Essential Research: protests, union power and coronavirus policies

Support for anti-racism protests, though perhaps not right now; a mixed bag of outlooks on the trade union movement; and concern that coronavirus support is being withdrawn too early.

As reported by The Guardian, this week’s Essential Research survey focuses on black lives matter protests, union power and the government’s coronavirus policies, producing a mixed bag of results on each:

• Sixty-two per cent felt protesters were “justified in their demands for authorities to address the issue of Indigenous deaths in custody”, but 61% felt “the situation in America is very different to Australia and has no relevance”, and 84% felt protests amid the pandemic put the community at risk.

• Sixty per cent rated unions as very important or quite important for working people, and 74% felt they provided essential services, but 62% thought them too politically biased and 58% agreed that “union protection makes it difficult for employers to discipline, terminate or even promote employees”.

• Sixty-four per cent expressed concern about how the withdrawal of Jobkeeper subsidies “would sit with any second wave of the pandemic”, 53% considered the government had broken a promise by withdrawing payments for childcare workers, 55% thought it too soon to remove support and 43% supported extending free childcare (up seven points on a month ago), but 57% thought the government needed to withdraw help from “some industries”.

The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1087; a full report will be published later today.

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.

1,991 comments on “Essential Research: protests, union power and coronavirus policies”

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  1. Bridget Rollason
    @bridgerollo
    ·
    6h
    Why is Victoria experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases and other states aren’t?
    Why is Victoria experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases and other states aren’t?
    Dozens of new coronavirus cases have been recorded in Australia in the past week and the majority of those are from Victoria. However, while the numbers for Victoria are increasing, they’re not…
    abc.net.au

  2. Boo hoo:

    [So Law students who require few teaching resources will be subsidizing science, engineering, nursing and IT students]

    Where is the justice?

    Good to see law students are the hosts.

    ________

    Seriously, today’s announcement underscores the absurdity of tuition fees for Australian residents. A clever nation invests in its young people and doesn’t see them as a resource extraction point.

    I used to support HECs when it was first introduced, as the Hawke-Keating Government was promised isn’t to invest in new universities in working class areas. At least they were good to their promise. Unfortunately Howard happened and the system has become ever more debaunched over the past 25 years.

    It’s Time to revert back to either a free tuition system or a flat (and low cost) tuition system, with identified areas of particular need, whether it be teaching, nursing or STEM being incentived by actual grants and scholarships.

    The liberals only see education as relevant to obtaining skills to make bosses money. They are aspirational about everything except free thinking and curious minds. This is actually counter productive, as it devalues ‘what if’ thinking – which leads to genuine innovation and wealth creation … amongst other good things.

    The Liberals are nothing but a party of small minded shop keepers and door to door salesmen. Worshipping and in loyal service to our own class of bunyip robber barons and overlords.

  3. billie says:
    Friday, June 19, 2020 at 3:33 pm
    “Bucephalus

    The costs of living for a student is a completely separate issue from their HECS Debt – unless they are earning annual income of greater than $45,881 per year and then you will pay $459 a year ($9 a week) which is hardly bank breaking stuff.

    I think you should ask the overseas students in Melbourne who line up around 2 blocks past the Melbourne Club for food vouchers from Melbourne Town Hall to spend at Victoria Market.

    They came to study assuming they would be able to do part time work which has been knocked on the head by Covid19”

    Oh FFS. This has nothing to do with overseas students. Zero. Zilch. Nada. They are full fee paying. Completely different to Australian students who can access HECS funded places.

    “Also you observe that when people are living hand to mouth they are really unwilling to go into debt, even with the assurance of a better life incurring that debt.
    EG in the UK in 1976 my roommate who had a junior’s job at the post office and was so poor parents paid train fare home, she was unwilling to borrow the airfare to Canada, could not believe that she could earn a better than subsistence wage in Toronto”

    Once again you demonstrate that either you do not understand the non-recourse nature of a HECS debt or you are financially illiterate.

    I suggest you stop making yourself look stupid.

  4. Pascoe came out with the idea that the problem with this Government is that it is trying to fix a demand side problem with supply side economics.
    Fiddling around with uni costs seems to be par for the course.

  5. There’s a great business opportunity for Morrison when he moves on from politics – establish the Academy of Marketing and Bullshittery ™.

  6. lizziesays:
    Friday, June 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    “Also accommodation. My grandson lives at home and is very comfortably provided for, plus his parents make him an allowance. Not everyone will be the same.”

    HECS is completely unrelated to the cost of living for most students and especially isn’t if they are low income earners.

  7. Was Nath or Bucephalus who thought it was a good idea for students to do a general Arts degree, like the Melbourne model which has been adopted in WA???

    Some facts . . . .
    The Melbourne Model 4 year undergraduate degree is an Arts degree undertaken by 1250+ students. Upon satisfactory completion of degree the student applies for postgraduate studies in Law, Finance, IT, science

    HECS fees apply only to UNDERGRADUATE degrees

    Even nastier of the 1250 Melbourne Arts graduates who want to get into the 250 Law places they compete against students with undergraduate degrees from elsewher including B Laws from Monash & Deakin

  8. ‘Barney in Tanjung Bunga says:
    Friday, June 19, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    boerwar @ #1761 Friday, June 19th, 2020 – 12:55 pm

    Historians have tried to save Australia from itself. Most Australians are still deep in denial and are on their knees to a set of Foundation Myths that are nothing much more than Big Lies.

    History can set you free. Which is why the Morrison Government, the most corrupt since Federation, wants to kill history dead. Does. Not. Like. The. Truth.

    Without historians the Stolen Generations would have been both stolen and forgotten.
    The Frontier Wars would be turned into noble settlement and the advance of civilization.
    The draconian anti-gay laws would never have happened.
    Terra Nullius would still be Terra Nullius.
    Captain Cook would have discovered Australia and circumnavigated Australia.
    Australia would have won WW1 and WW2 for the good side by punching above its weight.
    The Vietnam War would have been lost on the Home Front.
    No-one would have written ‘1835’ – possibly the best Australian history book to come out in a generation.
    And so on and so forth.

    I hardly think these changes will stop people taking up the study of history as a career.’

    History is being priced out of the market.

    No history students no history research no history.

  9. Bucephalus

    It’s no good repeating the same point over and over. You’re hooked on HECS and not the whole picture, which involved the background of the student and parents’ incomes as well.

  10. I was actually at Uni when HECS was introduced and the lefties made exactly the same stupid financially illiterate arguments back then.

  11. Pica:

    Access to an affordable University degree in the Social Sciences has utterly transformed my life, from agricultural laborer to PhD student to Lecturer. A career, a family, a house, all were possible. There is no way I could undertake my journey under the current settings…..I fear for my children’s future…..

    Increased HECS is mainly a disincentive to University study by students who have no close family members who have been to University, probably because people from that background have very low tolerance for debt of any kind (even on the terms of the HECS debt).

    This is the major flaw of HECS, and there is a strong argument for a “first in the family” HECS exemption, but ensuring integrity of this is difficult.

    It would be very controversial, but I would start by replicating the effect of MIT/Harvard/Stanford approach and award “first in the family” exemptions to student who get offers from G08 Universities in high-TER courses (but allow the exemptions to apply to any course at all) . If that worked to reduce the flaw (i.e. it should expand catchment for Aus HDR students*), then look expand it (somehow, informed by the initial experience) whilst monitoring for integrity.

    * The design principle is that any student who ends up becoming an HDR candidate should easily score well in an “entrance exam” with a fairly high bar. EPSRC studied HDR aptitude in the general population some years ago (2001?) and somehow concluded it was about 10%, which seems about right.

  12. so you are relying on 28 year old information from the perspective of your student experiences.
    Ain’t confidence grand?
    Not frightened of being out of date?

    Melbourne model was introduced in 2007 and I am talking from staff perspective

  13. billie says:
    Friday, June 19, 2020 at 3:43 pm
    “Was Nath or Bucephalus who thought it was a good idea for students to do a general Arts degree, like the Melbourne model which has been adopted in WA???

    Some facts . . . .
    The Melbourne Model 4 year undergraduate degree is an Arts degree undertaken by 1250+ students. Upon satisfactory completion of degree the student applies for postgraduate studies in Law, Finance, IT, science

    HECS fees apply only to UNDERGRADUATE degrees”

    That’s because Post-grad study is funded under the FEE-HELP system which works almost identically to the HECS system.

    Now explain how I am being obtuse?

  14. I was having look at this media attack on Labor and made an interesting observation, there seems be a trend starting to appear again ,

    The media attacks Labor , during trouble in the S.A liberal party leadership , also trouble in the federal liberal party leadership, signs where shown in question time Abbott started to lose it ,- later in the year Turnbull replace Abbott

    The media attacks Labor, during trouble in W.A liberal party leadership ,also trouble in the federal liberal party, signs where shown in question time Turnbull started to lose it,- later in the year Morison replace Turnbull
    ————
    not saying it going to happen , but a similar trend seems to be happening

    The media attacks Labor , during trouble in the LNP leadership , also trouble in the federal liberal party leadership, signs where shown in question time Morrison started to lose it ,- later in the year
    watch this space

  15. billie says:
    Friday, June 19, 2020 at 3:53 pm
    “so you are relying on 28 year old information from the perspective of your student experiences.
    Ain’t confidence grand?
    Not frightened of being out of date?

    Melbourne model was introduced in 2007 and I am talking from staff perspective”

    Wrong. I completed another degree in 2001 and my wife completed her Masters three years ago and I have a kids who will start uni in the next few years. And I needed to know the HECS system for my work.

  16. Earl Wood:

    The Liberals only see education as relevant to obtaining skills to make bosses money. They are aspirational about everything except free thinking and curious minds. This is actually counter productive, as it devalues ‘what if’ thinking – which leads to genuine innovation and wealth creation … amongst other good things.

    The Liberals are nothing but a party of small minded shop keepers and door to door salesmen. Worshipping and in loyal service to our own class of bunyip robber barons and overlords.

    It’s actually worse than that.

    The Republican Party under US Grant introduced public high school education specifically for the reason of economic transformation via an educated workforce, and until the 1980s the US workforce was by a long way the best educated in the world (and US economy was likewise dominant).

    Modern “Conservatives” in the West take a different view, and see public education as a cost of business (with the “business” in this case being “getting elected and staying in power”). Education is thus a “mature” product, and managed accordingly (cut cost of business). This is why it has been getting crappier and this will continue, until someone “re-realises” the immense economic benefits of the US Grant policy (which was only adopted in Australia in the 1980s under Hawke!)

  17. E. G. Theodore says:
    Friday, June 19, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    “Increased HECS is mainly a disincentive to University study by students who have no close family members who have been to University, probably because people from that background have very low tolerance for debt of any kind (even on the terms of the HECS debt).”

    This would only be due to two reasons:

    1. Disinformation about how the HECS system works.
    2. A complete lack of understanding of how the income dependant non-recourse nature of the loan works.

    Both are the fault of those on the left who prefer to score political points at the expense of low income potential students.

    That said I know a number of wealthy parents who have been stupid enough to pay their kids HECS debts off. How clearly intelligent people can be so stupid is beyond me. They could have given me the money and it would have been a better use.

  18. poroti
    says:
    Friday, June 19, 2020 at 4:11 pm
    Good thing there is no turmoil in the Coalition to distract from the Labor stack-rort.
    _______________
    Yeah but do the Coalition get recorded talking about decapitation and pissing on corpses?

  19. That said I know a number of wealthy parents who have been stupid enough to pay their kids HECS debts off. How clearly intelligent people can be so stupid is beyond me. They could have given me the money and it would have been a better use.

    This was a phenomenon when HECS came in (and when I was an undergraduate) – a few wealthy students had their HECS paid off up front (there was a discount) often by a “wealthy Uncle” who wanted to show off.

    It was quickly pointed out that (even with the discount) the option made no financial sense, and the students preening themselves as being debt-free exposed themselves as idiots as well as tossers.

  20. nath (AnonBlock)
    Friday, June 19th, 2020 – 3:47 pm

    Yeah but do the Coalition get recorded talking about decapitation and pissing on corpses?

    So you prefer the coalition then? What are you saying?

  21. NSW ALP Shadow Cabinet Member has resigned over stacking allegations. Good thing she didn’t have an Aldi bag.

  22. E. G. Theodore says:
    Friday, June 19, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    “This was a phenomenon when HECS came in (and when I was an undergraduate) – a few wealthy students had their HECS paid off up front (there was a discount) often by a “wealthy Uncle” who wanted to show off.

    It was quickly pointed out that (even with the discount) the option made no financial sense, and the students preening themselves as being debt-free exposed themselves as idiots as well as tossers.”

    For a while there you got a 25% discount for early repayment so it actually used to make sense but they stopped that a number of years ago.

  23. “Increased HECS is mainly a disincentive to University study by students who have no close family members who have been to University, probably because people from that background have very low tolerance for debt of any kind (even on the terms of the HECS debt).”

    This would only be due to two reasons:

    1. Disinformation about how the HECS system works.
    2. A complete lack of understanding of how the income dependant non-recourse nature of the loan works.

    Both are the fault of those on the left who prefer to score political points at the expense of low income potential students.

    People whose main experience of debt is payday lenders and other loan sharks have instead:
    3 – a visceral unwillingness to take on debt of any kind

  24. Lady from the Group of Eight thinks the government has it wrong on the new fee structure. “We’ll have to talk to them about their assumptions.”

  25. Bill to nath
    So you prefer the coalition then? What are you saying??

    The way she attacked Bill Shorten, indicates she does!.
    or she is a Green who wastes her vote every election and therefor keeps the Liberals in power.

  26. So, anyone want to say why we need more STEM people, rather than lawyers and accountants?

    The latter seem to often be better paid, so that would indicate that we’re quite OK with what we have in terms of STEM.

  27. What these changes are of course is a tax hike by stealth.
    As Bucephalus points out, they shouldn’t really deter anyone from studying.
    Higher numbers of students are continuing to study longer (lots of double degrees whose main purpose is to increase the total HECS debt).
    Eventually everyone leaves their course and most start working. At the point of decent earnings (recently lowered – in relative terms) the person starts paying extra tax to service the HECS debt, and for a longer period of time. These and other recent changes most will pay extra tax for longer – but hey we cut your income tax by a poofteenth

  28. What Bucephalus is referring to:

    NSW Labor MP Julia Finn steps down amid branch stacking claims

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-19/nsw-labor-mp-julia-finn-steps-down/12374156

    The Member for Granville stepped down from her shadow portfolio this afternoon.

    Ms Finn was named in an internal investigation into branch stacking issues.
    :::
    But Ms McKay said there were no recommendations made against her senior MP in the report.

    The report, which was handed to party bosses in March, found branch attendance records were falsified, false addresses were used on memberships and that there was evidence party officials paid for memberships for other people.

    Ms McKay yesterday said she had spoken to Ms Finn and was “satisfied” with her explanation and would not be sacking her from shadow cabinet.

    Ms McKay is yet to comment on Ms Finn’s resignation.

  29. The way she attacked Bill Shorten, indicates she does!.
    or she is a Green who wastes her vote every election and therefor keeps the Liberals in power.

    Agree 1934pc, he should just get out of that small room, what’s it’s name again?

  30. Ombudsman and IBAC to probe Labor branch-stacking claims amid Adem Somyurek fallout

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-19/vic-ombudsman-ibac-probe-branch-stacking-somyurek-claims/12354300

    And following a referral from Parliament to the ombudsman, the two integrity agencies have announced they will work together to investigate the serious misconduct claims.
    :::
    IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich said in a statement the conduct of a thorough and efficient investigation was a shared priority given “significant public concern about the potential misuse of scarce public resources and the subversion of appropriate Parliamentary standards and processes”.
    :::
    Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said the Premier must ensure MPs complied with the probe.

    During a probe into the so-called “red shirt rorts” Labor MPs refused to be interviewed and the Government challenged the authority of the Ombudsman in the courts.

    “There can be no refusing of interviews, no refusing access to documents, no playing political games in the Parliament, these are our chief integrity bodies they need to be fully cooperated with so Victorians can have confidence their Government isn’t corrupt,” he said.

  31. The Hon Stephen Charles AO QC, a board member of the Centre for Public Integrity and the Accountability Round Table, and a former judge of the Victorian court of appeal

    Branch-stacking and sports rorts scandals call for national anti-corruption watchdog with teeth

    The government’s proposed commonwealth integrity commission will be ‘the weakest and most ineffective such body in this country’

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/19/branch-stacking-and-sports-rorts-scandals-call-for-national-anti-corruption-watchdog-with-teeth

  32. For a while there you got a 25% discount for early repayment so it actually used to make sense but they stopped that a number of years ago.

    It was 15% originally (and didn’t make sense with any sensible discount rate), then 25% for quite a while (and may indeed have made sense a few years during this time), then 20%, then 10%, then nothing.

    Apart from “rich Uncles” who are not making a sound financial decision the main sources are scholarship and employers, both of which are largely insensitive to discounts

  33. Mrs & Mr Wilma Slurrie
    “And our next question to the panel is: what benefits would you accrue from studying history, philosophy, languages or literature?”

  34. An investigation is underway into how three men managed to get their hands on military-style weapons seized during counter-terrorism raids across Sydney’s south-west.

    A 29-year-old man was arrested at a shopping centre car park in Bankstown while allegedly trying to sell three guns, including an MK5 rifle, a Berretta 9mm pistol and a 9mm mini-Glock pistol.

    Two other men were also detained — a 26-year-old and a 30-year-old — one at a home at East Hills, the other was located by officers in Padstow.

    All three are expected to be charged with up to 100 firearm offences.

    Eleven other firearms — including semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and a pump-action shotgun — were seized as well as 5,000 rounds of ammunition following a secret operation in January.

    They were seized from properties at Bankstown, Chester Hill, East Hills and Yagoona.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-19/three-arrested-after-police-seize-military-style-firearms/12374806

  35. Supreme Court bans Wollongong Black Lives Matter protest

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6799688/supreme-court-bans-wollongong-black-lives-matter-protest/?cs=14225&utm_source=website&utm_medium=home&utm_campaign=latestnews#gsc.tab=0

    “This ban is outrageous, and we are determined to go ahead. It is clearly a politically motivated attack upon freedom of speech,” she said.

    “It has been prohibited on health grounds, but this is hypocritical.

    “Already clubs are open with over 500 people allowed in, and cities with a similar number of cases as Wollongong are allowing crowds to return to football matches.

    “For the courts to deem the protest illegal while other gatherings such as sports events are normal, is an expression of how political arguments critical of the government and the police are being silenced.”

  36. guardian Australia continues to fall in line with foreign media controlled and own liberal/national parties , look at china and look away from Morrison university rort and other rorts plus look away from the problems in the QLD LNP.

    Oh yeah do not forget to

    Look at Labor , Katharine Murphy will make sure that is not forgotten

  37. Blobbit

    So, anyone want to say why we need more STEM people, rather than lawyers and accountants?

    The latter seem to often be better paid, so that would indicate that we’re quite OK with what we have in terms of STEM.

    😆 Yeah, like more accountants and lawyers are what we need and have a shortage of . STEM people are severely underpaid but then the “accountant and lawyers’ class have a large say in that.

  38. The talk of some university courses subsidising others is largely nonsense.
    The distribution of the university budget has no relation to the HECS debts that might accrue.
    Most of the government money parcelled out goes to senior management, middle management and administration. And the necessary reporting to governments of their success.
    Then the essentials of maintenance costs, marketing, public relations.
    The smaller amounts remaining are parcelled out to faculties and departments – by management, using management priorities!!
    So the universities have the freedom to allocate large amounts to teaching, nursing, clinical psychology – but usually choose to give priority to medicine, engineering and business studies.

  39. Blobbit:

    So, anyone want to say why we need more STEM people, rather than lawyers and accountants?

    The latter seem to often be better paid, so that would indicate that we’re quite OK with what we have in terms of STEM.

    Perhaps we don’t need STEM currently, since the Australian economy post 2001 is basically a government backed Ponzi scheme based on capital appreciation in residential land and (to a lesser extent) immigration to Sydney.

    Whilst lawyers and accountants are indeed what’s needed to run the scheme, everyone knows it won’t last forever. However, as they say in Wall Street: “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone!”

  40. Will this time under the Leadership of Albanese, Labor attacks last longer than 1 or 2 days , and not trying to appease the media.

    Does not look promising so far , Albanese has already made appeasing statement for the media , about look over there cyber attacks

  41. Osman Faruqi thread

    Folks, let me explain how by cutting funding to the humanities and increasing student fees the government is actually creating incentives for unis to enroll *more* arts students.

    (For my sins I used to work in higher ed policy, I know too much boring stuff in this space)

    At the moments arts degrees are funded about 50/50 between the government and students. About $6,000 each per year. The new funding model will see the government spend only $1000, while students fork out $14,000.

    So you’d expect that to mean fewer students enrolling in that program? Wrong.

    A couple of years ago the government capped student places, after Labor uncapped them. But that cap doesn’t stop universities actually enrolling more students. It just means the government won’t fund their share once the cap is reached.

    With arts degrees now effectively fully student funded (92% of the cost borne by the student), that means universities will get 92% of the revenue for over-enrolling above the cap, whereas under the current system they would only get 50%.

    On the other hand, over-enrolling a science degree, for example, would only get them 10-20% of the total course cost.

    Not only that, but arts degrees are relatively low-cost to deliver compared to STEM degrees, which means the “profit” margin for the uni is greater.

    So in summary, this means the proposed new funding model actually gives universities an incentive to enroll more arts students in order to boost their budget bottom line.

    Which is the opposite of Tehan’s stated goal. Sounds like they’ve really thought this through!

    IMO the story here isn’t “humanities are dead”. Plenty of students will keep enrolling (possibly even more than now, for reasons above). They’ll just have huge debts for decades. Bigger story is the overall shift of higher ed cost being born mostly by students for the first time.

    Couple of things: Yes they’ve always had that incentive, but the financial incentive had literally doubled. So if you thought it was bad before, it could get much worse.

    I’ve always supported free ed, but the question of debt being a discentive isn’t clear cut in Aus.

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