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. sprocket_

    Perhaps Morrison’s god also believes him to be an arsehole. Give him enough rope, and see what happens. 😉

  2. Lol. After getting rid of the NEG, Angus Taylor announced the QAP, the Quiet Australia Policy, or, Australia doesn’t have to do anything.

  3. Tristo,
    The guy Clive Palmer had creating 2 memes a day, so as to pump them out through social media, had a strangely Russian sounding name.

  4. @C@tmomma

    I am not sure about Russian influence in this federal election, Clive Palmer had the necessary funds and the motivation to wage such a disinformation campaign focused on social media.

    This sort of massive disinformation campaign like what was waged in the Brexit Referendum, I argued ensured the government’s re-election.

    The government now has three years and a pretty compliant media (including the ABC), to wage one long disinformation campaign, which will be ramped up come the election.

  5. C@tmomma says:
    Monday, July 1, 2019 at 9:58 am
    “I think Buce must be hanging around PB until he gets called up to be Australia’s next Military GG. ‘

    It would be an honour and a great surprise but there are vastly better qualified Candidates available.

    Still scratching my head at Bomber being made the G of WA. I like the guy but he’s a republican and he’s had a fair go on the gravy train being Ambassador to the US. There’s plenty of other WA ALP types who should have gotten the gig.

  6. Adam Liaw@adamliaw
    5h5 hours ago

    One thing overlooked in the hot takes on Tom Gleeson’s #Logies campaign is that it brought a lot of ABC viewers to voting who usually wouldn’t. Resulted in a massive night for the ABC (and 10), and amazingly not a single award for 7 or 9.

  7. Bucephalus @ #1556 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 1:32 pm

    C@tmomma says:
    Monday, July 1, 2019 at 9:58 am
    “I think Buce must be hanging around PB until he gets called up to be Australia’s next Military GG. ‘

    It would be an honour and a great surprise but there are vastly better qualified Candidates available.

    Still scratching my head at Bomber being made the G of WA. I like the guy but he’s a republican and he’s had a fair go on the gravy train being Ambassador to the US. There’s plenty of other WA ALP types who should have gotten the gig.

    Malcolm Turnbull was a Republican who appointed a Governor General. So there you go. From memory, so were Bob Hawke and Bill Hayden.

  8. Tristo,
    I would argue that Clive Palmer would be able to employ the best Russian disinformation campaigner for social media which money could buy. They’re probably in hot demand lately. And until the good guys realise they’re being played off a break on social media by these people then the longer it will be before they prevail.

  9. Australia’s biggest and most expensive jail is being built near the New South Wales north coast town of Grafton, and locals are increasingly worried about the impact it will have on their region.

    The $798m Clarence correctional centre (CCC) will house 1, 700 inmates on more than 90,000 square metres of rural land at Lavadia, south of Grafton.

    It is the largest prison contract ever awarded, to a consortium called Northern Pathways, which includes Macquarie bank, the NSW government and the security contractor service Serco.

    Serco, which will operate the jail when it opens next year, has said the contract is worth $2.6bn over 20 years. It is recruiting 600 workers for the facility.

    Locals said they would rather see money invested in diversion and prevention.

    “We would rather see drug and alcohol rehabilitation, mental health services, housing, care for dual diagnosis patients and most of all in local Aboriginal community organisations,” former field officer for the Aboriginal legal service Andrew Jeffrey said.

    “As a community we are used to governments telling us ‘great idea but we don’t have the money’ and yet somehow manage to find endless sums to invest in solutions we know won’t work and which are inconsistent with the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody,” Jeffrey said.

    A social impact report said the jail would have “significant negative” effects, including pressure on rental and public housing, hospitals and amenities, an increased demand for police and other emergency services, and a perception of a spike in the local crime rate.

    Grafton has a high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, is significantly more disadvantaged compared with other areas in Australia and has lower levels of education, lower incomes and higher unemployment, according to the social impact report prepared for the government by BBC consulting.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/01/australias-biggest-and-most-expensive-jail-sparks-concerns-in-grafton?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=soc_568&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1561950037

  10. Welcome to Pollbludger where posters are encouraged to post their latest Conspiracy Theories ‘R’ Us Conspiracies as an excuse for the lacklustre performance of their chosen political players.

    Those stats about 20% of Australians having mental health issues appear to be very accurate.

  11. Bucephalus @ #1561 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 1:47 pm

    Welcome to Pollbludger where posters are encouraged to post their latest Conspiracy Theories ‘R’ Us Conspiracies as an excuse for the lacklustre performance of their chosen political players.

    Those stats about 20% of Australians having mental health issues appear to be very accurate.

    You’re free to post your own as well. 🙂

  12. LaurieOakes@LaurieOakes
    58m58 minutes ago
    LaurieOakes Retweeted

    I read Niki’s manuscript before the election. (Chris) Kenny is wrong.

  13. Grafton has a high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, is significantly more disadvantaged compared with other areas in Australia and has lower levels of education, lower incomes and higher unemployment, according to the social impact report prepared for the government by BBC consulting.

    Wasn’t Grafton one of those areas that, despite its profile, swung heavily to the Coalition at the election? So, all I can say is, you get what you vote for.

  14. New processes give people a chance to provide payslips and bank statements before a review is “finalised” and a commonwealth debt is raised. Now, the department will only use its contentious “averaging” method where a person cannot be contacted.

    But Guardian Australia has been told under-pressure labour hire staff are skirting the process to meet key performance indicators. While there are no target figures for debts raised, teams are expected to complete a set number of reviews each week, current and former staff have claimed.

    The targets varied, but “that kind of pressure makes people cut corners”, said a former employee who left recently. “It gets to the point where customers will be receiving debts that they may not necessarily owe. It’s more legwork for DHS, for the staff and for the customers to work out what is going on.”

    He said employees would commonly complete a review using “income averaging” despite managing to contact the welfare recipient, because “the main stat they care about is a finalisation, a completed review”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/may/29/centrelink-still-issuing-incorrect-robodebts-to-meet-targets-staff-claim

  15. But Guardian Australia has been told under-pressure labour hire staff are skirting the process to meet key performance indicators. While there are no target figures for debts raised, teams are expected to complete a set number of reviews each week, current and former staff have claimed.
    _____
    The banks tried that caper and look where it got them!

  16. Bottom lines in Niki Savva’s book on downfall of Turnbull

    With chapters including Oh, Mathias, Queensland: Perfect One Day, Shitty the Next and Barnaby’s Doodle, Niki Savva’s new book, Plots and Prayers, the inside story of the coup against Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, out today, was always headed straight to the top of Strewth’s reading list. The political pundit’s latest effort is bursting with posterior laden prose. James Paterson describes spill week as “completely half-arsed”. Christopher Pyne labels the Peter Dutton conspirators the “arsehole” faction. Michael Keenan calls Scott Morrison an “absolute arsehole” who treated him like a schoolchild. Even Turnbull is quoted as telling NSW Liberal Matt Kean “we should force (Morrison) to an early election because all he’s about is keeping his arse on C1”. But the bottom of the arse barrel goes to Pyne for this about Turnbull’s surprise spill: “Why should he be eaten like a flyblown sheep, like a bull being stabbed repeatedly with swords by those people? If he was going to go out he would go out fighting. He did the right thing. Those arseholes, the coup-plotters — I thought that we won.” Other fun revelations include Tony Abbott telling Pyne “the DLP is alive and well, and living inside the Liberal Party”; Dutton toying with the idea of asking Pyne to run as his deputy; and Turnbull musing that Julie Bishop should take over as governor-general (which Dutton thinks would have been Turnbull’s “knights and dames” moment). There are too many spicy details to spill them all here but we’ll finish on Barnaby “Beetrooter” Joyce and this from Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet boss Martin Parkinson: “I never anticipated becoming the ABC — the Anti-Bonking Commissioner”.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/strewth/bottom-lines-in-niki-savvas-book-on-downfall-of-turnbull/news-story/d469832b55009bb632349e77d75d7f92

  17. lizzie @ #1564 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 1:53 pm

    Definitely one to miss.

    Leigh Sales@leighsales

    My guest tonight is the Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP #abc730

    Whoopie freaking do! Sales fawning over Scott ‘AA’ Morrison and not getting one straight answer to her cream puff questions will not be required viewing.

    I’ll be watching Masterchef.

  18. Greens senator Rachel Siewert on the cashless debit card:

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2019/jul/01/coalition-morrison-parliament-tax-albanese-politics-live?page=with:block-5d198d508f082364d7cf3dc7#block-5d198d508f082364d7cf3dc7

    The start of the new financial year brings in a whole heap of changes – including for those forced on to the cashless debit card. From Rachel Siewart’s office:

    “Unfortunately, the concerns I raised regarding the exemption process back in April have come to pass and there are a lot of people who are very frustrated right now,” Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said.

    “Not only did the ALP collude with the Government to gag debate and rush the punitive Cashless Debit Card extension through the Senate in April, they gave false hopes to communities that they would make it easier to exit the program.

    “As feared, the Government has not provided a clear process or criteria for exiting the Cashless Debit Card if you can demonstrate ‘reasonable and responsible management of financial affairs’.

    “There are no timelines, no criteria, no transparency, apparently no appointments or forms to fill in, it sounds like the Government is operating on a wing and a prayer.

    “People from around the country have been expressing hope that July 1 would be the date that they have the opportunity to get off this punitive card that is causing people on low incomes such hardship and once again they have been let down.

    “People on low incomes are some of the best managers of money in the community, because every single dollar counts and this card just makes their life harder.

    “Income management is a failed measure – it failed to address disadvantage in the NT and it’s failing now.

    “This is bad policy which is why the ALP ganged up with the Government to gag debate and the Senate didn’t get a chance to debate this bill and scrutinise the exemption process.”

  19. It’s interesting to see the contrasting attitudes of the great confidence trickster President Trump toward Iran and Nth Korea.

  20. Rex Douglas @ #1578 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 2:45 pm

    C@tmomma @ #1571 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 2:42 pm

    Astrobleme @ #1573 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 2:22 pm

    Just thought I’d add to the general measure of depression around here:

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/French-Station-Breaks-All-Time-Heat-Record-Astounding-Margin?cm_ven=cat6-widget

    Wow. That’s nasty…

    Let’s build another Coal-fired Power Station!

    Joel Fitzgibbon loves that idea !

    Must you be deliberately provocative, Rex Douglas?

  21. Good question:


    The great question of our time, writes Scott Ludlam, is this: “How much longer will people quietly submit to the calculated ruination of the world?”

  22. The chickens are coming home to roost for Sth Australian voters with the privatisation of their tram and train business.

  23. C@tmomma @ #1575 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 2:57 pm

    Rex Douglas @ #1578 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 2:45 pm

    C@tmomma @ #1571 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 2:42 pm

    Astrobleme @ #1573 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 2:22 pm

    Just thought I’d add to the general measure of depression around here:

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/French-Station-Breaks-All-Time-Heat-Record-Astounding-Margin?cm_ven=cat6-widget

    Wow. That’s nasty…

    Let’s build another Coal-fired Power Station!

    Joel Fitzgibbon loves that idea !

    Must you be deliberately provocative, Rex Douglas?

    It’s the simple truth, sadly – and understandably frustrating for environmentally minded Labor partisans.

  24. Rex Douglas says: Monday, July 1, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    It’s interesting to see the contrasting attitudes of the great confidence trickster President Trump toward Iran and Nth Korea.

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

    Scott Dworkin‏Verified account @funder

    Here are photos of Trump and Don Jr doing business in Korea in the late 90’s. He even stayed at one of the properties he built in Korea during his G-20 trip. So, yeah. He doesn’t care about peace with N Korea. He just wants to build there.

  25. C@tmomma @ #1576 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 2:58 pm

    Good question:


    The great question of our time, writes Scott Ludlam, is this: “How much longer will people quietly submit to the calculated ruination of the world?”

    The threshold is when the costs of inaction finally catches up to voters. We obviously aren’t quite there yet.

    Labor partisans might need to further consider their vote given the likes of Joel Fitzgibbon and their love of coal.

  26. Just thought I’d add to the general measure of depression around here:
    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/French-Station-Breaks-All-Time-Heat-Record-Astounding-Margin?cm_ven=cat6-widget

    Easy to see why the deniers have had to changes course; from straight denial to S.E.P.

    Rather than accept the problem and work towards a solution, they desperately cling to their politics – needing their political ideology more than anything and everything else. Imagine where your political bias and the battle-lines you set are so important to your identity that you would fight against efforts to secure the future of our children and grandchildren… just to save face.

    Pathetic saps.

  27. Simon Katich
    “Pathetic saps.”

    Won’t be long until denial simply won’t work anymore.
    This is Europe’s 3rd 1-in-500 year heatwave in the last 19 years…

    Shit is gettin real…

  28. I do NOT need to see another copy of that photo of Morrison with his arm raised to his heaven. It makes my skin crawl. He is such a hypocrite.

  29. I would genuinely like to see the original report of this. I want to know what excuse there was for rushing it through the Senate.

    “Not only did the ALP collude with the Government to gag debate and rush the punitive Cashless Debit Card extension through the Senate in April, they gave false hopes to communities that they would make it easier to exit the program.

  30. c@t,

    I’ll be watching Masterchef.

    I’ve been putting off scratching my arse for a few weeks now. Looks like I’ll be able to give it a full half hour’s worth of attention at 7.30 (local time). 😉

  31. Dan Gulberry @ #1595 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 3:21 pm

    c@t,

    I’ll be watching Masterchef.

    I’ve been putting off scratching my arse for a few weeks now. Looks like I’ll be able to give it a full half hour’s worth of attention at 7.30 (local time). 😉

    Yeah. It’s like, watch a Reality TV show…….or watch Masterchef. 😉

  32. Mavis Davis @ #1583 Monday, July 1st, 2019 – 3:13 pm

    Looking at the second pic in this article, maybe briefly’s right after all:

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/former-government-minister-offers-explosive-character-assessment-of-scott-morrison-in-new-book-20190630-p522sy.html

    And in the first pic, the contempt Morrison had/has for Keenan is palpable. Little wonder he quit to spend more time with his family.

    Given Morrisons ascension to the PMship and his subsequent election victory, there’s a strong argument that Labor should have moved earlier on Bill Shorten and installed Albanese to fight the election.

    Morrisons victory makes clear that leadership turnover in Govt isn’t a factor with voters if the replacement is seen as a better alternative.

  33. Dan Gulberry says: Monday, July 1, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    c@t,

    I’ll be watching Masterchef.

    I’ve been putting off scratching my arse for a few weeks now. Looks like I’ll be able to give it a full half hour’s worth of attention at 7.30 (local time).

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

    According to todays reports, Leigh Sales will be doing something similar – talking to an “absolute arsehole”

  34. c@t

    Actually I’ll be watching the new show about Roger Ailes and the formation of the FoxNews channel called “The Loudest Voice In The Room”, starring Russell Crowe as Ailes. It premieres on Stan tonight. That’s of course after watching the latest episode of “Our Cartoon President”, also on Stan.

    Reality TV? Masterchef? 730? Never heard of ’em.

  35. Harris now favorite to be the democratic nominee according to the bookies:

    Blindfolded, drunken, darts competition at 10 paces.

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