Essential Research: bushfires, climate change and asylum seekers

A new poll finds respondents clearly of the view that not enough is being done to tackle climate change, but with opinion divided as to whether it appropriate to debate the matter in the context of the bushfire emergency.

The Essential Research poll series continues to chug along on its fortnightly schedule without offering anything on voting intention, with this week’s survey mainly relating to bushfires and climate change. Support for the proposition that Australia is not doing enough to address climate change have reached a new high of 60%, up nine since March, with “doing enough” down five to 22% and “doing too much” down three to 8%.

However, perceptions of climate change itself are little changed, with 61% attributing it to human activity (down one) and 28% opting for “a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate”. On the debate as to whether it was appropriate to raise links between climate change and bushfires, opinion was evenly divided – out of those who considered such a link likely, 43% felt raising the matter appropriate compared with 17% for inappropriate, while another 30% rated the link as unlikely.

A further question related to the issue of medical evacuations for asylum seekers, and here the situation is murkier due to the need to provide respondents with some sort of explanation of what the issue is about. As the Essential survey put it, the relevant legislation allows “doctors, not politicians, more say in determining the appropriate medical
treatment offered to people in offshore detention”. Put like that, 62% were opposed to the government’s move to repeal it, including 25% who believed the legislation didn’t go far enough. That left only 22% in favour of the pro-government proposition that “legislation will weaken our borders and result in boats arriving”.

The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1083.

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.

1,314 comments on “Essential Research: bushfires, climate change and asylum seekers”

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  1. “ It would be hilarious if Gladys Liu turns out to be, like M in James Bond, the head of the whole Chinese spy network for the whole of Australia. ”

    A good spy is apparently someone that is overlooked in a crowd and underestimated generally.

    Gladys sticks out in a crowd like a sore thumb … as is an obvious dope.

    Minion? Undoubtedly. Spy master? You are kidding.

  2. The media’s starting to think what a dilettante Morrison is: no depth, no insight – just a silly young man, promoted way beyond his level of competence. Compare and contrast his predecessors – eg, Gough, Bob, Paul. Morrison’s a blip in this country’s advancement, who’ll, in history, will be forgotten.

  3. Steve777 @ #1226 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 7:24 pm

    “I have that Pauline feeling; please explain?”

    I was actually a response to a Kayjay post at 5:19 PM, on the previous page where my iPad was positioned. It showed a picture of Bizzaro World from space – apparently a cubic Earth. However, I discoverd after I posted that this was nearly 2 hours ago and the discussion had moved on several dozen posts since then. I’ve made that mistake a few times.

    The blog certainly does move quickly at times! Those who read DC comics (Superman, Superboy, Adventure etc) back in the day would be very familiar with Bizarro world – it made its first appearance in Superboy in 1958. I was 10 and an avid collector of such comics in Scotland. Unlike Australia, where they were only reprints, at that time in black and white, we received the originals from the USA in full and glorious colour, cost 9d.

    Thank you KayJay for bringing back memories of my boyhood. What a pity I didn’t keep them in mint condition or otherwise – probably worth a few $$$ these days – but they were thrown out as part of our move to Australia.

  4. “Well, actually, Central Station is no needed for a HSR network. In fact its a bad idea to have a HSR terminus at Central.

    Question to the Greens people. How does one go about communicating with a Greens MP such as Jamie Parker in order to explain this?”


    1.2.11 Central Station

    Central Station would form a critical section of work for the implementation of HSR. Because of the
    physical constraints with existing and planned railway services at Central, insufficient space is
    available to place all of the required 10 HSR platforms at one level. A double deck solution has been
    proposed, with the first railway to be implemented commencing operations on the upper platform five
    deck. However, in order to ensure that HSR operation is protected from interference from the
    development of HSR to the north, the whole of the basic substructure (undercroft) would need to be
    built beneath it first.

    You could try his Facebook though:

  5. Andrew Eastwood

    “ Gladys sticks out in a crowd like a sore thumb”
    Ha! But the old Confucius saying “it’s best to be hidden in plain sight”!!

  6. Firefox,

    I know the Phase 2 Study almost by heart. Is there a reason why you are quoting it to me? Its rubbish.

    I think I’ll phone the office as a first step.

  7. Ballantyne:

    [‘…in 1958. I was 10 and an avid collector of such comics in Scotland.’]

    Please stop being so old. I mean, you’re ancient, almost a relic.

  8. I understand FDOTM’s fury …

    Just yesterday, we watched two wedge-tailed eagles hunting in a nearby clearing. Absolutely magnificent.

    We have lost one chicken to Wedgies. Our neighbour lost all theirs. But neither of us would even think of retaliating by murdering 420 eagles.

    What kind of person would do that? 🙁

  9. “I know the Phase 2 Study almost by heart. Is there a reason why you are quoting it to me? Its rubbish.”


    The article you quoted says:

    According to various proposals over the years, Central would be a vital cog in any high speed rail network and it would be vital to preserve space at the station for future services.

    And includes the link to the Rail Study on the words “various proposals”.

  10. Mattias Cormann says the govt was “blindsided and taken by surprise” at their union bill being defeated, presumably meaning Hanson voting with Labor to defeat the bill.

    Isn’t Cormann’s job as govt leader in the Senate to negotiate with the cross benchers, or if not actually negotiate with the cross bench, then to have some awareness of how things will go down when legislation comes up for a vote?

  11. And Cormann can’t express surprise if Lambie votes down the Medevac changes given she’s been all over the media the past few days declaring her vote is conditional on something she wants being supported by the coalition.

  12. “Yes it does. But your point in quoting from it is?”


    I was just pointing out that Central does seem to be a big part of HSR, at least in the study that the article you quoted linked to anyway. I was neither praising nor casting aspersions on the study.

  13. Firefox

    So.. no particular reason? Ok.. just wondering.

    One of the problems I have is that the 2013 Phase 2 HSR Study basically set the cause of HSR back a decade. And since the Study was a promise made by Julia Gillard to the Greens I’d like to know how the Greens feel about it being egregiously wrong?

  14. Pegasus @ #1267 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 10:04 pm

    John Quiggin on virtue signalling

    “One of the stranger terms of political abuse to enter the lexicon in recent years is “virtue signalling”. It’s used almost exclusively by the political right and covers many different kinds of statements, actions and policies, mostly associated with the culture wars.”

    “Virtue Signalling” = “I agree you are correct, but unfortunately that’s not our party policy” 🙁

  15. Btw the 2013 Study isn’t the only study to settle on Central for a HSR station. Beyond Zero Emissions whose report on HSR came out not much later, also made the same basic mistake.

  16. “One of the problems I have is that the 2013 Phase 2 HSR Study basically set the cause of HSR back a decade. And since the Study was a promise made by Julia Gillard to the Greens I’d like to know how the Greens feel about it being egregiously wrong?”


    I guess that’s something you’re going to have to ask Jamie about. I can’t speak for him or what he was talking about.

    But have you read this Greens report on HSR? Maybe it can answer some of your questions:

  17. Aspiring Liberal politicians should be trained at “candidate colleges” in a bid to prevent embarrassing disendorsement during the next federal election, a review of the 2019 campaign has recommended.

    The federal Liberal Party on Friday afternoon released the review former senator Arthur Sinodinos and former NZ politician Steven Joyce carried out into the Coalition’s shock May election.

    It has warned the party faces a “worryingly narrow” path to retain government and needs to focus its efforts on Victoria, particularly in Melbourne, and parts of New South Wales to recover lost ground.

    “The review proposes that candidates for marginal seats should be pre-selected 10 to 12 months prior to the election, with the balance selected by six months out,” the review states.

    “It recommends candidate colleges or academies be set up to identify and train potential candidates for public office, in advance of preselection.”

    Our workplace had training a couple of weeks ago on public presentation and so on. The person running the training was a well-known person who has worked for ministers and governments previously. He said in his experience only Labor gives its candidates media and public presentation training, the Liberals for some reason don’t do this and haven’t been receptive to past recommendations they do so.

  18. Firefox

    As for the Greens report on HSR. Nothing terribly wrong with it. It does cite some useful information although it is far to accepting of some of the numbers from the 2013 Study. It doesn’t mention Central station btw, or challenge many of the other faults in the Study – including its dismissal of commuters and its failure to place stations anywhere near where they are actually needed.

    I’d happily write the Greens a new paper on it.

  19. Good on you Cat, old BB being his recalcitrant self, clueless re. the new paradigm – poor dear. He deliberately provoked you, and I upped the ante; I should be ashamed of myself(?).

  20. Confessions @ #1282 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 10:43 pm

    He said in his experience only Labor gives its candidates media training, the Liberals for some reason don’t do this and haven’t been receptive to past recommendations they do so.

    Did he also claim Labor’s media training was working? Because if so, I can tell Labor how they can save a shedload of money 🙁

  21. mikehilliard says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Can’t Morrison dream up a bill that in some small way benefits society rather than unions bad, refugees bad, welfare bad etc etc. It’s all so vindictive.
    That would require him to get out of the Canberra bubble and away from the local Liberal Party members.

  22. Here is a quote from the Phase 2 Study. Section 1.2.1 of the Introduction reads in part..

    An assessment was made of the potential intercity and regional markets for HSR, broken down by business and leisure travel. In addition to forecasting inter-capital and regional travel, potential demand for high speed commuter services was investigated in two corridors – NewcastleSydney and Brisbane-Gold Coast. NewcastleCentral Coast-Sydney is likely to be the biggest commuter market on the HSR network. Under fare assumptions consistent with conventional commuter services (i.e. with subsidies), there would be a demand for these services. However, these services would not contribute to the financial performance of HSR, nor would they be the source of any significant incremental economic benefit in the cost-benefit analysis of HSR. Commuter demand was therefore excluded from the demand forecasts in Chapter 2 and the financial and economic appraisals in Chapters 7 and 8, although it was allowed for in the capacity planning.

    What’s surprising about this is that it is stated as if self-evident. Nowhere in the hundreds of pages of analysis does the Study actually test the assumptions in the above statement. And in fact if you do a careful analysis of the market that includes commuters you discover that not only is your gross revenue more than double (Newcastle to Sydney) but the wider social and economic benefit is higher as well – based on commuter level fares. In simple terms, the more people that use it, the higher the wider social and economic benefit.

    Or in very simple terms, the 2013 Study is a crock of shit.

  23. I think “virtue signalling” is a good term when used in an evolutionary biological sense. Signalling theory is a popular reason why humans and other animals perform behaviours which don’t fit with a narrow Darwinian mindset (things like altruism). In game theory, a big problem is the free loader who hangs back sharing all the rewards when others have taken the risks. Humans have developed sophisticated ways to punish free loaders (Like gossip), otherwise we’d have gone extinct.
    Signalling is a way of avoiding being labelled a free loader and virtue signalling is one type of signalling which typically costs very little to the signaller for maximum benefit and generally is a groupthink fad rather than a consistent long term philosophy as they weren’t actually a target of the behaviour they didn’t like. People who go on Facebook to demand a boycott on some 19th general who surprisingly might not have been as woke as them are classics. Facebook, Zuck and Sandberg are waaaay more evil than their target but they are still happy to use Facebook, Google etc which are currently causing harm due to a sociopathic business model.

  24. Steve777 @ #1292 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 8:00 pm

    Just saw on the ABC News that the Noongar people of SW Western Australia are making a $290 billion claim for loss of Native Title rights. Obviously an ambit claim, but it’s sure to get the usual suspects frothing at the mouth.

    It is apparently based on a similar ruling in the High Court in relation to a NT native title claim. Interesting to see how it goes.

  25. We were watching the waves roll through the Canal Rocks and looking out to the bay were whales. It was magical.

    Augusta and Cape Leeuwin is magical.

  26. Mavis @ #1286 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 10:44 pm

    Good on you Cat, old BB being his recalcitrant self, clueless re. the new paradigm – poor dear. He deliberately provoked you, and I upped the ante; I should be ashamed of myself(?).

    Thanks, Mavis. Now he’s congratulating himself because he thinks he stopped the discussion about coal. When the truth is more likely that people watched the cricket, did something else entirely, as I did for a few hours as I talked to friends and family, or simply moved on to other subjects.

    He’s also back to abusing me. He’s not doing himself any favours by doing that, that’s for sure. And all because I stood up to his slagging and bagging a half dozen of us for daring to engage in a discussion about coal today! And like, I didn’t know there were taboo subjects such that, if it didn’t pass muster with him then we shouldn’t do it!

    He really needs to take a good hard look at himself.

  27. Mavis
    I’m a bad writer at the best of times but typing on an iPhone makes it even worse.

    I should add that virtue signalling by definition never applies to anyone fighting for their own cause.

  28. Cud Chewer @ #1299 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 11:09 pm

    Hi.. C@t 🙂

    Hi Cud 🙂

    I got voted down at our meeting the other day. I wanted to have a forum that lasted from mid-morning until late afternoon but the other two only wanted a tight event from 5pm-8pm. And even then I had to argue for 5pm and not 6pm till 8pm! So, no time could be allocated for your presentation. 🙁

    No staying power some people! 😆

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