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. An example of the brilliant brains who decorate our Senate and appear on Sky.

    Alice Workman
    @workmanalice
    5h5 hours ago

    .@SenatorMcGrath just said on Sky that jewellers have told him there’s been an increase in purchases of engagement rings because Bill Shorten is not prime minister.

  2. lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    So you will stand up and defend me, conservatives and the LNP Governments of this great nation against all the “hate speech” spewed on this site? Or, does it depend on being politically worthy enough to have your protection?

  3. Folks, you have to admire Bucephalus for his hours of defending the Coalition against all comers. I don’t have access to a suitable icon, sorry. 😆

  4. citizen @ #247 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 2:13 pm

    C@tmomma says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 1:54 pm
    lizzie @ #232 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 1:52 pm
    PatriciaKarvelas@PatsKarvelas
    8m8 minutes ago
    Eric Abetz says people should be resilient enough to get over it when they deal with anti gay sentiment on @SkyNewsAust #auspol “it’s up to you if you take offence”
    I’m sure Eric Abetz would be the first to take offence if people disparaged his muscular Christianity.

    The ACL certainly takes offence at being criticised. From their website soliciting donations for their “freedom fund”:

    For too long, the church has been silent on the issues that count, hoping that the tide of cultural hostility will pass over.

    But silence has already cost us, and will continue to do so:
    Christian pastors will be told that preaching the Gospel constitutes hate speech.
    Religious schools will no longer be able to hire according to Christian principles.
    Expressing a biblical view of gender will no longer be acceptable.
    These are the consequences of further silence, but it is not too late – yet.

    Your gift will help hold the newly elected federal government to their commitment to religious freedom.

    Your investment in freedom will ensure that your voice for truth will be heard.

    https://www.acl.org.au/donate_eofy_1906

    Exackerley. I’m sure there is a text in their Bible about hypocrites. 🙂

  5. lizzie @ #251 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 2:19 pm

    An example of the brilliant brains who decorate our Senate and appear on Sky.

    Alice Workman
    @workmanalice
    5h5 hours ago

    .@SenatorMcGrath just said on Sky that jewellers have told him there’s been an increase in purchases of engagement rings because Bill Shorten is not prime minister.

    You could also argue that the spike is from homosexuals buying engagement rings, to get in while they can, because the Christian Morrison was just elected. That’s the guy who walked out of the chamber when the SSM vote was occurring.

  6. Christian pastors will be told that preaching the Gospel constitutes hate speech.

    There was a good (surprisingly) talk back radio segment on this on ABC Adelaide yesterday late afternoon. Several callers from moderate christian groups were most eloquent in their displeasure at Folau and the ACL. They brought up many salient points ignored by the usual talking heads and pundits in their wild and biased guesses for how this will play out politically.

  7. lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:19 pm
    An example of the brilliant brains who decorate our Senate and appear on Sky.

    Alice Workman
    @workmanalice
    5h5 hours ago

    .@SenatorMcGrath just said on Sky that jewellers have told him there’s been an increase in purchases of engagement rings because Bill Shorten is not prime minister.

    My feeble brain has missed something. Is there supposed to be a connection between Shorten and engagement rings?

  8. As an Atheist I am pleased to see that Chris Bowen’s comments about the ALP being disconnected from people of religious faith are being completely ignored on this site. Please continue to pile in, boots and all, because they don’t matter. Apparently.

  9. lizzie says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks.

    I will take that as a compliment.

    Having a most enjoyable day – made better by Targin.

  10. So you will stand up and defend me, conservatives and the LNP Governments of this great nation against all the “hate speech” spewed on this site?

    Do you have examples?

    I have defended ESJ when I have heard things that border on hate speech.

    Personally, in the times I have been to church (as an atheist) I have only been offended once and never witnessed hate speech. Generally the sermons, proceedings and chat are lovely.

  11. C@tmomma @ #234 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 1:54 pm

    lizzie @ #232 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 1:52 pm

    PatriciaKarvelas@PatsKarvelas
    8m8 minutes ago

    Eric Abetz says people should be resilient enough to get over it when they deal with anti gay sentiment on @SkyNewsAust #auspol “it’s up to you if you take offence”

    I’m sure Eric Abetz would be the first to take offence if people disparaged his muscular Christianity.

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. A certain great-uncle and pink triangles comes to mind.

  12. My feeble brain has missed something. Is there supposed to be a connection between Shorten and engagement rings?
    ____________________________
    With the fear of a Shorten reign now over, people are now free to plan for the future and seek matrimony rather than build up their stockpile of canned goods and spend time digging a secure basement beneath their house.

  13. C@tmomma says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    The forecast Wedding Boom never materialised, did it. Shame really. But, as long as they are happy.

  14. Dear Eric
    Your pre-medieval views on religion are moronic, naive and irrational. Whenever you open your mouth you sound like a complete fool. No offence meant and I trust none taken 🙂

  15. This should be very interesting indeed.

    Samuel Clark
    @sclark_melbs
    Now with correct panel 🙂

    Shaping up as a fascinating week in #auspol.
    @annabelcrabb
    is in the host’s chair on
    @InsidersABC
    this Sunday. The Attorney-General
    @cporterwa
    is our guest. The panel: Niki Savva,
    @latingle
    and
    @annikasmethurst
    . Sunday, 9am

    Though there’s another Tweet that said that Christian Porter has pulled out of Insiders. Wouldn’t be because Nikki Savva and Annika Smethurst were on the couch?

  16. Simon² Katich® says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Really Simon?

    You don’t read the bile that get’s written here about either me, other conservative posters, conservatives in general, the LNP or any LNP Government?

    Just on this thread alone there are false claims that we are Fascists and Racists.

  17. Note: without valid travel docs.

    The Manus Island processing centre at Papua New Guinea’s Lombrum Naval Base was shut down in November 2017, leaving hundreds of men stranded without valid travel documents.

    The offshore policy is designed to deter people from embarking on treacherous sea journeys, but the United Nations and other rights groups have criticised the camps’ conditions and the long detention periods.

    A resettlement arrangement with the US continues, with 546 refugees from Papua New Guinea and Nauru settled to date.

    An additional 159 individuals in Papua New Guinea and Nauru have been approved for US resettlement and are expected to depart in the coming weeks and months.

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/refugees-are-being-destroyed-ex-manus-detainee-blasts-australia-at-un-meeting

  18. Simon,

    As I typed a response:

    “Ballantyne says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm
    C@tmomma @ #234 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 1:54 pm

    lizzie @ #232 Thursday, June 27th, 2019 – 1:52 pm

    PatriciaKarvelas@PatsKarvelas
    8m8 minutes ago

    Eric Abetz says people should be resilient enough to get over it when they deal with anti gay sentiment on @SkyNewsAust #auspol “it’s up to you if you take offence”

    I’m sure Eric Abetz would be the first to take offence if people disparaged his muscular Christianity.

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. A certain great-uncle and pink triangles comes to mind.”

    I didn’t think the Nazi slur had been rolled out in this thread but right on time here it is.

    How is being falsely called a Nazi not Hate Speech?

  19. Now that everyone is buying engagement rings under this booming Morrison economy, presumably sales of Rolexes* and Maseratis will also go through the roof.

    * I was once offered a heavily discounted Rolex in Hong Kong from a salesman who had presumably stepped outside the store and had them on display inside his overcoat.

  20. Malcolm Turnbull@TurnbullMalcolm
    10m10 minutes ago

    The discretion to swear in a person as PM is vested in the Governor General. The proposition advanced by Mr Porter that it is none of the GG’s business whether the would be PM is constitutionally eligible is nonsense. The GG is not a constitutional cypher.

    7m7 minutes ago

    During the week of 24 August 2018 there was advice from leading constitutional lawyers Bret Walker that Dutton was ineligible to sit in the Parliament and thus ineligible to be a Minister, let alone Prime Minister. I ensured we sought the advice of the Solicitor General.

    3m3 minutes ago

    The SG’s advice was delivered on the morning of Friday 24th and duly published. His advice was that “the better view” was that Dutton was eligible but it was “impossible to state that position with certainty” and there was “some risk” the High Court would rule he was ineligible.

  21. Eric Abetz has never, afaik, denounced his uncle’s nazi-ism.

    If I found out any of my ancestors were involved, for example, in killing Australian aboriginal people I would denounce them immediately. From my limited research it seems the opposite was true of my family. They seem okay.

    Though I do wonder about our Victorian pup- owner back in the mid 1800’s who had two wives die in convenient circumstances!

  22. Bucephalus

    So a government can’t do anything that wasn’t detailed in an election campaign? Since when?

    If you read Lizzie’s comment carefully you will see that she was suggesting that the government can’t claim a mandate for things that were not aired in the election campaign. Do you disagree with that?

  23. Meoldema is recuperating in a nursing home for a couple of weeks. We nearly lost her. The vigilance of my son meant he called an ambulance in time to start treatment immediately.

    He is what Morrison would call a leaner. On the disability pension and not able to work. Instead he fulfills a vital family role of caring for anyone who is needing help. He has saved the government hundreds of thousands of dollars in preventable healthcare, home support services and mental health well-being of people.

    But he is a leaner, remember.

  24. SK

    One of the Nats on my booth brought up Folau. The Young Liberals handing out told him that they were Christians and that they didn’t support Folau’s statements full stop.

  25. Jolyon Wagg says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    The mandate debate is a waste of time. If you can get the votes then you can pass the bill. How the politics play out is up to the politicians. If a losing Opposition thinks that it will politically benefit by opposing a major policy that a winning government took to an election then good luck to them and see you at the ballot box next election – and if you think the voters have a short memory then that’s your mistake.

    Still waiting for the GST Rollback!

  26. Bucephalus:

    [‘You don’t read the bile that get’s written here about either me, other conservative posters, conservatives in general, the LNP or any LNP Government?’]

    Please stop seeking martyrdom. You make Saul of Tarsus appear apostatic.

  27. Puffytmd says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:55 pm
    “Eric Abetz has never, afaik, denounced his uncle’s nazi-ism.”

    WTF? You think he supports him? Based on what?

    Journo: “A comment on the Budget Senator?”

    Senator: “The tax cuts will boost economic activity and while I’ve got you I have discovered I had a distant relative who rode with Genghis Khan and I denounce his behaviour. Thank you. Questions?”

    Are we all required to go through our family trees and identify all those we need to denounce? How are we to make the denouncements public? Proclamation? A specific Website? An Ad in the Classifieds?

  28. Mavis Davis says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I’m not seeking martyrdom – just pointing out the hypocrisy of those who claim that they are against “hate speech”.

  29. Bucephalus

    When we hear that statistically significant numbers of Liberal supporters are committing suicide or being attacked in the streets, get back to us.

  30. Remember, folks – the Right’s definition of free speech is the right to say whatever they want without anyone calling them out for it. The second you exercise your free speech to diss them, you’re being abusive and hateful.

    They’re the ultimate wimps.

  31. Over $20 billion in gifts to farmers – much of it subject to cronyism, crooked decision making, and lack of oversight while robocop relentlessly pursues the little people.

    Just the sort of thing that Bucephalus, Rex and Nath delight in.

  32. If the ACL is concerned about verbal attacks, think of the Gosford Anglican Church which was subjected to a physical attack over its attitude towards refugees.

    The rector of Gosford Anglican church has said a group of far right activists who marched into a service carrying a whip and a toy sword would be charged with terrorism if they were Muslim.

    Father Rod Bower, who was leading the Saturday evening mass, said the church was probably targeted over its vocal support for refugees and its inclusive stance towards Muslims.

    “The first thing I saw was the guy with the loudhailer had a whip and the guy beside him had a sword. Turned out later it was a toy sword, but I didn’t know that,” Bower said. “It was an incredibly frightening experience for the congregation.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/21/far-right-activists-who-invaded-mass-would-be-charged-with-terrorism-if-muslim-rector-says

  33. zoomster says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 3:25 pm
    “Remember, folks – the Right’s definition of free speech is the right to say whatever they want without anyone calling them out for it. The second you exercise your free speech to diss them, you’re being abusive and hateful.”

    Complete and utter bollocks.

  34. Just the sort of thing that Bucephalus, Rex and Nath delight in.
    ___________________
    You clearly have not read much of what I have written on here. So I forgive your ignorance.

  35. zoomster
    “Remember, folks – the Right’s definition of free speech is the right to say whatever they want without anyone calling them out for it. The second you exercise your free speech to diss them, you’re being abusive and hateful.”

    Additionally, the second you exercise your free speech to diss them, you’re apparently supporting censorship.

  36. Bucephalus says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Simon² Katich® says:
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Really Simon?

    You don’t read the bile that get’s written here about either me, other conservative posters, conservatives in general, the LNP or any LNP Government?

    Just on this thread alone there are false claims that we are Fascists and Racists.

    ———————————————-

    OK I’ll accept your personal denial. Bucephalus is not a Fascist or a Racist. He says so.

    But I must say, the organizations you cite, who you defend so strenuously, sure act like they are.

    It might be a good idea if you deserted those groups because to judge from your posts they’re obviously infecting your thought processes.

    It’s time for you to put people before profits. . You don’t belong with those snake oil salesmen and spivs. You’re smarter than that.

    Come on Bucephalus, you know it makes sense

  37. Bu
    “Complete and utter bollocks.”

    Nope, he’s right. When the Right complain about their free speech being impeded, they’re often just complaining about other people telling them why they’re wrong (you know, by using facts and stuff). They’re not being censored, they’re being rebutted.

  38. Remember, folks – the Right’s definition of free speech is the right to say whatever they want without anyone calling them out for it

    That can’t be right. Remember that poor Muslim woman who was run out of the country by the RWNJ’s for using “Lest we forget” in a nontraditional context?

    I think it goes more like ‘the Right’s definition of free speech is the right to say whatever they want from the list of preapproved right-wing catechisms without anyone calling them out for it’.

    Woe unto any who think they’re free to advocate an unapproved position.

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