Foreign affairs and Senate preferences

A comprehensive new survey on attitudes to foreign affairs, and deeper-than-ever dive into Senate voting and the preference question.

We’re still yet to have a new poll of federal voting intention after the election, for whatever that may still be worth, but I would imagine Newspoll will be breaking its drought to mark next week’s resumption of parliament. We do, however, have one of the Lowy Institute’s occasional surveys on attitudes to foreign affairs, the results of which are attractively presented on the organisation’s website.

The headline topic of the poll is Sino-American relations, and the results point to a sharp decline in trust towards China, which a clear majority of respondents rated the “world’s leading economic power”. Even clearer majorities, of around three-quarters, believed China was pursuing regional domination, and that Australia should do more to resist its military activities even if it affected our too-close economic relationship.

However, the poll also finds a further decline in trust in the United States, to add to the body-blow it took when Donald Trump was elected. Of particular interest here are the age breakdowns. Whereas there was little to distinguish the age cohorts in their positive view of the US on Obama’s watch, respondents in their youth and early middle-age now take a substantially more negative view than older ones.

Relatedly, the highly negative and worsening view of Trump personally, while evident across all age cohorts, is most pronounced among the young. This carries through to a head-to-head question on whether respondents should prioritise strong relations with the United States or China, with a majority of those aged 18-30 favouring China, and a large majority of the 60-plus cohort favouring the United States.

Beyond that, the survey offers no end of interesting material:

• Respondents were asked about their satisfaction with democracy – which, one often reads, is in freefall throughout the western world, particularly among the young. However, the Lowy Institute’s yearly tracking of this question going back to 2012 doesn’t show any such thing. If anything, there seems to be a slight trend in favour of the response that “democracy is preferable to any other kind of government”, which is up three on last year at 65%. While the young are less sold on this notion than the old, there has been a solid improving trend among the 18-to-30 cohort, with this year’s result up six on last year’s to 55%, a new high over the course of the series.

• Evaluations were sought on a limited sample of foreign leaders, specifically concerning whether they could be trusted in world affairs. Donald Trump ranked down alongside Vladimir Putin, while Jacinda Ardern recorded near-unanimous acclaim, with 88% expressing either a lot of or some confidence. New Zealand was rated “Australia’s best friend” out of six available options by 59%, up from six since 2017.

• Brexit was rated a bad thing for the United Kingdom by 62%, a bad thing for the European Union by 70%, and a bad thing for the West in general by 58%. The UK’s rating on a “feelings thermometer” fell six points, to 76.

• Concern about climate change maintained an upward trajectory, with 61% favouring action “even if this involves significant costs”. The long-range trend on this question going back to 2006 suggests climate change is less of a problem when Labor are in office.

• Views on immigration were less negative than last year, after a significant hardening of opinion between 2014 and 2018. However, the immigration rate was still held to be too high by 48% of all respondents, and a very large majority of older ones.

The survey was conducted online and by telephone from March 12 to 25 from a sample of 2130.

The second part of today’s lesson relates to Senate preference flows, from which we can obtain no end of information thanks to the Australian Electoral Commission’s publication of the data files containing the preference order for every single ballot paper. By contrast, we’re still waiting on the two-party preference splits the AEC eventually publishes for each party in the House of Representatives. There will be a lot of analysis of this information here over the coming weeks, but for starters I offer the following:

This shows, from left to right, the rate of voters’ adherence to their favoured party’s how-to-vote-card; the rate at which minor party voters’ preference orders favoured Labor over the Coalition or vice-versa, or neither in the event that they did not number either party (“two-party”); and a similar three-way measure that throws the Greens into the mix (“three-party”).

This shows that United Australia Party voters heavily favoured the Coalition over Labor, but not because they were following the party’s how-to-vote cards, a course followed by around 0.1% of the total electorate. One Nation preferences were only slightly less favourable to the Coalition, and even fewer of the party’s voters followed the card. Since One Nation’s preferences in the lower house split almost evenly in 2016, out of the 15 seats where they ran, it seems safe to assume a shift in One Nation preferences accounted for a substantial chunk of the two-party swing to the Coalition. I will calculate Senate preference flows from 2016 for comparison over the next few days.

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.

1,777 comments on “Foreign affairs and Senate preferences”

  1. Engaging with dictators – Playing footsie with them
    Same – Same

    Engaging with these people condones their actions; if the nations who don’t murder and oppress approach the ones that do as peers and equals, that’s what they become. Shunning people (and states) who behave in unconscionable ways is diplomacy.

    Also, if we have to engage with these people then where’s Iran? They have about the same GDP as the Saudis or Argentina (and more than double some other invitees like Chile, Egypt, and Vietnam), and vastly exceed North Korea’s economy. So where’s their special invite for one-on-one talks in the DMZ?

  2. I don’t know which newspaper.

    Jason Chatfield@Jason_Chatfield

    Cartoonist Michael DeAdder was just fired from the newspaper for this cartoon.

  3. Kaitlan CollinsVerified account@kaitlancollins
    32m32 minutes ago
    President Trump indicates his meeting with Kim Jong Un is happening. “I’m going to the DMZ and we are — I understand they want to meet,” he tells business leaders in South Korea. “And I’d love to say hello. It’s going to be very short.”

    He makes it sound like he’s headed to the mall with his besties.

  4. The answer

    Michael de Adder@deAdder
    Jun 28

    The highs and lows of cartooning. Today I was just let go from all newspapers in New Brunswick. #editorialcartooning #nbpoli #editorialcartooning

  5. In the Weekend Oz, Greg Sheridan, in at least in partial support of Folau, writes:

    ‘Judgment and indeed hell are not anachronistic Old Testament ideas dispensed with the kumbaya, syrup sweetness of the the New Testament. Christianity is a message of love…’]

    Thus, we are expected to believe that Folau’s FB posts are all about love. Tell that to a young gays and lesbians attempting to come to terms with their sexuality.

    Sheridan finishes his article with this:

    ‘Folau in my veiw unintentionly [spare me] somewhat misrepresented some core doctrines. But his persecution is extreme and absurd and reflects the dangerous and confused times in which we live.’

    Folau’s not being persecuted; he’s persecuting others who don’t share his perverse, literal interpretation of the scriptures. And, Morrison needs to watch out. Little was discussed in the election about his faith, which is fair enough. But, there’s no doubt whatsover that he’s on all four with Folau. Accordingly, any legislative attempts to allow bigots to be bigots should be viewed with the greatest suspicion. This will be a big test for Albanese. Thank the Lord he’s not influenced by factions, in particular Labor’s Right(?).

  6. a r says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Engaging with dictators – Playing footsie with them
    Same – Same

    Engaging with these people condones their actions; if the nations who don’t murder and oppress approach the ones that do as peers and equals, that’s what they become. Shunning people (and states) who behave in unconscionable ways is diplomacy.

    Also, if we have to engage with these people then where’s Iran? They have about the same GDP as the Saudis or Argentina (and more than double some other invitees like Chile, Egypt, and Vietnam), and vastly exceed North Korea’s economy. So where’s their special invite for one-on-one talks in the DMZ?

    I thought we were part of the club with our treatment of boat arrivals!

  7. lizzie:

    Like most bullies Trump is incredibly thin-skinned and litigious. Frankly I reckon Trump would take pride in how he is depicted in that image, if anything.

  8. lizzie says: Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Trump would take pride in how he is depicted

    If so, what a twisted soul.

    ********************************************

    His *base* laps this stuff up – so what, just a couple of f***** Mexican wet-backs …..

  9. I think that Israel Folau expresses hidebound views but I wonder whether Rugby Australia would have achieved more for their cause by criticising his statement strongly and specifically and repeatedly but without terminating his contract. They could have followed their statement with practical action such as donating to organizations that mentor and counsel young LGBTI people. The problem with how the matter is playing out is that Israel Folau looks like a martyr and his actions therefore enjoy credence and respect that they do not truly deserve.

  10. https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/6/28/wife-of-abusive-dubai-ruler-escapes-to-germany-reports

    Multiple reports are being investigated that Princess Haya, the wife of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has fled the Emirates and sought asylum in Germany, legal advocacy group Detained in Dubai said on Friday.

    The princess fled with her son Zayed, 7, and daughter Al Jalila, 11, and are allegedly seeking to eventually move to London, according to The Daily Beast.

  11. Sheikh Mohammed’s daughter, Latifa, allegedly attempted to flee the kingdom in a high-profile saga in April 2018, after releasing a video detailing years of horrific abuse and torture she suffered at the hands of her father and the Emirati authorities.

    Latifa’s friends and supporters say commandos stormed a boat she was using to flee to India.

  12. lizzie says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/6/28/wife-of-abusive-dubai-ruler-escapes-to-germany-reports

    Multiple reports are being investigated that Princess Haya, the wife of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has fled the Emirates and sought asylum in Germany, legal advocacy group Detained in Dubai said on Friday.

    The princess fled with her son Zayed, 7, and daughter Al Jalila, 11, and are allegedly seeking to eventually move to London, according to The Daily Beast.

    Lucky she didn’t try to come to Australia.

    Good luck to her if it’s true.

  13. Nicholas:

    Folau could not be appeased, evidenced inter alia by his call for an apology prior to the Fair Work Commission mediation. He’s intent to milk this for all it’s worth, not a paying a cent for his legal representation. He and his supporters expect Morrison to come to their aid with legislation. Morrison’s been fairly quiet of late, but watch this space one parliament resumes.

  14. Mavis
    Economic time bombs have been left by governments before.
    This time I think it’s a religious time bomb that has been left.

  15. BK says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Mavis
    Economic time bombs have been left by governments before.
    This time I think it’s a religious time bomb that has been left.

    Yep, any laws they propose must be equally applicable to all religions.

    How many have considered that?

  16. Perhaps I’m tired today, but I didn’t find MegaGeorge’s election analysis very easy to follow.

    Whether Morrison is forced into drastic budget repair remains to be seen. But he has assumed power in his own right on the worst possible premise: that voters can have something for nothing. With the global economy slowing, and the cost of dealing with climate escalating, Scott Morrison will soon be forced to ask a nation he helped divide to make a sacrifice for the greater good.

    https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2019/june/1559397600/george-megalogenis/2019-election-shock-new-normal

  17. lizzie @ #1267 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 12:58 pm

    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/6/28/wife-of-abusive-dubai-ruler-escapes-to-germany-reports

    Multiple reports are being investigated that Princess Haya, the wife of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has fled the Emirates and sought asylum in Germany, legal advocacy group Detained in Dubai said on Friday.

    The princess fled with her son Zayed, 7, and daughter Al Jalila, 11, and are allegedly seeking to eventually move to London, according to The Daily Beast.

    And it’s for reasons such as this that we need to maintain the Free World Order. Otherwise, where have these people got to run to if they need to?

  18. lizzie @ #1272 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 2:19 pm

    Perhaps I’m tired today, but I didn’t find MegaGeorge’s election analysis very easy to follow.

    Whether Morrison is forced into drastic budget repair remains to be seen. But he has assumed power in his own right on the worst possible premise: that voters can have something for nothing. With the global economy slowing, and the cost of dealing with climate escalating, Scott Morrison will soon be forced to ask a nation he helped divide to make a sacrifice for the greater good.

    https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2019/june/1559397600/george-megalogenis/2019-election-shock-new-normal

    I’ll offer to pray for him. Should be sufficient, surely?

  19. This is in reply to ‘fess’ earlier report that Trump said LA and San Francisco are ‘sad to look at’:

    THIS in America is ‘sad to look at’:

    Not this:

    San Francisco

  20. Whether Morrison is forced into drastic budget repair remains to be seen.

    This is one of the metaphors that we need to kill. The federal government’s budget cannot break down. Nor can it get sick. Phrases like “budget repair” or “healing the budget” are heavily biased towards artificially restricting government spending. This suits conservatives, who want government spending to be limited to the military, sinecures, and their perks, but it is not an accurate reflection of the fiscal position of a currency-issuing government. Furthermore, using these terms is decidedly unhelpful for progressives who have an expansive view of what the government should be doing.

    The currency issuing government cannot run out of its own currency.

    It does not need to make a profit in its own currency.

    It does not need to run a surplus.

    It can sustain deficits indefinitely.

    The limit on its spending is the availability of real resources that are for sale in its currency.

    You know that the government is doing enough spending when the unemployment rate is 1 or 2 percent and the underemployment rate is close to zero and prices are stable.

    You know that the deficit is too small if the unemployment rate is 5 percent and there are 1.1 million underemployed people. Which is the case today.

  21. BK:

    [‘Economic time bombs have been left by governments before.
    This time I think it’s a religious time bomb that has been left.’]

    The religious time bomb could prove to be more troublesome than the economic one, few wanting religion poured down their throat, particulary by one who speaks in tongues, believes in the “Rapture.”

  22. C@t:

    The hilarious thing about Trump’s comment is that he understood Western-style liberalism to mean the West Coast of the US, not Western Europe. 😆

  23. Nicholas says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    …..Phrases like “budget repair” or “healing the budget” are heavily biased towards artificially restricting government spending. This suits conservatives….

    That would be the conservatives – really, the Reactionaries – kept in office by the Greens.

  24. The Queen of Dubai can come here by sea. Then we can put her in the gulag and hold her as a political hostage for a few decades.

  25. Morrison will ignore the costs of climate change. His majority depends on this.

    If the economy tanks, the Liberals will use the hardship that represents to impose more hardship – to deliver more austerity. They will drive for further cuts to spending and tax, to impose further restrictions on unions and to repress wages.

    This is just totally run of the mill, business as usual for the Liberals.

    The Greens will, of course, continue to work for the re-election of their political siblings, the Liberals and their clones.

  26. Nicholas, an expansionary fiscal program would very soon lift demand enough for unemployment to fall to 2% or less. There are many paths to this.

    But the Liberals will not do it. They prefer high unemployment to full employment. They can use the unemployed as a battering ram with which to demolish social justice. This is their gig. This is why they are here.

  27. Morrison’s been fairly quiet of late

    He is the Quiet Australians David; with only a sling, the power of State, the power of wealthy institutions and a media empire to combat the relentless cruelty they are subjected to by the Goliath of helpless minorities and the evil latte sipping inner city chattering hippies.

  28. George Mega is tempted to think that things are already set up Labor to win next time.

    Of course, this is nonsense. The Liberals are the usual winners in federal elections. The economy and the environment are both getting worse at the same time. The Liberals will use this against Labor while the Greens and the Lib-clones will help them. This is the basic pattern of play in Australian politics.

  29. Labor face the Liberals in their various guises, ON, Palmer, various minor Right scouts and the Greens. Together, they outnumber Labor 2:1.

    Labor is the only party that hopes to deal with both the economic and environmental challenges we face. But we are disadvantaged numerically, financially and geographically. It’s going to become more difficult to win as the economy also worsens.

  30. briefly @ #1286 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 2:59 pm

    George Mega is tempted to think that things are already set up Labor to win next time.

    Of course, this is nonsense. The Liberals are the usual winners in federal elections. The economy and the environment are both getting worse at the same time. The Liberals will use this against Labor while the Greens and the Lib-clones will help them. This is the basic pattern of play in Australian politics.

    Albanese and Labor are a shoe-in if the economy tanks and the extreme weather continues.

    The shonky salesman PM will be run out of office just like Can-DO Campbell was shown the door in Qld.

  31. briefly @ #1284 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 3:04 pm

    Labor face the Liberals in their various guises, ON, Palmer, various minor Right scouts and the Greens. Together, they outnumber Labor 2:1.

    Labor is the only party that hopes to deal with both the economic and environmental challenges we face. But we are disadvantaged numerically, financially and geographically. It’s going to become more difficult to win as the economy also worsens.

    Albanese will be PM while the Greens will hold the BoP in the senate. Bank on it.

  32. We need some clarification from the Prime Minister himself.
    Does freedom of religion mean poor women having to go back to backyarders to secure an abortion?
    Does freedom of religion mean that terminating a four cell blastocyst is murder?
    Does freedom of religion mean banning all euthanasia?
    Does freedom of religion mean that coveting your neighbour’s wife should be subject to criminal sanction?
    Does freedom of religion mean that bagging Christ should be subject to criminal sanction?
    Does freedom of religion mean that you can discriminate against whomsoever you want in employment as long as you can draw a link to your particular religions views?
    Does freedom of religion mean that divorce should be criminalized?

  33. Rex Douglas @ #1289 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 3:08 pm

    Albanese and Labor are a shoe-in if the economy tanks and the extreme weather continues.

    This makes me wonder where you have been for the last decade. Do you need to see people committing suicide from insurmountable debts, or the Antarctic ice sheet disintegrating? Perhaps the environment collapsing, species going extinct at record rates, farmers giving up and walking off the land, or a never-ending drought?

    Oh, wait …. 🙁

  34. Good find, BK! On nuclear power.

    @SwannyQLD

    The Coalition is not interested in fairness. It has refused to split the income tax package because it knows the third stage would not get through the parliament, if presented as a standalone measure #auspol

  35. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 3:08 pm
    briefly @ #1286 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 2:59 pm

    George Mega is tempted to think that things are already set up Labor to win next time.

    Of course, this is nonsense. The Liberals are the usual winners in federal elections. The economy and the environment are both getting worse at the same time. The Liberals will use this against Labor while the Greens and the Lib-clones will help them. This is the basic pattern of play in Australian politics.
    Albanese and Labor are a shoe-in if the economy tanks and the extreme weather continues.

    The shonky salesman PM will be run out of office just like Can-DO Campbell was shown the door in Qld.

    There is no reason to suppose this will happen. The last time we experienced a protracted economic crisis was during the 1930s. Australians voted for the Right. They have started doing so again. They have been voting for the Right most of the time since 1996 and this has become more pronounced this century.

    To make matters even more complicated, were Labor to win and still face an Opposition-controlled Senate it would not be able to implement its program in any case. The Greens will make sure of that. The hurdles for Labor are very high. It’s most unlikely that anything will be done nationally on climate change at all in this country. And the Liberals will oppose Labor’s economic agenda at all times.

  36. Player One @ #1288 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 3:12 pm

    Rex Douglas @ #1289 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 3:08 pm

    Albanese and Labor are a shoe-in if the economy tanks and the extreme weather continues.

    This makes me wonder where you have been for the last decade. Do you need to see people committing suicide from insurmountable debts, or the Antarctic ice sheet disintegrating? Perhaps the environment collapsing, species going extinct at record rates, farmers giving up and walking off the land, or a never-ending drought?

    Oh, wait …. 🙁

    There’s a threshold I think before the apathetic voter says enough.

    Albanese is a far more authentic leader able to turn the voters against the shonky salesman PM. He just needs to keep the dolts like Stephen Jones and Marles away from the cameras and microphones.

  37. briefly @ #1292 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 3:20 pm

    Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 3:08 pm
    briefly @ #1286 Sunday, June 30th, 2019 – 2:59 pm

    George Mega is tempted to think that things are already set up Labor to win next time.

    Of course, this is nonsense. The Liberals are the usual winners in federal elections. The economy and the environment are both getting worse at the same time. The Liberals will use this against Labor while the Greens and the Lib-clones will help them. This is the basic pattern of play in Australian politics.
    Albanese and Labor are a shoe-in if the economy tanks and the extreme weather continues.

    The shonky salesman PM will be run out of office just like Can-DO Campbell was shown the door in Qld.

    There is no reason to suppose this will happen. The last time we experienced a protracted economic crisis was during the 1930s. Australians voted for the Right. They have started doing so again. They have been voting for the Right most of the time since 1996 and this has become more pronounced this century.

    To make matters even more complicated, were Labor to win and still face an Opposition-controlled Senate it would not be able to implement its program in any case. The Greens will make sure of that. The hurdles for Labor are very high. It’s most unlikely that anything will be done nationally on climate change at all in this country. And the Liberals will oppose Labor’s economic agenda at all times.

    The hurdles aren’t that high now that Shorten and Bowen are out of the spotlight.

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