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. lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:21 am
    Rex Patrick@Senator_Patrick
    1h1 hour ago

    “If @ScottMorrisonMP isn’t interested in ensuring integrity within the Ministry how can he expect support for ensuring integrity within the union movement? @cporterwa #auspol”

    Only problem with this is that Pyne isn’t “within” the Ministry and there is no proof that he has in anyway breached the Code.

  2. guytaur says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:23 am
    “Another example of how Labor should hold its ground. Ignore the cross bench if they support the Government tax bill.

    Keep opposing it. Show your principles. Ignore the media telling you that makes you irrelevant. Its just an excuse to get you to sell the Labor soul to support the rich elite.”

    Great advice – I do hope Albo follows that because the electorate clearly didn’t vote for the tax cuts. Apparently.

  3. poroti @ #129 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 11:44 am

    Re the bludger farmers. Why should we prop up what is obviously a failing business model ? Get a model that works or eff off. Until then stop using and abusing cheap labour .

    If pay and conditions are good I think it’s reasonable to require the physically abled unemployed to partake. Of course location and travel would have to come into the equation as well.

  4. Buce

    When you win on a scare campaign with liars doing the heavy lifting with death tax themes you don’t have a mandate as a government.

  5. guytaur says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Trump is a dickhead, a boor, an egomaniac, tells lies, has terrible interior decorating taste, great taste in wives, and is not a Republican. However, he is not a racist. Employment levels for minorities in the US are at record highs.

  6. The deficit in the external current account is matched by a surplus in the capital account. That is, they balance each other. Some of the inflowing capital is allocated to portfolio assets – bonds issued by Governments and semi-Government bodies or by financial corporations. Some is allocated to marketed equities. Some is committed to direct investment, such as occurred during the mining investment phase of the iron ore boom.

    Capital inflow can and does cause inflationary distortions and bubbles in the domestic economy, such as occurred in WA during the boom. This was matched at the time by repression in those sectors of the economy that were not recipients of foreign capital inflows.

    Nicholas is not quite right in saying the existence of a current account deficit is non-inflationary in the domestic economy. The external current accounts and capital accounts are linked.

  7. Rex Douglas

    But Rex they are true believers in the market, supply and demand and all that. So if they farmers are not getting workers then obviously the price they are offering is too low. The government bringing out a whip just lets them keep paying inadequate wages.

  8. Bucephalus @ #151 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:16 pm

    lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:21 am
    Rex Patrick@Senator_Patrick
    1h1 hour ago

    “If @ScottMorrisonMP isn’t interested in ensuring integrity within the Ministry how can he expect support for ensuring integrity within the union movement? @cporterwa #auspol”

    Only problem with this is that Pyne isn’t “within” the Ministry and there is no proof that he has in anyway breached the Code.

    The problem with that analysis is that the Code speaks of ‘having been in the Ministry’. Which Pyne most definitely was.

    So, essentially what you are saying is, why bother having that ethical guide in the Code of Conduct? Go hard with exploiting your previous position and contacts!

  9. This is part of the Coalition’s ‘very successful’ settlement program.

    Benjamin Law@mrbenjaminlaw
    4h4 hours ago

    Remember the Australia-US asylum seeker deal?

    12 families flown from Nauru to the US now owe a combined total of $99.5K USD to repay the costs of their transfers to freedom. It’s an insane, crippling debt.

  10. Bucephalus @ #151 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:17 pm

    guytaur says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 9:23 am
    “Another example of how Labor should hold its ground. Ignore the cross bench if they support the Government tax bill.

    Keep opposing it. Show your principles. Ignore the media telling you that makes you irrelevant. Its just an excuse to get you to sell the Labor soul to support the rich elite.”

    Great advice – I do hope Albo follows that because the electorate clearly didn’t vote for the tax cuts. Apparently.

    Labor should no-show the tax cut vote based on stage 3 being irresponsible and make sure to shift the economic consequences squarely on the Govt led by the shonky salesman.

  11. guytaur @ #156 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:24 pm

    Buce

    When you win on a scare campaign with liars doing the heavy lifting with death tax themes you don’t have a mandate as a government.

    That’s a very good point, guytaur. Most certainly they don’t have a mandate for any of the things that the electorate weren’t told about. Like Tony Abbott.

  12. poroti @ #158 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:28 pm

    Rex Douglas

    But Rex they are true believers in the market, supply and demand and all that. So if they farmers are not getting workers then obviously the price they are offering is too low. The government bringing out a whip just lets them keep paying inadequate wages.

    Is there a fruit pickers union ?

  13. Trump most certainly is racist. He exploits minorities politically all the time. He is a bigot’s bigot.

    The claim the Trump is not Republican is absurd.

  14. @glenina1981
    22m22 minutes ago

    Spoke to 35yo doctor. Worried that he wouldnt get his franking credits when he retired in 30 yrs time.
    Voted Liberal..
    ..fuckwit.

    I thought doctors had to reach a reasonable level of comprehension before being allowed to qualify.

  15. Rex Douglas @ #164 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:32 pm

    poroti @ #158 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:28 pm

    Rex Douglas

    But Rex they are true believers in the market, supply and demand and all that. So if they farmers are not getting workers then obviously the price they are offering is too low. The government bringing out a whip just lets them keep paying inadequate wages.

    Is there a fruit pickers union ?

    I think the AWU covers them. Maybe the NUW. Though I’m unsure whether backpackers are covered. I think they are.

  16. C@tmomma @ #166 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:33 pm

    Rex Douglas @ #164 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:32 pm

    poroti @ #158 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:28 pm

    Rex Douglas

    But Rex they are true believers in the market, supply and demand and all that. So if they farmers are not getting workers then obviously the price they are offering is too low. The government bringing out a whip just lets them keep paying inadequate wages.

    Is there a fruit pickers union ?

    I think the AWU covers them. Maybe the NUW. Though I’m unsure whether backpackers are covered. I think they are.

    Well, surely Bill Shortens union would be doing the right thing by Australian citizens employed to pick fruit ..??

  17. Boerwar
    says:
    Systematically abusing backpacker and other o/s Labor hire arrangements.
    How good is that?
    Drain the rivers for personal profit.
    How good is that?
    Ask Bucephalus, Rex and Nath and they would all say heartily: ‘Very good indeed.’
    _________________________________________
    True. If there is anything I hate more than the Dutch it’s backpackers and rivers. Oh I hate rivers!

  18. lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:10 am

    In order to enter by plane the person needs to either come from a country that doesn’t require a visa – which most, if not all, undocumented boat arrivals don’t come from or they come from a country that requires a visa and they have applied and been awarded one. People in those circumstances have not destroyed their identity documents and come from countries where their story is generally easy to verify. People don’t drown on planes and ADF, Border Protection and AFP personnel don’t have to pull bodies out of the water where the limbs pull off when you grab them.

    The plane arrivals generally have a very low rate of success in making applications for asylum and are generally easy to deport because they come from countries that Australia has a good working relationship with.

  19. Rex Douglas

    If there is a union the industrial relations ‘reforms’ of the last 20 years or so likely ensures it has sfa in the way of real power/teeth.

  20. Considering the knowledge and enthusiasm of Ley and Price, I doubt anything’s changed in the past 12 months.

    Yung En Chee@YungEnChee1
    2h2 hours ago

    True dis. Developed with goodwill & expertise (often voluntary), and typically neither resourced nor adequately funded for implementation, never mind monitoring & evaluation…Cunningly, it gives the APPEARANCE that something’s being done!

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/fantasy-documents-recovery-plans-failing-australias-endangered-species

  21. E. G. Theodore says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Employer Superannuation contributions are included in the calculation of wages. The return to beneficial owners of the superannuation funds is ignored despite this being clearly a major part of where the profits are going.

  22. Boerwar
    says:
    Drain the rivers for personal profit.
    How good is that?
    _________________________
    Also pretty funny that the great defender of the Australian cotton industry attacks others for draining the rivers! 🙂

  23. The Liberals would prefer not to re-settle the prisoners held on Nauru and Manus. They are political hostages. They can be exhibited for political purposes at any time. The more egregious their suffering, the better as far as the Liberals are concerned. The Liberals are running a live theatre of tyranny in which the prisoners are players and props. They exult in their triumphs; in their profound depravity.

  24. Rex Douglas @ #169 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:36 pm

    C@tmomma @ #166 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:33 pm

    Rex Douglas @ #164 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:32 pm

    poroti @ #158 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:28 pm

    Rex Douglas

    But Rex they are true believers in the market, supply and demand and all that. So if they farmers are not getting workers then obviously the price they are offering is too low. The government bringing out a whip just lets them keep paying inadequate wages.

    Is there a fruit pickers union ?

    I think the AWU covers them. Maybe the NUW. Though I’m unsure whether backpackers are covered. I think they are.

    Well, surely Bill Shortens union would be doing the right thing by Australian citizens employed to pick fruit ..??

    I don’t know what you’re trying to get at it, except another sly dig at Bill Shorten. Get over him. He lost.

  25. C@tmomma @ #179 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:43 pm

    Rex Douglas @ #169 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:36 pm

    C@tmomma @ #166 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:33 pm

    Rex Douglas @ #164 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:32 pm

    poroti @ #158 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:28 pm

    Rex Douglas

    But Rex they are true believers in the market, supply and demand and all that. So if they farmers are not getting workers then obviously the price they are offering is too low. The government bringing out a whip just lets them keep paying inadequate wages.

    Is there a fruit pickers union ?

    I think the AWU covers them. Maybe the NUW. Though I’m unsure whether backpackers are covered. I think they are.

    Well, surely Bill Shortens union would be doing the right thing by Australian citizens employed to pick fruit ..??

    I don’t know what you’re trying to get at it, except another sly dig at Bill Shorten. Get over him. He lost.

    The debate is about the unemployed getting work as fruit pickers for good wages and conditions.

  26. Tristo says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:39 am

    “The whole boat turn-back and offshore detention policies of the last twenty years, was a cynical attempt to appeal to voters who have nostalgia for the White Australia Policy. A future government needs to make an official apology for the policy and all those affected by it, among the first things it does.”

    And the voluntary resettlement of hundreds of thousands of refugees from all over the world in the same period that is supported by the vast majority of voters is evidence of nostalgia for the White Australia Policy too. Apparently.

  27. @CoryBooker tweets

    We do not talk enough about trans Americans, especially trans African Americans and the especially high rates of murder right now. It’s not enough just to be on the Equality Act, we need to have a president who will fight to protect LGBTQ Americans every day. #DemDebate

  28. The economy generates repression in the wages sector. This is plain as day. The super system is inherently tilted in favour of the retired and near-retired at the expense of the young and he non-waged. It’s become of a source of repression as well. It was intended to be a version of the US Social Security system, which created compulsory retirement savings/insurance. However, the system here has become an amplifier for insecurity among low-wage cohorts and a tax shelter for high income earners. It is really quite a corrupting factor in its current form.

  29. guytaur says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:53 am
    Buce

    “You lost the Marriage Debate.”

    Um, pretty sure the Yes Vote won and unless I had a brief attack of dyslexia I’m pretty sure that I ticked the Yes box.

    “We are not a fascist state and we have limits on hate speech.”

    “Hate speech” is not a legal term in Australia so there aren’t any limits on it.

  30. The political hostages in offshore imprisonment are only marginally relevant to the control of immigrants. But they are spectacularly useful for their theatrical values. They are relentlessly exploited by the Liberals and their clones, the Greens. The prisoners are virtually stateless. They have only the slimmest shadow of a legal existence. They are valuable only insofar as the Liberals can exploit them.

  31. Nicholas says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Yes, superannuation contributions are included in the calculation of wages. The investments in superannuation which are beneficially owned by the workers will be getting some share of the profits so it really is a swings and roundabouts situation but that is ignored.

  32. briefly @ #180 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:41 pm

    The Liberals would prefer not to re-settle the prisoners held on Nauru and Manus. They are political hostages. They can be exhibited for political purposes at any time. The more egregious their suffering, the better as far as the Liberals are concerned. The Liberals are running a live theatre of tyranny in which the prisoners are players and props. They exult in their triumphs; in their profound depravity.

    These facts cannot be stated often enough.

  33. briefly says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    The economy generates repression in the wages sector. This is plain as day. The super system is inherently tilted in favour of the retired and near-retired at the expense of the young and he non-waged. It’s become of a source of repression as well. It was intended to be a version of the US Social Security system, which created compulsory retirement savings/insurance. However, the system here has become an amplifier for insecurity among low-wage cohorts and a tax shelter for high income earners. It is really quite a corrupting factor in its current form.
    ————————————-
    The only real way to generate wealth is through time in the market and that is why super favors the older ahead of the young, but there is no other way of creating real sustainable wealth. Ideally people would make use of other investments to supplement what is hopefully a growing wage rate as their careers progress. I think it could be argued that super should be a tax shelter because the worker has already paid income tax before accessing their pay.

  34. Rex Douglas

    The debate is about the unemployed getting work as fruit pickers for good wages and conditions.

    They’ve been doing it for years.

    And the argument always comes down to, would you like your fruit and vegetables to be even dearer so that they can be paid what you think they should be getting? Most people would say no.

  35. @Bucephalus

    A slogan which is on a considerable number of stickers posted on cars is f*** were full, tells me that an considerable number of Australians aren’t comfortable with non-white people immigrating or being in the country at all. Also I argue that the abolition of the White Australia Policy and the implementation of multiculturalism was achieved against* the sentiments of the majority of the voting public of this country.

    I personally speak to a considerable number of Americans online and share stories about the discourse regarding immigration in this country. Honestly they are shocked by the policies of our government and the extent of racism in Australian society. For example; they are shocked about the inability of our media to openly call out Neo-Nazis such as Blair Cottrell.

  36. I apologise in advance for posting this. 😉

    Institute of Public Affairs
    ‏.@AlanJones explains why he is a member of the Institute of Public Affairs, and why you should be too

    https://t.co/oOuBAIGOQJ

    Christine Phillips
    ‏Replying to @TheIPA @AlanJones
    Independent, YOU SAID INDEPENDENT It was established by KEITH MURDOCH and ROBERT MENZIES to support the LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA which they also established you ignorant old fool #auspol

  37. adrian @ #193 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 1:00 pm

    briefly @ #180 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 12:41 pm

    The Liberals would prefer not to re-settle the prisoners held on Nauru and Manus. They are political hostages. They can be exhibited for political purposes at any time. The more egregious their suffering, the better as far as the Liberals are concerned. The Liberals are running a live theatre of tyranny in which the prisoners are players and props. They exult in their triumphs; in their profound depravity.

    These facts cannot be stated often enough.

    Yes I agree with briefly there.

    What was also reprehensible behaviour was Labors wilful ignorance of the systemic torture during Bill Shortens time.

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