Essential Research and Morgan: coronavirus, superannuation and trust in business leaders

Generally favourable reaction to the government’s handling of coronavirus, a big thumbs up to access to superannuation, and yah boo sucks to Murdoch, Palmer, Rinehart and Harvey.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll focuses, naturally enough, on coronavirus, with 45% rating the federal government’s response good or very good, and 29% poor or very poor. According to The Guardian’s report, it would seem the latter tend to be those most worried about the virus, as measured by a question on whether respondents felt the situation was being overblown, with which “one third” agreed while 28% thought the opposite.

Over the course of three fortnightly polls, the proportion rating themselves very concerned has escalated from 25% to 27% to 39%, while the results for quite concerned have gone from 43% to 36% and back again. The Guardian’s report does not relate the latest results for “not that concerned” and “not at all concerned”, which were actually up in the last poll, from 26% to 28% and 6% to 9% respectively. Further questions relate to trust in various sources of information, notably the government and the media, but we will have to wait for the publication of the full report later today to get a clear handle on them. Suffice to say that Essential still has nothing to tell us on voting intention.

In other findings, 49% said they wanted the opposition to fall in behind the government’s decisions while 33% preferred that it review and challenge them, and 42% now consider themselves likely to catch the virus, up from 31% on a fortnight ago. Seventy-two per cent reported washing their hands more often, 60% said they were avoiding social gatherings, and 33% reported stocking up on groceries.

We also have a Roy Morgan SMS survey of 723 respondents, which was both conducted and published yesterday, showing 79% support for the government’s decision to allow those in financial difficulty to access $20,000 of their superannuation. As noted in the previous post, an earlier such poll of 974 respondents from Wednesday and Thursday recorded levels of trust in various Australian politicians (plus Jacinda Ardern, who fared best of all); a further set of results from the same poll finds Dick Smith, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Andrew Forrest and Alan Joyce rating best out of designated list of business leaders, with Rupert Murdoch, Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Gerry Harvey performed worst. We are yet to receive hard numbers from either set of questions, but they are apparently forthcoming.

UPDATE: Full report from Essential Research here.

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.

5,145 comments on “Essential Research and Morgan: coronavirus, superannuation and trust in business leaders”

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  1. Lizzie
    “ I was particularly struck by the attitude of a group of rich kids with strange toffy accents who appeared on 7.30 last night. Thick as bricks. Are these intending to be our future rulers?”
    I missed 7.30 and QandA last night and intend to catch up this morning. Certainly the accent and affectations are a give away to egotism and delusions of grandeur, and regrettably, leadership ambitions, as opposed to ability. But to be brutally blunt, I have met some Labor apparatchiks like that too. More Liberals, but I’d say it is an 80/20 rule, not a problem on one side only.

    As the size of the political establishment has grown in Australia since the 90s, with ever bigger staffs and various think tank sinecures, the number of people on both sides who have never had a real job outside the political system has grown with it. Scomo, Barnaby and Josh are good examples. Their successors no doubt have an even more born to rule mentality.

  2. Flying under the radar….

    Private schools to get $3.4b cash bonanza

    The new law changes the way the government calculates the income of parents to measure how much taxpayer money a school is entitled to.

    Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi accused the government of rushing the bill through as parliament sat to deal with the coronavirus response.

    “They still want to sneak this cash bonanza for private schools through,” she told the upper house on Monday.

    Senator Faruqi said private schools were building orchestra pits, Olympic-sized swimming pools and boarding houses while public schools struggled to pay for basics.

  3. Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi on twitter

    “The no-holds-barred system of profit & wealth accumulation at the expense of people and the planet has made workers & all ordinary people vulnerable to health and economic consequences of the coronavirus.”

  4. Coronavirus support for disability sector ‘absolutely appalling’, Steele-John says

    As a growing number of businesses and services shutdown in response to the COVID-19 the disability sector says it’s increasingly vulnerable.

    The Australian Greens are calling for an emergency plan for a stand-by workforce for the sector.

  5. America is considering taking its foot of the brake just as deaths start to escalate.

    U.S. states on Monday reported more than 100 deaths from the novel coronavirus, pushing the country’s total death toll past 500 and marking the first time single-day fatalities have risen into the triple-digits since the pandemic reached U.S. soil.

    The virus has claimed lives in at least 34 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and has infected more than 41,000 people nationwide, according to tracking by The Washington Post.

    By Monday afternoon, three dozen states had reported new deaths. New York, the state hit hardest by the outbreak, reported the most, with 43 deaths. Louisiana, where new infections are spiking, reported 14, followed by New Jersey and Michigan, which reported seven each.

    The new fatalities offer a stark illustration of the outbreak’s deepening human toll at a time when President Trump is considering scaling back containment efforts in hopes of preventing further economic turmoil. Trump and Vice President Pence said Monday that the federal government would reassess social distancing guidelines at the end of the month.

  6. Socrates

    I am very sensitive to accents, and have only recently begun to identify some new threads in the population. There is now a hoarse female voice which sounds as if they have a throat problem appearing frequently in presenters on the ABC – forcing their sounds without breathing properly. I haven’t been ‘privileged’ to meet many toffs, but haven’t heard any Labor MPs speak like the delivery of the group on 7.30 last night.

    As a contrast, the constant replay of Whitlam advertising the ABC program is a reminder of his deliberately broad vowels that I now find disturbing. Never used to!

  7. Having read a few other countries responses to the economic fallout from Covid19, I fear the Australian public is about to be sold a dump. Compared to other countries of comparable wealth we have no mortgage relief, rent relief or guaranteed incomes for all but a few. Yet we are still giving business tax and loan repayment relief not yet received by households. All this is in return for requests to keep staff employed, but no guarantees. The double standard is stark.

    The government is not handling the crisis or the economy well. Hundreds if not thousands will die (despite our natural geographic advantage) and thousands have already lost their jobs. Albanese is correct to support measures like increasing Newstart. But he needs to demand a lot more, and it is high time to start kicking the guilty. Time to publicly complain. August parliament sittings will be too late. Many people will have lost their homes and jobs by then.

    Have a quiet, infection free day all.

  8. 😀

    A federal appeals court in New York on Monday let stand a ruling that prevents President Trump from blocking critical voices from the Twitter account he uses to communicate with the public.

    The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit denied the Trump administration’s request to revisit an earlier holding that Trump violated the First Amendment when he blocked individual Twitter users who were critical of the president or his polices.

    “Excluding people from an otherwise public forum such as this by blocking those who express views critical of a public official is, we concluded, unconstitutional,” wrote Judge Barrington D. Parker.

    “Twitter is not just an official channel of communication for the President; it is his most important channel of communication,” the judge concluded in a decision with implications for how elected officials throughout the country use social media platforms to communicate with constituents.

  9. Lizzie

    That accent is absolutely an affectation. I have worked with one very bright english-born engineer here in Adelaide who was educated at Eton. Yet he is very careful NOT to sound too posh (he is a very nice guy). He jokes about those who do. The ones who do sound like Sir Humphrey Appleby, whether English or Australian, are bunging it on.

  10. Mark leaver
    Ok #Australia, it turns out that IBM was contracted back in 2016 to work on fixing up issues with the mygov system and was paid nearly 500 million dollars to do so! I wonder if there is a chance we can get a refund on that now!

    Out of that gobbledegook from Stuart Robert, I think he means that by providing the same structure across all government websites, services can be quickly upgraded as the situation changes and need increases.

    Well, that’s gone down like a lead balloon, hasn’t it.

  11. ALEX Salmond (former First Minister and leader of the SNP) has been acquitted of attempted rape and a series of sexual assaults.

    A majority of the jury at the high court in Edinburgh found the former First Minister not guilty of 12 charges of attempted rape, sexual assault and indecent assault.

    They delivered a not proven verdict on a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape.

    After the verdicts were read out in court, Salmond thanked court security officers and the judge Lady Dorrian.

    For reasons that cannot be reported two jurors were discharged by the judge on Monday morning, reducing the size of the jury from 15 to 13.

    There has been a lot of speculation that the charges against him were made to undermine him politically by colleagues of the current First Minister.

  12. If I’d have known this government was going to double Newstart and drastically reduce emissions I might have considered voting for them!

  13. Socrates

    Well said. Definitely an affectation. It’s something to do with being a ‘real gentleman’ or ‘nouveau-riche’.

  14. We are sitting ducks for Covid 19′: asylum seekers write to PM after detainee tested in immigration detention

    Doctors are calling on people to be released from immigration detention, saying it could exacerbate the public health crisis

    “Keeping people unnecessarily locked up in close confinement at this time when the rest of the country is being urged to stay in their own four square metres is not only cruel, callous and highly discriminatory, it is potentially exacerbating a public health crisis,” said Dr Barri Phatarfod, co-founder of Doctors for Refugees.

  15. Oakeshott Country says:
    Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 9:17 am
    Aren’t the March BAS due in late May?
    I would think BAS/GST will be deferred – the receipts presumably are going to shrink massively anyway.

  16. OC:

    The treasurer said the other day that the BAS statements for March will soon be sent out to small businesses and the tax owed is due by the end of April. Part of the stimulus announcement was to return half of tax paid within 14 days.

  17. The Guardian

    New Zealand will move into its alert four stage lockdown very soon – which means an almost total lockdown, like is being seen in Germany and the UK.

  18. Speaking of gormless idiots who end up in power, this video has a picture of the Mississippi Governor who is going to pray the Coronavirus away:

    The world has been advancing these overfed, intellectually underdone fools for too long now. It’s time for a reckoning for them and their crazy beliefs.

  19. C@tmomma says:
    Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 9:26 am
    Speaking of gormless idiots who end up in power, this video has a picture of the Mississippi Governor who is going to pray the Coronavirus away:

    The world has been advancing these overfed, intellectually underdone fools for too long now. It’s time for a reckoning for them and their crazy beliefs.
    What is your idea of a “reckoning”? People’s justice administered by you on behalf of the people ?

  20. My on-line BAS is still listed as due May 28 – i just looked it up on MyGov , which is currently working perfectly

  21. I am starting to get quite anxious about this epidemic. The Government in Canberra seems to have no real idea about what to do and when to do it. It inspires more fear in me.

    Its economic measures, like everything else, are very slow to be delivered and not properly targeted.

    We seem to be sleep walking to a disaster. I hope I’m wrong.

  22. Stuart Robert also says it was “heartbreaking stuff” to see the scenes of people lining up outside Centrelink offices:

    Decent people finding themselves very quickly in very desperate circumstances”.

    That sort of narrative says everything about the minister. There is no delineation between people who found themselves on welfare payments before the coronavirus crisis and now. You are no less worthy for needing Centrelink before a pandemic.

    That the government has finally seen fit to increase the payment, because of the sheer numbers of underemployment and job losses we are about to see, says everything about how impossible it was to live on what was on offer as part of the “social security blanket” before this crisis.


    Labelled “dole-bludgers” for decades, the undeserving unemployed. Hopefully, this stigmatisation and demonisation will change.

  23. “ So National Cabinet tonight – lockdown from Midnight Wednesday 26 March ??”

    That will depend on what de-facto PMs Andrews and Berejiklian decide. We will see as soon as they hold their subsequent press conferences. Or if Scomo accepts their decision, they might let him announce it first.

  24. Oakeshott Country says:
    Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 9:29 am
    Es ist Zeit für Rache!
    Natürlich mussen feiglinge bezahlen

  25. OC:

    I’m only going off what the government has announced. Perhaps the system hasn’t been updated yet to reflect the changes.

  26. That is a big change from Tasmania.

    Before it had said it would require all visitors to self-isolate.

    Now it is turning non-essential travellers (health workers and the like) and non-residents away from the border.

  27. Oakeshott Country,

    Just letting you know, I took your (and a few others’) advice and didn’t attend the party on Sunday. Nor did a few other people. The guest of honour was completely understanding.

  28. ‘Ante Meridian says:
    Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Oakeshott Country,

    Just letting you know, I took your (and a few others’) advice and didn’t attend the party on Sunday. Nor did a few other people. The guest of honour was completely understanding.’

    Good on you.

  29. Citizen science and COVID-19:

    We provide here is a list of some citizen science activities that anyone with a mobile phone or internet connection can actively participate in. Websites such as ACSA’s Project Finder, SciStarter and Zooniverse also provide an fantastic array of citizen science projects to explore. We will gradually add to this list and would welcome your suggestions: send us an email with your favourites.

  30. It’s getting to the point where people have to understand if you don’t turn up for a family gathering. It would be selfish not to.

  31. The Guardian

    For anyone still confused about schools, here are the changes:

    Victoria: schools are CLOSED, with the holidays brought forward to today.

    NSW: Schools are OPEN, although parents are encouraged to keep their kids at home, if they can.

    ACT: Schools are PUPIL FREE, although any students dropped off at school will be cared for.

    All other jurisdictions, schools are OPEN, although if parents wish to, they can keep their children at home, although they are responsible for ensuring they stay at home.

  32. That the government has finally seen fit to increase the payment

    Just to be clear, the government has not increased the job seeker payment, they’ve introduced a Corona virus co-payment which is initially only good for 6 months.
    I shudder to imagine what will happen if tens if not hundreds of thousands of people who will be struggling on $1065 a fortnight suddenly have to manage on $515.

  33. Last week, President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly referred to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” and claimed that associating the dangerous virus with Chinese people, against the strong urging of public health officials around the world, was “not racist at all.”

    Asian Americans across the United States had already described being publicly harassed, attacked, spat upon, and blamed for the spread of the virus. One New York City doctor, who runs the emergency department at a large Manhattan hospital, described being harassed last Wednesday night by three young men at a Home Depot while trying to buy protective gear for his hospital staff, the New York Times reported today. Some Asian Americans described being afraid to go out in public because of potential attacks.

    A few minutes ago, Trump’s Twitter account posted a message calling for the protection of “our Asian American community in the United States” and saying the virus is “not their fault.”

  34. Queensland by-elections: Tale of Two Cities

    There is so much else happening, Queenslanders and the media can be excused for being uninterested in two by-elections which are scheduled to be held alongside state-wide local government elections on March 28. But the future of both major party groupings could be dramatically affected if there is a viral-like surge of opinion away from the norm.

  35. I suppose some people might have been impressed, but I don’t think this is what we needed.

    ‘My prayer knees are getting a good work out’: PM’s coronavirus address

  36. Two things: We are hardwired to come together in adversity and loneliness itself is debilitating. The lockdowns are in conflict with the former, and exacerbating that latter.

    How Loneliness from Coronavirus Isolation Takes Its Own Toll:

  37. Rex Patrick
    Because I have no symptoms I still don’t qualify for a #COVID19Aus test. I could have gone to Parliament yesterday and been on the streets of Adelaide today, if not for my doctor overriding the Govt. The testing criteria needs to be changed! #auspol

  38. The dilemma that all governments face in dealing with the virus is to decided which is more important, the health of the populace or that of the economy.
    I sense Morrison and his crew are still in “keeping the economy healthy/alive” mode before it worries about the people………….It is a matter of priorities of course, but the real people – that is, those who drive the trucks, fill the shelves, teach the kids, tend to the sick, keep law and order and a host of others, are the sinews which make the economy survive.
    I noted Bojo has “instructed” the British people to go along with his plans for isolation. Truth be known, this is an idle threat as anyone – both there and here – realise that while we may talk about being “at war” there are not enough people in any kind of uniform/authority to enforce very much at all….
    Someone pointed out a few days ago that in China the PLA were on the streets – well not where I was a few weeks ago. The populace accepted the need to isolated and were highly disciplined for the most part.

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