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”

  1. EGT @12:28

    Very interesting. I guess the choke point is production of the machines themselves.

    Again, the number one question I want to see journalists ask Scomo and whathisface the CMO is “are you doing everything possible to enable mass testing?”

  2. Ok, so in my text description of the trends above, I was referring to data in which I had – to use the technical phrase – cocked it up.

    Here is a table with predictions and actuals, with CIs for your perusal. Draw your own conclusions – but note that the actuals bounce around a lot and each prediction is based on about 12 observations.

    Date Aus Prediction 0.90 lower CI 0.90 upper CI NSW Prediction 0.90 lower CI 0.90 upper CI VIC Prediction 0.90 lower CI 0.90 upper CI QLD Prediction 0.90 lower CI 0.90 upper CI
    03/23 1678 1675 1642 1707 669 646 627 665 355 377 361 392 319 326 301 351
    03/24 2051 2082 2045 2118 818 814 791 836 411 449 432 467 397 401 373 429
    03/25 2425 2541 2500 2582 1029 996 971 1020 466 516 496 537 443 498 467 530
    03/26 2800 2994 2943 3046 1219 1256 1226 1285 520 581 557 605 493 551 517 586
    03/27 – 3441 3373 3509 – 1484 1451 1518 – 644 616 671 – 609 572 646

  3. OK, so that’s updated with today’s figures (thanks LR and Blobbit).

    It shows a slowing over the last two days Aus-wide, and even in NSW, albeit after some nasty jumps above trend earlier in the week. A glimmer of hope?

    …and I’ve embarrassed myself enough for the evening, so it’s off to bed.

  4. Came across this case which seems rather unfair:
    ” I have driven a taxi cab in Cairns for 20 years and on Saturday I picked up a fare for an elderly couple who wanted to go to the hospital.
    At the end of the trip the man told me to wash my hands and went into the emergency .
    I then asked his wife what was happening and she told me that they had just returned from overseas..
    I then immediately wiped my hands with pinoclean wipes and disinfected the car with dettol as well as put eucalyptus oil under my nose.
    Today I have been locked out of working by the fleet manager of Cairns taxis as he has decided that I now have to prove that I don’t have corona before he will let me work again.
    Is this right and fair
    I cannot be tested because I show no symptons. ”
    Seems unjust .

  5. One last chart with updated forecasts and errors using today’s data:

    Remember the predictions are based on a crude average of the growth rate. There is no ARIMA modeling nor any of Mr Bowe’s LOWESS dark arts used here.

  6. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. I’m afraid I lapsed into a few profanities
    this morning but they were eminently justified.

    David Crowe says that it’s time to loosen the blindfolds and give us the transparency needed with virus figures.
    John Hewson writes that credibility has been the missing link in our battle against coronavirus.
    Anthony Albanese has outlined his manifesto for a post-pandemic Australia, flagging the need for sweeping changes to the industrial relations system and a massive expansion of social housing.
    In an excellent contribution expert in medical risk communication, Professor Julie Leask, says that our leaders need to take the public into their confidence in a way that will feel uncomfortable and new for some. They will need to constantly communicate the uncertainty and limitations of the knowledge behind decisions. People dislike uncertainty but a perception of obfuscation is worse because it diminishes trust.
    Australia is scared and confused about coronavirus. Is Scott Morrison the leader we need for this grave moment asks Richard Flannagan.
    We must keep as many people as possible in jobs, working fewer hours if necessary, and with the government supplementing incomes says Ken Henry.
    The Morrison government argues it is possible to make a distinction between saving lives and saving livelihoods. The real problem will be if this ends up being a false choice writes Jennifer Hewett.
    Luke Henriques-Gomes reveals that the federal government has privately admitted it will be forced to refund more than 400,000 welfare debts worth about $550m that were wrongly issued to hundreds of thousands of Australians under the botched robodebt scheme.
    Sydney’s eastern suburbs have become the epicentre of the battle to contain the spread of coronavirus in NSW, with Waverley and Woollahra local government areas accounting for nearly 15 per cent of confirmed cases in the state.
    The AFR reports that employers and unions have struck a deal to allow more than a million administrative staff to work irregular hours without extra penalties while working from home during the coronavirus crisis. The agreement reached on Thursday to save jobs under the clerks award will also reduce minimum hours of permanent and casual staff, allow work across classifications, and let employers direct employees to take leave and provide double leave at half pay.
    Waleed Aly says that the hairdresser ‘rulings’ have made a mockery of important social distance messaging.
    John Warhurst writes that media scrutiny of the national cabinet should continue to be intense – because public accountability must be maintained. As it stands, power has been centralised in a single untested institution.
    Nick Bonyhady reports that more than 280,000 people told Centrelink they needed financial support to cope with the coronavirus pandemic yesterday before 2.30pm.
    Designing and constructing an intensive care unit usually takes years. Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital built a new one in a week writes Kate Aubusson.
    A soccer match last month that sparked euphoria in Bergamo has taken on a much darker relevance says the Washington Post that described the match as a biological bomb.
    David Crowe tells us that the government is examining wider measures that would encourage business owners to see out the crisis rather than walk away from their companies and workers.
    The Australian tells us that thousands of Australian doctors, nurses and health workers will be given a tuberculosis vaccine in a trial that, if successful, could see it made widely available within three months to slow the spread of COVID-19. The BCG vaccine, given annually to 130 million children, has been found to boost immunity to viral respiratory tract infections, a key symptom of the coronavirus, making it a potential weapon to slow the spread of the virus.
    Melbourne socialites have exploded in acrimony over the COVID-19 outbreak enveloping the city’s wealthiest suburbs, after Australian skiers returning from Colorado were accused of clumsily spreading the killer virus. New data shows the wealthiest suburbs, including Toorak, South Yarra and Portsea, are at the centre­ of the coronavirus spread in Victoria, coming after an ill-fated ski season in Aspen that was marred by the outbreak that infected­ many Australians. Grrrr!
    To get on top of the coronavirus, we also need to test people without symptoms says Professor of Global Biosecurity C Raina MacIntyre.
    Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly Jonathan O’Dea does not want to see democracy halted by this virus. He calls for a virtual parliament. Can’t argue with that.
    Having been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the RBA is taking measures to ensure commercial banks can still function as lenders, writes Tom McCarthy.,13731
    It is estimated there are 7000 Australian travellers in Indonesia, including 4700 in the holiday hotspot of Bali and these represent a grave threat to virus control writes James Massola.
    Full attention is on the immediate COVID-19 battle of flattening the infamous curve – but that won’t mean the end of the health war by any means. Planning to win the war has to continue at the same time this battle is being fought writes Michael Pascoe.
    Elizabeth Knight tells us how Solomon Lew has pulled out the big guns in his stand-off with retail landlords as he refuses to pay rent for the 1250 stores he controls. He’s been itching for this.
    The SMH editorial calls for renters to be helped through this crisis. It says the financial consequences of the pandemic will drag on for years but ensuring Australians have a roof over their heads must be one of the top priorities.
    The Foreign Investment Board is bracing for Chinese takeovers of distressed Australian assets. The concern has sparked calls from Liberal MPs to revisit the criteria for FIRB approval of foreign acquisitions, including putting a greater emphasis on company links with foreign governments.
    The Morrison government’s newly-formed COVID-19 Commission has been called on to break an impasse between stevedoring, logistics and port operators and state governments which threatens to sever Australia’s global supply chains in a pandemic lockdown.
    The economic hit inflicted by coronavirus will cause more severe stress in Australia’s mortgage market than what was experienced during the global financial crisis, Standard & Poor’s says, with self-employed borrowers at the most risk.
    Michelle Grattan wonders which leaders and health experts will be on the right side of history on COVID-19 policy.
    When confronted by serious matters such as threats to public health and safety, the default position of right wingers is to wash their hands of it writes Michelle Pini as she discusses the Coalition, conservatives and the great unwashed PR campaign.,13730
    The energy market operator says Victoria and New South Wales are heading for a natural gas shortfall in winter months within four years as production from ExxonMobil and BHP’s Bass Strait gas fields rapidly declines.
    Economists have forecast house prices in Australia will fall following coronavirus-related restrictions on real estate operations and the mounting tally of huge job losses across the economy.
    APRA has called on industry superannuation funds to provide urgent information on their liquidity as well as estimates of emergency payouts caused by the coronavirus.
    Now that the global economy has been hit by a pandemic, we’re once again seeing the rise of weak monetary policies, writes Professor John Quiggin.,13724
    How to survive working from home with young kids. This organisational behaviourist makes some good points.
    AD Astra writes, “We can only hope that the great awakening the LNP is now experiencing will cast the scales from its eyes and make it more sensitive to the earnestly offered advice of the many experts who in good faith put forward an opinion. LNP ministers are not the economic magicians they fancied they were. Hopefully they now realise that and will listen more attentively.”
    The contrast could hardly be more stark. In a world that is shutting up shop to try to slow the insidious spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump is calling for America to reopen writes The Australian’s Cameron Stewart in Washington.
    Hand sanitiser has been a hard-to-find commodity for some weeks, and people are increasingly turning to recipes to make their own at home but experts are warning against this pursuit.
    A record 3.3 million people filed claims for unemployment in the US last week as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down large parts of America’s economy and the full scale of the impact of the crisis began to emerge.
    According to Bloomberg prices, having collapsed by about 60 per cent this year, Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude have stabilised at around $US25 a barrel, but the price rout is far deeper for actual cargoes, which are changing hands at large and widening discounts to the global benchmarks. The discounts mean that in the physical market, some crude streams are trading at $US15, $US10 and even as little as $US8 a barrel.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz looks at the oil industry’s supply surge and demand shock.
    The economy versus our lives? It’s a false choice – and a deeply stupid one writes Siva Vaidhyanathan in the wake of the idiot Trump’s latest ravings.
    As coronavirus exposes a failing Trump, New Yorkers look to ‘the new Giuliani’ namely Mayor Andrew Cuomo.
    Donald Trump’s biographer and Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston investigates the US stimulus plan and finds, unless a lot more is done, the country faces depression.
    It’s getting tough in Alice Springs for police to enforce social distancing.
    Will COVID-19 mark the end of European liberalism?
    Groups of ultra-Orthodox Jews have held prayer meetings in Melbourne this week in defiance of strict social-distancing rules designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. State MPs blasted the groups who met late at night in small private venues to conduct daily “minyan” prayers, a type of worship that requires the presence of 10 or more Jewish men. Fucking idiots – just LOOK at them!
    US gun industry groups are engaged in an intense attempt to persuade state and federal lawmakers that gun shops should be considered “essential” businesses during the coronavirus crisis, and therefore allowed to stay open. I think that says it all about that fucked up society!

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Jim Pavlidis

    Matt Golding

    Simon Letch

    John Shakespeare

    Andrew Dyson

    David Pope

    Peter Broelman

    Alan Moir

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  7. Sir Thomas Wynn


    A man who was on the Ruby Princess went back to work as a delivery driver in Newcastle NSW. It was only when his neighbours realized he was working they told him & he stopped driving & self isolated.

    He has now tested positive. His contacts still don’t know!

  8. The good thing about the hyper religious (be they Jewish, Christian, pseudo Christian or Muslim) is that they’ll get to validate if their God protects them.
    Of course the danger this behaviour represents to any innocent third party validates to the rest of the world what a mob of hypocritical, selfish arsehats the average God botherer is.

  9. One of Australia’s biggest life insurers has moved to cut off payouts to customers who die from COVID-19, including frontline doctors fighting the deadly virus.

    An internal document from insurer TAL, obtained by the ABC, reveals the company has begun adding an exclusion clause for the coronavirus in new insurance policies.

    “No benefit will be payable under this cover for any claim resulting directly or indirectly from COVID-19, any related condition or infection or any complication thereof,” the clause reads.

    The exclusion applies to some policies sold through insurance brokers or directly by TAL, but does not affect existing customers or people who take out life insurance through their superannuation.

  10. Lizzie, I can’t see any problem with that exclusion. It is similar to the eliminating flood/inundation cover to houses built in flood prone areas. If the exclusion wasn’t there, the premiums would go up.

    Don’t forget this is for all NEW policies. Existing holders will still have the cover.

  11. Murdoch family took serious precautions against coronavirus as Fox News downplayed risk to public

    The Murdoch family, which owns Fox News, took precautions against the new coronavirus as the network’s hosts downplayed the risk posed by the pandemic on TV.

    The family abruptly canceled Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s 89th birthday party at his California estate on March 8 “out of concern for the patriarch’s health,” according to The New York Times’ Ben Smith.

    Smith previously reported that Lachlan Murdoch, who runs the news network, “knew the virus was coming” in January, because he was “getting regular updates from the family’s political allies and journalists in his father’s native Australia.”

  12. Murdoch family took serious precautions against coronavirus as Fox News downplayed risk to public

    The Murdoch family, which owns Fox News, took precautions against the new coronavirus as the network’s hosts downplayed the risk posed by the pandemic on TV.

    Yes, just like 2GB which quickly spirited Alan Jones off to isolation to broadcast from his rural NSW property while allowing him to dismiss the risks of coronavirus on air to his listeners.

  13. ‘Are you on glue?’: Twitter scoffs at WSJ op-ed claiming coronavirus crisis is Trump’s ‘path to greatness’

    This Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Daniel Henninger where he theorized that if President Trump is successful in rallying the nation against the coronavirus outbreak, it could be his “path to greatness” as a president.

    Trump will be remembered as a great president if he rises above the pettiness of our times and rallies the U.S. through the coronavirus crisis, writes @DanHenninger

    – Nope! He’ll be remembered as the potus who waited months too long to act on this mega human crisis because he was afraid of what it meant to the market and his election!
    – What NONSENSE. You are trying to prop up a sociopathic, lying monster who could have prevented much of this horror if he had acted responsibly and humanely. Drs. and scientists had been telling him and his regime about the grave threat and he called it a hoax.

  14. Blobbit says: Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    “If only we had some sort of Commonwealth owned Serum Laboratory.”
    If only we had a Commonwealth gubmint that knew what it was doing instead of much vibble-vobbling.

    I wonder when Scotty from Marketing is going to announce a fourth in the future bonus stimulus package like the other in the future three packages. He could call it TRGTGCSBP.

  15. Rick Wilson blowing up on a troll :

    Rick Wilson‏Verified account @TheRickWilson

    1/ A Trump supporter sends: “You are full of hate for Donald Trump.”


    Yes, I am.

    Hate is the rational emotion when a man like Trump puts the lives of millions in jeopardy for political benefit.

    Hate is the rational emotion when he knew what was coming and lied.

    2/ “But he’s dumb,” you say, “He couldn’t have known.”

    Fuck you. You want the big job, read the briefings and do the work.

    “It wasn’t a lie, he was just trying to keep up our economy.”

    Fuck you. He had months to help prepare this country. Again, his *job*.

    3/ “It’s not his fault! It’s the Chinese.”

    Fine. Whatever. That doesn’t change undo the fact that he lied about the coming crisis for seven weeks.

    He’s calculating the tradeoff of god-knows-how-many lives so he can juice the marker, reopen his fucking hotels and go golfing.

  16. lizzie says:
    Friday, March 27, 2020 at 8:04 am

    So if you die from Covid-19 it’s your own fault, just like building on a flood plain?

    That is a weird conclusion to what I said.

    It is about risk assessment and compensation. Insurance is a way of mitigating the negative impacts of an event by sharing the risk with others.

    If the events are likely to happen and the outcome is catastrophic, other people do not what to share the risk.

    Fault doesn’t come into it.

  17. Phillip Moore
    82 tonnes of medical supplies including 100,000 coveralls & 900,000 medical gloves sent overseas in February by foreign owned “property investors”. Where was our government while this was going on?

    Not even worth asking the question any more.

  18. Morning

    As the realisation starts to sink in that this is indeed a long term change concepts like the Universal Basic Income will become the norm.

    We already have seen the start of it with Mr Albanese rightly pointing out massive social housing programmes are going to be needed.

    Rent free or not people are going to need income to purchase food.

    The old neo liberal let the market rip has had its mask covering the cruelty for the majority.

    It’s world wide and cannot be escaped and that bastion of the neo liberal the US is moving faster than Australia. Followed by the UK with its UBI in all but name.

    There will be no return to normal. There is massive revolutionary change coming. That’s in the political sense.

    One of those changes is that younger people will a greater percentage of the surviving world population. This as the existing power structures are undermined as the wealthy lose their grip on institutions like the media.

    This is good news for progressives. Very bad news for the followers of the likes of Milton Friedman.

  19. Over the years I’ve noticed there is one branch of the Rupertarium that frequently goes against Rupe policy and publishes honest articles about climate change etc. This article from them definitely not pumping up Scrott the way other branches of the “evil empire” have been.

    That clarity is the most important thing a leader can offer in a crisis. And in this instance, Australia – and our leaders – have not measured up.

    In their attempts to ease fears, they have too often confused people with contradictory messages, contributing to the sort of complacency about social distancing we saw in London recently – or yes, even at Bondi Beach.

    Think back to Friday, March 13, when Mr Morrison announced that events with more than 500 attendees would be banned from the following Monday. In the meantime, he said, he was still planning to go to the footy

    Mr Morrison ended up skipping his NRL game, incidentally, but not because he wanted to set a less contradictory example. He merely said he did not want his attendance to be “misrepresented” by the media.

    That is not the only time the government’s message has been muddled.

    This week Mr Morrison announced the convoluted news that shopping centres will stay open, but food courts inside those shopping centres must shut – unless they are only doing takeaway, in which case they can remain open too.

  20. Palmer Report‏Verified account @PalmerReport

    I look forward to a time when Trump is locked up and the rest of us are allowed to go outside.

  21. From the article. FMD , they have just been making it up as they go along, no prep at all.

    On Sunday, when Mr Morrison announced “stage one” of a national shutdown, he was asked directly what stage two would look like.

    “You mentioned stage two of this shutdown. What is it, and what triggers it?” a reporter asked.

    “Well stage two has not been defined, and it has not yet even been defined if it will be necessary,” Mr Morrison replied.

  22. Not exactly a ‘national’ cabinet, is it?

    ABC NewsRadio@ABC_NewsRadio
    The National Cabinet will meet again this morning to discuss further responses to #coronavirusau.

    NSW and Vic are reportedly considering going it alone and imposing stage 3 lockdowns.

    At 7.15am @sandyaloisi speaks to Political Reporter @TomMcIlroy from the @FinancialReview

  23. Tea Pain‏ @TeaPainUSA

    Tea Pain Retweeted BBC News (World)

    Mexico crackin’ down on illegals crossin’ the border.

    Coronavirus: Mexicans demand crackdown on Americans crossing the border

    Mexican protesters have shut a US southern border crossing amid fears that untested American travellers will spread coronavirus.

    Residents in Sonora, south of the US state of Arizona, have promised to block traffic into Mexico for a second day after closing a checkpoint for hours on Wednesday.

    They wore face masks and held signs telling Americans to “stay at home”.

    Mexico has fewer than 500 confirmed Covid-19 cases and the US over 65,000.

  24. Remember how often Morrison and friends have said proudly “We have a PLAN” about something or other.
    This is another example of gaslighting, just like “We are keeping you SAFE”.

    They wouldn’t recognise a Plan if it leapt up and bit them. They live in the moment and lie when things go wrong.

  25. lizzie

    Remember how often Morrison and friends have said proudly “We have a PLAN” about something or other.

    It is Liberal Party SOP. Aided and abetted by the effing press. Remember in the lead up to Abbott being elected, even afterwards, they constantly said “We have a plan” for any number of issues. What “The Plan” was of course remained a mystery and our ace reporters sure did not ensure answers were given. They did however cheerfully report that Hockey/Abbott or whoever “had a plan”.

  26. He also uses the analogy of getting into a plane and the pilot announces that despite having 2 engines out they’re taking off anyway because the risk outweighs the potential boredom of sitting around in an airport.

    The United States is about to overtake Italy as the country with the largest number of active coronavirus cases. As of Tuesday, we had more than 50,000 confirmed cases (the actual number is far higher) and about 700 deaths. The number of infected people continues to double every three days, meaning we will have more than 100,000 cases by Friday. Yet what Trump is hearing from the right-wing echo chamber — and now translating into policy — is that the cure is worse than the disease. As Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted: “A global recession would be worse for our people than the Great Depression.”

    To revive the economy, some on the “pro-life” right are shockingly explicit in their willingness to sacrifice the lives of the aged and infirm. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Fox News that senior citizens should be “willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren.”

    This is like something out of a dystopian science fiction movie (“Logan’s Run,” to be exact): kill our elders so that our children may enjoy a better life. I want to scream: You are not going to sacrifice my older friends and relatives on the altar of the Dow Jones industrial average! But leave aside the profound immorality of this very concept; it is also inherently impractical.

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