Essential Research: coronavirus and attitudes to China

A major souring in Australians’ attitudes to China but little change on coronavirus (at least since last week), according to the latest Essential poll.

Another week, another Essential Research coronavirus poll — this one focusing on attitudes to China, which have notably soured. As related by The Guardian, respondents were asked if they had a favourable or unfavourable view of China’s influences on Australian life, which produced a net rating of minus 30% on trade, compared with plus 1% last August, and a net rating of minus 40% for Chinese business operating in Australia, down from minus 21%. There were also scores of minus 26% for defence, minus 36% for politics and minus 9% for culture. Conversely, the United States scored net positive scores, albeit that these were quite a lot bigger for defence (plus 29%), business (plus 15%) and trade (plus 14%) than politics (plus 2%) and culture (plus 7%).

Asked which relationship would be more beneficial to strengthen, 42% favoured the US and 18% China, compared with 38% and 28% last August. Respondents had two bob each way on trade in that 53% thought Australia “needs to do all it can to avoid a trade war with China”, with 17% opposed, but 48% felt Australia should impose retaliatory tariffs, with 22% opposed. The poll found “more than half” believe China’s trade sanctions against Australia were motivated by the government’s call for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

The poll continued its weekly suite of questions on coronavirus, recording no change on the government’s handling of the crisis, which was rated positively by 73% and negatively by 11%. Levels of concern little changed on last week (79% either very or quite concerned, down one, and 21% either not at all or not that concerned, up one). A divide appears to be opening on restrictions, with higher responses for both lifting them as soon as possible (up five to 14%) and holding off (up two to 27%). The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1087; a full report should be published later today.

Note that below this post is a dedicated thread for the Eden-Monaro by-election, which you are encouraged to use if you have something specific to say on that subject.

UPDATE: Full report 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.

2,091 comments on “Essential Research: coronavirus and attitudes to China”

  1. Mexican

    You try.

    It might help you understand why neoliberal ideology is dead.

    Today even the Reserve Bank was saying no to Austerity.

  2. @SerkanTheWriter tweets

    News Corp fired all those poorly paid, no-name journalists today so it could continue publishing loss-making, pro Liberal Party, billionaire loving racist propaganda at The Australian and Daily Tele.

    That’s the story of how much Australian media sucks. And why we need to fight.

  3. Mexicanbeemer
    If big business, labour hire firms and the ” market knows best mob” hadn’t undermined the workforce, to the extent that whole industries are run on casual labor, then millions wouldn’t be on Jobseeker, they would have qualified for jobkeeper. Many would have had leave entitlements to help them through this emergency. They would have had more than a one week buffer between them and poverty.

    Unfortunately we have reached, or are fast approaching, a period when ethical employers who are willing to pay a fair price for people’s labor and skills are being forced out of business to cement the wealth of a few. Morrison talks of helping the aspirationals, at the moment a lot of them have found themselves on the scrap heap. Aspiration won’t get you far theses days if you don’t have wealth or luck on your side.

  4. The Greens vote percentage is higher than that of the Nationals.

    The Nationals percentage of MPs is higher than that of the Greens

  5. Hi Player One,
    I hope you don’t mind me posting again about this, but based on your reply yesterday, my own recollections, and the Social Security policy copied below, I am genuinely concerned that your claim has been incorrectly assessed by Centrelink.

    Please read the policy below, particularly in the context of example 2 at the end.
    Assessment of business income
    Income from a sole trader or partnership business is the net amount:
    • AFTER allowable expenses for the cost of running the business, AND
    • BEFORE income tax and other personal deductions.
    For assessment purposes the current annual rate of income is used, *GENERALLY * based on the most recent income tax return.
    To calculate the effect of income on fortnightly payments, the annual rate should be divided into 26 equal instalments and then treated as ordinary income in each fortnight.

    (Player One – Dont forget that expenses can include (where applicable) non cash expenses such as depreciation (Div 40 ITAA 1997) and Capital Works (‘building depreciation’) (Div 43 ITAA 1997.)

    * When your most recent income tax return is not representative of current income *

    If the income tax return does not represent a reasonable indication of current income, * an estimate may be made on available evidence, such as the business profit and loss statement .* Estimates made in this manner should generally be maintained for a period of 3 months and then reassessed.

    Note: As a Business Activity Statement (BAS) does not contain any actual reconciliation of expenses, it CANNOT replace the annual income tax return for sole traders and partnerships. However, it could be used as an indicator of a significant change in the business circumstances.

    When the income of a business changes or is anticipated to change, the recipient should notify Centrelink. Their need for income support will be reassessed and a new annual rate set. In most circumstances, this rate should then be reassessed every 3 months until an income tax return is available which is representative of the recipient’s current financial circumstances.

    Example: A self-employed courier driver enters into a new contract that will significantly alter their ongoing profit. A new annual rate based on this change in circumstances should be maintained from the date of the change in circumstances.

    Example: A person owns a café and due to health restrictions because of COVID-19, the café is only allowed to serve take-away drinks and food. During this period, their income drops which significantly reduces their ongoing profit.

    *** A new annual rate based on this change in circumstances should be maintained from the date of the change in circumstances***

    Holdenhillbilly may also have something more to contribute, given his / her knowledge and experience, which is doubtlessly at a higher level and highly likely to be more recent then mine.

  6. BK @ #1748 Thursday, May 28th, 2020 – 12:44 pm

    In the event of Palmer being successful in the High Court over border closures would, I wonder, be compliant with such a ruling that a state could declare an area bounded by lines one metre inside the borders as an intrastate infection control area and apply the same movement and quarantine rules that currently are being used.
    It’s only a matter of size inside the borders, isn’t it?

    Cute!!! 🙂

  7. Mexican

    Nope. I am laser focused. Neoliberalism for profit ideology is wrong.

    We now have proof. People not business or the economy are what count for government.

    We now know we can shut business and the economy down to keep people safe. Thats the lesson. People count.

  8. Assantdj
    That would still have happened with a government run employment placement service because it is the same government that has created the issues around jobkeeper and jobseeker/dole.

  9. I have heard of two people who had casual work but one seems to be on Jobseeker and one on Jobkeeper. I’m wondering how easy it is to ‘rort’ the applications.

  10. Mexicanbeemer – I see the flaw in your line of argument: engaging with Guytaur when he’s off on one of his magical Greentaur mystery tours …

  11. shellbell
    I mentioned in passing that there was a need for better vetting of Order of Australia recipients. I did not name him or the other chap, but he is one of two OA recipients charged with serial child sex abuse over extended periods.

  12. Guytaur
    It has always been in the health systems plans for responding to a pandemic. Your ramblings are not even close to how the labour market works.

  13. AE

    Mexican opened it up talking about employers all the time. No empathy with the jobseeker. No its all got to be the employer.

    Are you outing yourself as against the workers and jobseekers?

  14. BW

    The brutality at Daruk reminds of retired High Court Justice Michael McHugh’s observation that a life in the law taught him that some people’s depraved acts are only constrained by physics or WTTE.

  15. Todays covid report for Victoria

    Print Share
    Media release
    28 May 2020
    The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Victoria is 1628 – an increase of 10 since yesterday.

    There have been no new deaths reported. To date, 19 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.

    There have been 165 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria that may have been acquired through unknown transmission, a reduction from yesterday following investigations linking 18 people to known cases.

    Currently eight people are in hospital, including three patients in intensive care. 1544 people have recovered.

    Of the total 1628 cases, there have been 1347 in metropolitan Melbourne and 236 in regional Victoria. Several cases remain under investigation. The total number of cases is made up of 860 men and 768 women. More than 480,000 tests have been processed to date.

    A second case of COVID-19 has been detected in a staff member at the Rydges on Swanston, Melbourne.

    The source of acquisition for both cases remains under investigation and all potential sources of transmission will be explored.

    All close contacts of both staff members have been contacted and placed into quarantine. None of the close contacts identified are hotel guests at this stage.

    Thorough cleaning of relevant parts of the hotel has been undertaken, alongside other appropriate public health actions including contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.

    The hotel is not currently open to the public. There are some returned overseas travellers observing their quarantine at the hotel.

    Potential links between the staff members and positive cases among travellers at the site are being investigated. As a precaution, all staff who have worked in the hotel since early May have been offered testing.

    Of yesterday’s other cases, three were detected in returned travelers in hotel quarantine, and six cases were detected in household contacts, including five members of one household. All household members are in isolation and contact tracing is under way.

    There were no new cases linked to outbreaks in aged care centres.

    “Today’s increase in cases illustrates once again that while we have been flattening the curve, our battle against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.

  16. On industrial relations

    Michael J. Biercuk
    Our whole discussion is being framed around industries that were dominant in the last century.

    It’s 2020. Time to let new players building new industries shape the pathway forward.

  17. Guytaur
    You want to help the job seeker then you need to help them find a job. The government doesn’t even hire from its own system which speaks volumes. Businesses are closed by order of the government not because of some industrial dispute but maybe your bong shop works differently.

  18. Mexican

    You want to help the job seeker you find them a quality job. You don’t deliver them to slavery and exploitation.

    We know the for profit system is designed to increase profits at the expense of workers. Nice of you to repeat the LMP mantra almost word for word. You almost did the best welfare is a job line.

    All so you can argue a government agency cannot do the job. Thats so you can avoid having to look after the people seeking work but make sure the power structure is for the employers.

    As I said to you. The Commonwealth Employment Service existed. It worked.
    There is a role for a government agency. Its already happened. The only argument you can provide is to claim private is better than government. A very neo liberal argument.

    I disagree. I think government does a better job because its in their interests to get votes.

  19. Kevin Rudd
    And what happens now to Murdoch’s share of the $50M grant handed out by the Morrison government to keep these papers running? Why are taxpayers subsidising this American billionaire? And where is the outrage from the Libs & Nats, whom Murdoch backs in virtually every election?

  20. Guytaur
    The mainstream recruitment industry works closely with unions and the reason why there are problems with the government’s current system is because it is at the bottom of the labour market. A CES was not in the business of policing wages and conditions because that is the role of the industrial relations system.

  21. guytaur
    As I said to you. The Commonwealth Employment Service existed. It worked.
    There is a role for a government agency. Its already happened.
    I support neither a public nor private employment service. I think unemployed people should be left alone to determine their own priorities. This would save a fortune and allow those people with mental health problems to access services without the threat of these people breathing down their neck. Just make the unemployed benefit open to those who meet the asset test, don’t penalise or cut them off. The savings from all these ’employment’ services could be used for an increased benefit.

  22. Nath
    Bingo and the government should be helping those that want to find a job while helping those with issues to hopefully overcome them.

  23. Fargo 61 & Player 1 – you have correctly identified that Centrelink assesses the current rate of income which in many cases is lower than in the 2018/19 financial year.

    Centrelink has a profit and loss statement for a person to estimate current net business income over the last 3 months (or other appropriate period). It will be assessed by a complex assessment officer (CAO) and if a person is not happy with the decision then an ARO can review the decision.

  24. shellbell
    I honestly don’t know how some kids survived at all. Many ended up serving a life sentence of mental anguish and/or illness or simply did not survive.
    I am fragile on the matter as a direct result of being a border in a Marist school for four years.
    One of my former teachers was jailed recently for child sex offences involving students at the school he went to after he left my school. He may have inflicted his pedophilia on my classmates. One suicided the year after he left school. I don’t know the circumstances.
    I did not know it at the time but Macnamara (his teaching name during my time was Brother Camillus) was probably my first brush with a psychopath. I was absolutely terrified of him. I used to sweat with terror when he approached me in the classroom. Inter alia I changed my subject mix to minimize classroom and out-of-classroom contact with him. This had a direct and life long impact on my career prospects because I ended up studying subjects I was much less interested in. I did not know then that he was a pedophile and, in fact, I did not even know that pedophilia existed.
    He used the cane so ferociously that blood blisters/bleeding happened.
    He punched kids. He pulled their ears. He threw objects at kids in the classroom. He used a yard ruler to smash bent-over kids in the front of the class. He deafened a kid with a blow to the ear. He broke another kid’s arm. He threw another kid out of a classroom window.
    He should have been charged with a whole series of assault causing actually bodily harm.
    I would be reasonably sure that the local cops were in the know.
    The parents knew.
    The other brothers knew.
    After all of that he was promoted into St Paul’s eventually becoming, I believe, its headmaster or head sportsmaster.
    He is now in chokey for what is possibly the third (?) set of convictions having to do with multiple incidents of child sex abuse. No remorse.
    When I perused the newspaper accounts and saw that he was inside I felt a maelstrom of emotions including a shedload of vindictive glee.

  25. Handy gardening hints.

    Don’t lean on front gate to wave “Bye Bye” to senior daughter after trip to GP – without first checking for lines of little black ants running along top of gate.

    New knowledge gleaned today –

    Parliamentarians and associated hangers are sometimes known as

    Visit to GP OK. Had flu shot and now back to regular program. 💉

  26. Mexican

    You keep coming up with excuses to deny the reality of the power structure in labour hire companies.

    Its very simple no matter how many times you repeat your bs.

    The labour hire companies have the whip hand.


    I agree. Of course if a Universal Basic Income existed there would be no argument.
    We do only have government involved because of “Mutual Obligations”.
    Remove that and bingo a lot of this crap goes away. No more assuming people are criminals first.

    Edit: Without the “Mutual Obligation” we could assess honestly which is better at getting jobs for people a government or private agency. The incentives would be entirely different.

  27. guytaur @ #1773 Thursday, May 28th, 2020 – 3:05 pm

    I think government does a better job because its in their interests to get votes.

    That’s where it falls over. You’re neglecting that a lot of people actually want to give their votes to the government that says it will do the least amount of things for the smallest cost and with the least amount of tax. They don’t care if their peers are thrown for the wolves if it saves a bit off their PAYG tab. They’re confident that the wolves only ever come for someone else.

    Not saying those people are right. But they exist; in quantity. And you can get votes by pandering to them. 🙁

  28. Guytaur
    I’m not making excuses about anything because most people do not find employment through the centrelink system.

  29. Just watching a data science data analytics a pac + japan online summit and they just suggested we will see 7 trillion dollars of investment in data analytics over the next 5 years globally.

    That is a lot of jobs that will disappear.


  30. Mexicanbeemer
    I disagree, a government run scheme would have focused on real jobs and employers would not have been encouraged to support the casualization of the workforce.
    Everything about our current employment services is about supporting private profit, from encouraging a roundabout for labour hire to make money, to subsidising employers to take on long term unemployed, wage theft, universities using short term contracts, penalising unions, cutting penalties, mutual obligations forcing people into unsuitable work, demonising people for not getting jobs that don’t exist to name but a very few. All of these things have been designed to undervalue labour to increase the company profits.

    I will be very surprised if people haven’t learnt a stark lesson from this pandemic. I predict that people will be much more willing to listen to unions and organise to try to reset the employer/employee relationship. If Morrison wasn’t worried about this he wouldn’t have invited Sally McManus to his Roundtable.

  31. Victoria update

    I have heard unconfirmed claims that 12 schools across Victoria have c19 outbreaks:

    – 7 Melbourne
    – 4 Ballarat area
    -1 regional / rural

    Can anyone confirm please?

  32. These days employment exchanges can be set up relatively easily on the internet.
    This would do for more most cases of frictional unemployment.
    Cost to anyone would be minimal.

    The same platform could provide careers information for secondary and tertiary students.
    But putting together reliable and useful careers information requires skilled people lots of time.

    Apart from frictional unemployment and students, there are what might be termed unemployed with some sort of personal barrier to employment. These require a good mix of targeted training, learning and support.

    For some this includes some with an aversion to work. Such people exist! Distorting investment to chase these people around the employment paddock has little impact, IMO.

    With the recent structural high unemployment and underemployment levels there is not a whole lot of point badgering people in any category to undertake mutual obligations. Those with an aversion to work will generally find ways of avoiding work.

    It is better to focus energy on those want to work but can’t get work.

  33. I’m not making excuses about anything because most people do not find employment through the centrelink system.

    The greatest trick the Murdochs and Putins of the world have pulled over the last 40 years is to convince people that the only tool of power we have, ie democratic government, isn’t good at anything. That there is nothing we should use if for.

    This is absolutely insane and it is inconsistent with democracy. Look at the US where they believe that Govt is incapable of running a healthcare system.

    That kind of insanity has taken root all over the democratic world and is crippling belief in democracy and democracy itself.

    We don’t really have a Government entity that tries to find people jobs. Instead we funnel billions to private enterprises who are incentive to cut off peoples benefits more than they are to actually help. Being cruel might be understandable if it wasn’t also so very stupid and self defeating.

  34. Victoria

    From a friend in Dept of Education.

    As mentioned just unconfirmed reports at this stage.

    My friend was in meltdown

    Even if it is one or two schools we are in serious trouble.

  35. Gladys pretending that shanking NSW public servants was a difficult decision. Bullshit meter hits 100%.

    It is one of those fist pumping “YES!!” moments that Liberals live for.


    3 April – Palaszczuk’s Campbell Newman moment: freezing public sector wages in a time of coronavirus

    Analysis: Move has angered unions who say she has ‘thrown frontline workers to the wolves’ when they are most needed

    But this week Palaszczuk backed down and took Newman’s advice. In a morning television interview, she announced modest public sector wage increases would be placed on hold. Coronavirus or not, 2020 is an election year in Queensland and the seemingly unscripted comments have angered several unions and placed Palaszczuk on an unfamiliar footing.

    Many of those in limbo are frontline workers – including health, education and other staff working on the coronavirus response.

    Those unions say the first they heard the government was considering such a move was when told about Palaszczuk’s comments. Worse for the premier, some even raised the spectre of Newman.


    6 April – AWU

    Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to unilaterally announce a public sector wage freeze without any consultation or discussion has left Queensland’s frontline health care workers angry and upset.


    9 April – Exclusive: in principle agreement was shelved after Annastacia Palaszczuk announced public sector payrises would be put ‘on hold’

    Palaszczuk’s Campbell Newman moment: freezing public sector wages in a time of coronavirus

    Frontline health workers in Queensland have been denied a promised pay increase because they agreed to prioritise coronavirus preparations ahead of finalising an industrial agreement, their union says.

    Last week, the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, blindsided the union movement and announced during a television interview that agreed public sector pay increases were “on hold” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Alex Scott, the secretary of the Together union that represents much of the state’s public service, said frontline health professionals had trusted the government not to “rat on the deal” for better pay, agreed in principle last year.

    The deal would have given hospital workers in Queensland – excluding doctors and nurses, who have a separate agreement – their first pay increase in two years.


    8 May, Queensland Teachers Union – Government demands pay freeze for teachers and all public sector workers:

    ETU – Qld Government Wage Freeze -Premier’s kneejerk comment leaves workers feeling abandoned – Frontline essential workers feel betrayed by Labor Government

    27 May -NT public servants breathe easy as counterparts in NSW, QLD suffer 12-month wage freeze

  36. Steven

    Is it the same friend who worked in the Public transport dept who told you that the system was going to be shutdown.
    Or your other contact who said Victoria was going to stage 4 lockdown

  37. BW

    Thats true even with a Universal Basic Income in place.

    See Andrew Yang for how it works.

    The whole incentives change as only those that want to work will. That includes a lot of essential workers. As we have seen there are many many more of those than was thought before.

    Recognising that we have never had full employment and never will is a good thing especially as jobs get fewer and fewer in the future as automation takes hold. I won’t say jobs exported overseas as it seems the voters want local manufacturing by hook or by crook as we saw our supply lines disrupted.

    In a military sense this is vital to the protection of Australians too. After all the damage of a bio weapon is too readily seen today.

  38. Nothing quite as funny as a VP of Coca-cola talking about ‘democratizing’ data. By which they mean allowing employees of Coca-cola to access data to sell coke better.

    The public sector probably can’t afford to employ the people to actually use data for democracy.

  39. Mexicanbeemer
    I started really thinking about this issue today when I was reading about the mutual obligations being pursued, even though they are technically paused.

    Labour hire firms are about to make a mint. Every person on Jobseeker will now be assigned a provider and will be paid for everyone placed, irrespective
    of any involvement in getting that person work. For example a casual at the local hardware, not granted Jobkeeper because although a long term casual they took a holiday over Christmas. They get Jobseeker and are assigned a provider, go to their old employee when it reopens and return to work. Labor hire then gets paid for placement, and again at 12 weeks and 6 months.

    Another example of Liberal incompetence or designed to help out liberal mates

  40. Using the CSSE / Johns Hopkins web site, one can see the infection curves for individual US states, and look to see which are slowing accelerating etc

    Overall growth appears to be slowing somewhat.

    Individual states (descending order of total infections):
    NY – slowing
    NJ – slowing
    IL – possibly slowing
    CA – probably accelerating
    MA – slowing
    PA – slowing
    TX – probably accelerating
    MI – slowing
    FL – unclear (constant or possibly slowing)
    MD – possibly slowing
    GA – possibly accelerating
    CT – slowing
    VA – probably accelerating
    LA – unclear (early outbreak controlled, now possibly accelerating)
    OH – unclear (early outbreak controlled, now possibly slowing)
    IN – possibly slowing
    NC – accelerating
    CO – probably slowing
    MN – constant
    TN – possibly accelerating
    WA – constant
    IA – constant
    AZ – probably accelerating
    WI – accelerating
    AL – accelerating
    RI – slowing
    MS – constant
    NE – constant
    MO – possibly slowing
    SC – possibly accelerating
    KS – slowing
    DE – possibly slowing
    KY – constant
    UT – possibly slowing
    DC – possibly slowing
    NV – possibly slowing
    NM – possibly slowing
    AR – unclear (probably accelerating)
    OK – constant
    SD – unclear
    NH – possibly slowing
    OR – possibly slowing
    ID – unclear
    ND – unclear
    ME – possibly accelerating
    WV – unclear
    VT – slowing
    WY – unclear
    HI – slowing
    MT – slowing
    AK – slowing

    In my view, concerns would be:
    – national data clearly driven by slowing in (most of) current top 10, masking current first/second derivative behaviour and inhibiting easy prediction
    – slowing in (most of) top 10 very likely benefiting from seasonal effects
    – some large states accelerating (fortunately, no state could be worse placed than NY was)
    – bad data (leading to “unclear” results) concealing who knows what
    – detection rate limited by testing capacity (perhaps the most obvious explanation for constant growth)

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