notice for industrial action.

  10. I don’t think the FWA is empowered to take into consideration any earlier shenanigans by QANTAS unless they influence the economic effect on Australia (the government’s case).

  11. Advice to the Government…re…Qantas

    Step one;
    Contact and reserve every available commercial jet on the planet.

    Step two;
    Suspend Qantas’ approval to operate.

    Step three;
    Register an airline company….Trans Australia Airlines has a nice ring to it.

    Step four;
    Second all threatened flight crew, ground and ticketing staff to TAA.

    Step five;
    Engage commercial ticketing agents Webjet, Flight centre and others to market flights.

    Step six;
    Ensure Airports Australia allows access to Qantas check in terminals under national emergency laws.

    Step seven;
    Put it all together.

    Step eight;
    Freeze Qantas bank accounts to ensure all staff moneys are paid.

    Step nine;
    Wait three months and offer the shareholders 10c on the dollar for their suspended shares. Change name to TAA.

    Step 10;
    Ensure Alan Joyce gains employment as amenities cleaner at Qantas museum in Longreach.

  12. Well, it seems Qantas are not in breach of the FWA as regards to notice.

    [Fair Work Bill 2009 pg 359]

    [Notice requirements—employer response action

    (5) Before an employer engages in employer response action for a
    proposed enterprise agreement, the employer must:

    (a) give written notice of the action to each bargaining
    representative of an employee who will be covered by the
    agreement; and

    (b) take all reasonable steps to notify the employees who will be
    covered by the agreement of the action.

    Notice requirements—content

    (6) A notice given under this section must specify the nature of the
    action and the day on which it will start.]

    They have, or have time to meet this as the lockout doesn’t come into effect until Monday.

    Of course a Union would have to ballot and then give 3 days notice, so IF the Unions had initiated an action that grounded the Qantas fleet, there would have been plenty of time for appeal to FWA for resolution.

    Maybe its a failing of the FWAct that employers are not subject to similar notice requirements and its taken this kind of douchbaggery by Qantas towards their customers to show up this flaw??

    ASX reg’s????? Not my field TLBD, but i hope ANYONE who can make a claim against them over this does so, and that it gets reported. You can bet if the Unions fail to dot an i or cross a t over this matter it will get dozens of column inches, and much analysis by the IPA stooges on the Drum.

  13. imacca,

    If a board has knowledge of x that will be detrimental to the performance of the company and therefore to the value of its shares it has to notify the regulator. It would normally be preceded by a trading halt.

    I bet QANTAS will not be trading on Monday.

  14. imacca,

    I would be surprised if QANTAS had not followed the letter of the law in process. The legality of this particular lockout may finish up in the High Court.

  15. This will be an interesting one?

    The Minister can call this off anytime. So, if FWA dawdle, or if any party tries to spin out the hearing i’d say the Minister will step in and order the actions terminated.

    Of course the Fib/Nats will be spinning it by tomorrow that he should have done that about 1 minute after Qantas let the Govt know what was going to happen, rather than letting FWA do its job and let the process work. Tools.

    [pg 376 Fair Work Bill 2009]

    [Division 7—Ministerial declarations

    431 Ministerial declaration terminating industrial action

    (1) The Minister may make a declaration, in writing, terminating
    protected industrial action for a proposed enterprise agreement if
    the Minister is satisfied that:

    (a) the industrial action is being engaged in, or is threatened,
    impending or probable; and

    (b) the industrial action is threatening, or would threaten:

    (i) to endanger the life, the personal safety or health, or the
    welfare, of the population or a part of it; or

    (ii) to cause significant damage to the Australian economy
    or an important part of it.

    (2) The declaration comes into operation on the day that it is made.

    (3) A declaration under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.]

  16. [By the way, what is your beef with Longreach?]

    No beef with Longreach. It’s a nice place. Just the vain hope that Joyce would, when on his lunchbreak, walk over the road to the R.M.Williams museum and gain some idea of how people with strength, honour and courage conduct themselves.

    As I said…a vain hope.

  17. Jukia. Just say at every. Moment. This is mr joyce locking u out the public of your own homes and destinations

    Stress the union did not strike

    Hope twitter has been on to the fact that unions. Are not to blame
    here is a person that gave himself a big pay rise but denies his employees,

    In fact how does he sleep , am wide awke worrying how my family will ll get home

    But on the other hand thank good for media vac

    I hope virgin take over

  18. Ian,

    In my young teens I lived for four years on a sheep station just off the Warrego, about 20 miles South of Wyandra. I love the outback for its serenity.

  19. Ian,

    In my young teens I lived for four years on a sheep station just off the Warrego, about 20 miles South of Wyandra. I love the outback for its serenity.

  20. Hmmmm, actually, thinking about it, the Minister only has the power to call off the lockout that starts Monday.

    The Qantas board were the ones who grounded all flights Saturday from 2pm AEST. So THAT action in and of itself may not be subject to the FWA except insofar as it is incidental to the planned lockout??

    My verdict for what its worth is that Qantas board are just overpaid dicks who are willing to trash their companies brand, share values, and customer goodwill because they are having a dummy spit at not making even more profit so they can award themselves a bigger bonus package.

  21. my say,

    A fine good morning to you.

    Twitter #qantas is giving the company heaps; very much pro-union.

    Nice to see you fine enough to come back on PB. Excellent news about your grandson.

  22. Yes he is improving daily, thank you iam having 24 hours at home with oh
    Now worrying about how the other side of the family will get home, also I had planned hto fly over
    And sons mother was coming home so I could go next we end

  23. Yes he is improving daily, thank you iam having 24 hours at home with oh
    Now worrying about how the other side of the family will get home, also I had planned hto fly over
    And sons mother was coming home so I could go next we end ,,,,

  24. my say,

    The story is that QANTAS has been planning a lockout for weeks. And, yes, Joyce is copping heaps from just about all.

    The government has referred the crisis to Fair Work Australia, saying that the situation is an economic crisis for Australia, which it is, and calling for a back to work for QANTAS and the unions.

    FWA started the hearing at 10 last night and broke off about 1AM. They will resume at 2PM today.

    Importantly, the government is not taking sides and is standing back.

  25. my say,

    Tony Abbott is saying Julia should have stepped in earlier.

    Problem is for him that neither QANTAS nor the unions have asked her to step in. The government has been “facilitating” negotiations, such as they were.

    It would have quite improper for the government to step in on a company v workers dispute. When it became of national importance at about 5PM yesterday they did.

  26. [

    @billybraggBilly Bragg

    #Qantas doubles profit last year Boss gets 66% pay rise as a result, won’t give staff 2.5%. Which Side R U On?

    8 minutes agovia webFavoriteRetweetReply


    Retweeted by PurpleGooner and 100+]

  27. But here every one rushes to change, and quantas ex passengers go to the bottom of list and boat I would say would be looked out well in advance

  28. my say,

    It is very sad that coming to Tasmania by boat has become so difficult. I’d love to drive to a mainland port, put the car on a boat and tour Tasmania.

    I have spent several good times in Hobart a decade or so ago and have done the Cradle Mountain walk to Lake St Clair, absolutely gorgeous.

  29. [Qantas has told American Airlines staff in DC to put passengers on flights to LAX and they’ll look after them.]

  30. [Qantas strategy to break the unions has backfired His actions have united us all]
    I disagree: QANTAS knew what the unions would do.

    What Q has to be worried about is the FWA in the first place and Julia in the second. If it comes to it she’ll finish up with more balls than the entire Q board.

Comments are closed.

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