Together with the usual suite of questions on coronavirus, the latest weekly Essential Research survey offers findings on the government’s robodebt the recent disturbances in the United States. The former make grim reading for the government, or might do if Newspoll hadn’t suggested the debacle had made no difference on voting intention: 74% say the government should apologise to those negatively impacted, with only 11% disagreeing; 66% support interest and damages for those who wrongly repaid money, with 13% disagreeing; 55% supported a royal commission, with 23% disagreeing; and only 32% agreed the automated notifications were a good idea “even if it was poorly implemented”, with 43% disagreeing.
Regarding the protests in the United States, the propositions that “protesters are right to demand better protection and treatment of African Americans in society” and that “the protesters want to loot and cause property damage, more than they want social change” both received majority support, though far more emphatically in the former case, with 80% agreeing and 11% disagreeing, compared with 54% and 33% for the latter. There were likewise large majorities in favour of the notions that “authorities in America have been unwilling to deal with institutional racism” (78% to 10%) and that the death of George Floyd pointed to “wider discrimination against minority cultures in society” (72% to 16%), while only 33% considered Floyd’s death isolated and not illustrative of institutional police racism, compared with 54% who disagreed.
As for coronavirus, the number who are “very concerned” maintains a steady decline, down five to 27%, with quite concerned down one to 48%, not that concerned up six to 21% and not at all concerned up one to 5%. Approval of the government’s handling of the matter is little changed, with 70% rating it good (up two) and 12% poor (steady). Small-sample state breakdowns provide a further increment of support for the notion that the Western Australian government has done best out of the crisis, with the good rating at 84% and poor at 6%, with other states ranging from 67% to 79% on good and 8% to 13% on poor. Queensland respondents were most likely to say their government was moving too slowly in easing restrictions, although even here the result was only 23% compared with 63% for “about the right speed”. The poll was conducted online from Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1073.
Elsewhere, yesterday’s declaration of candidates and ballot paper draw for the July 4 Eden-Monaro by-election revealed a field of 14 candidates. Along with Labor candidate Kristy McBain and Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs, there are starters for the Nationals (Trevor Hicks, who won a preselection vote on Saturday), the Greens, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, the Liberal Democrats, the Christian Democrats, Help End Marijuana Prohibition, the Science Party, Sustainable Australia, something called the Australian Federation Party and three independents.