Miscellany: Lowy Research foreign policy poll and much else (open thread)

The Lowy Institute’s annual survey on Australians’ attitude to the affairs of the world, an Indigenous Voice poll from WA, the David Van wash-up, and the usual preselection news snippets.

In an otherwise thin week for polling, the annual survey on Australians’ attitudes to international issues by the Lowy Institute offers its usual panoply of insights, perhaps the most interesting of which is that concern about China and war over Taiwan, while high, is not actually more so than it was a year ago. Key points:

• An unchanged 64% rate “a military conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan” as a critical threat, behind “cyberattacks from other countries” on 68%, up four from last year. The critical threat rating from Russian foreign policy has eased from 68% to 57%. After a sharp deterioration between 2018 and 2022, there was a nine-point drop in those who saw China as more as a security threat and an eleven-point increase as more of an economic partner, now at 52% and 44% respectively. Sixty-one per cent expected China would have a more important and powerful role as world leader in a decade’s time, whereas 22% felt the same of the US, which 32% expected to become less powerful and important.

• Forty-nine per cent rate that AUKUS will make Australia more safe, down three on less year; 9% less safe, up two; and 23% make no difference, up one. Sixty-seven per cent favoured the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, down three, with opposition up three to 31%. However, 40% favoured a defence strategy that protected Australia close to home against 26% for one that deterred potential enemies far from Australia’s shores. Fifty-six per cent felt Australia should remain neutral in the event of military conflict between the US and China, up five on last year, while 42% felt Australia should support the US, down four.

• Fifty-seven per cent favoured allowing the United States to base military forces in Australia, down six on last year, with 42% opposed, up six. Corresponding figures for the United Kingdom were 67% and 32%. There was a nine-point drop among those rating the importance of the US alliance to Australian security as very important to 51%, but this was a reversion to the mean after a spike last year, with the fairly important rating up four to 31%. Seventy-three per cent felt the US was more respected in the world under Joe Biden against 24% for Donald Trump.

• The most trusted global powers were Japan, the United Kingdom and France, with combined results of “a great deal” and “somewhat” of 79% to 85%, which are approximately the reverse of the results for China and Russia. The United States’ rating is down four points on last year to 61%, putting it about equal with India and a little ahead of Indonesia, but still well above where it was under the Trump administration. A question on “Australia’s best friend in Asia” records India spiking from 7% last year to 16%, though Japan remains far ahead of the field on 44%.

• In response to a question on confidence in world leaders, the field was led by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskky and New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins who each scored a combined 72% for a lot of confidence and some confidence, though one doubts that the latter’s name recognition is quite that high. Support for military aid to Ukraine was nonetheless down six points to 76% with opposition up eight to 24%, while support for sanctions on Russia was down two to 87% and opposition up three to 12%.

• Twenty-five per cent felt Anthony Albanese had done a very good job on foreign policy, 58% a reasonable job and 15% a poor job. The question was extended to other recent prime ministers, producing neutral ratings for Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and net negative ratings for Malcolm Turnbull and, especially, Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison.

• Forty-seven per cent felt an Indigenous Voice would improve Australia’s reputation, 44% that it would make no difference, and 8% that it would damage it.

Two other poll results to relate:

• The West Australian had a Painted Dog Research poll on the Indigenous Voice on Saturday which found 57-43 of WA respondents in favour on a forced response basis, narrowing from 60-40 when the last such poll was conducted in March. The poll had a sample of 1050, with field work dates not specified.

• This week’s federal voting intention numbers from Roy Morgan have Labor’s lead out to 57-43, from 56-44 last week, with primary votes of Labor 36.5% (up one-and-a-half), Coalition 34% (up half) and Greens 13% (steady).

Other news that does not relate to the three looming by-elections, which I am holding back for a post on Friday, when candidates will be declared for the federal by-election in Fadden and the Western Australian state by-election in Rockingham:

• Victorian Senator David Van’s exile from the Liberal Party put the numbers in the chamber at Coalition 32, Labor 26, Greens 11, One Nation two, Jacqui Lambie Network two, United Australia Party one, and independents three. Greg Brown of The Australian reports Van “plans on remaining in parliament until his Senate term is up in 2025 and will consider contesting the next election as an independent”, and that he will not consider joining One Nation or the United Australia Party.

Rachel Eddie of The Age reports that Russell Broadbent, 72-year-old veteran Liberal member for the West Gippsland seat of Monash, faces a preselection challenge from Mary Aldred, head of government relations for Asia Pacific at Fujitsu and daughter of the late Ken Aldred, member for various federal seats from 1975 to 1996. While her father was a figure of some controversy, Mary Aldred is reportedly “viewed as a moderate”, in common with Broadbent.

Linda Silmalis of the Daily Telegraph reports Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce is rated the front-runner to succeed Scott Morrison in Cook, with a general view that Morrison is likely to pull the plug later in the year.

Katina Curtis of The West Australian argues school holidays and football finals mean the date for the referendum can be narrowed down to October 14, November 4 and November 25, with the former most likely as the November dates are complicated by that month’s APEC conference.

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.

1,463 comments on “Miscellany: Lowy Research foreign policy poll and much else (open thread)”

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  1. Kevin Bonham
    #Newspoll 54-46 to ALP

    Kevin Bonham
    #Newspoll ALP 38 L-NP 35 Green 11 ON 6 others 10

    Kevin Bonham
    #Newspoll Albanese net +10 (52-42, down 8)

    Dutton ratings not available yet but Better PM narrows “to its tightest margin” between these two (tightest previously was 25 points)

  2. Wagners troops aren’t going en masse to Belarus. It seem’s that’s a bit like the stage in Trump’s bathroom at Mar al Lago – a garbled message.

    It seems that most Wagners troops are supposed to return to their posts, while Prigozhin, with a modest retinue, goes to Belarus.


  3. Alan Ramsey wrote an article about Simon Crean, where he wrote that Simon Crean’s greatest contribution as Labor leader was convincing Federal Labor caucus to oppose Iraq war 2. Otherwise he said many in Labor would have embraced Iraq war 2 with fervour because it was initially popular.

  4. Vale Simon Crean
    I was fortunate to meet him a number of times when I was active in the party. He was approachable, thoughtful and an intelligent man. A true icon of the Labor and will be missed.

  5. It is going take a massive effort to bring the Voice back.
    Yes23 efforts are appalling bad.

    If this trend continues it will break the record for the worse supported referendum in history – currently held by the Rights and Freedoms referendum in 1988.

  6. Vensays:
    Sunday, June 25, 2023 at 7:22 pm
    Meanwhile Rabbitohs are flogged by Cowboys.

    As they were by the Dragons, excepting the late fade from the Dragons.

    Bunnies will not make the top eight!

  7. I should have qualified my post by saying,”in the city.” Of course there are teacher shortages in the bush and regions. Nobody wants to go there. I know, I taught in Wodonga for a time. In Melbourne the shortages are in maths and physical sciences.

  8. One of the reasons I think that Prighozin’s aborted coup is more important than some think is that it wasn’t undertaken merely by a politician or uninvolved oligarch or disenchanted General but rather by an insider intimately involved in fighting and the loss of tens of thousands of troops. He has a degree of unequalled cache in Russia borne of actual experience.

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