Support for Sending Asylum Seekers to Malaysia

Aug 1, 2011

Q. The Government has recently made an agreement to send asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia to Malaysia for processing, and in return Australia will take a fixed number of refugees from Malaysia. Do you support or oppose this agreement?

16 June 11 Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Total support 40% 31% 50% 25% 19%
Total oppose 39% 53% 31% 67% 60%
Strongly support 13% 6% 9% 4% 3%
Support 27% 25% 41% 21% 16%
Oppose 22% 23% 17% 24% 35%
Strongly oppose 17% 30% 14% 43% 25%
Don’t know 21% 16% 18% 9% 21%

31% support the agreement to send asylum seekers to Malaysia for processing and 53% oppose. This represents a significant increase in opposition to this scheme from that recorded 6 weeks ago – support is down 9% and opposition up 14%.

This shift is mainly due to changed opinions of Liberal/National voters. Support from Labor voters is up 3% to 50% while opposition from Liberal/National voters has increased by 22% to 67%. Opposition from Greens voters has also increased by 9% to 60%.

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Asylum Seeker Plans

Jun 20, 2011

Q. The Government has proposed sending asylum seekers arriving by boat to Malaysia for processing and the Opposition has proposed sending asylum seekers to Nauru. Which of these two options do you favour?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Malaysia 16% 29% 12% 9%
Nauru 34% 18% 55% 12%
Neither 30% 34% 18% 61%
Don’t know 20% 20% 14% 18%

34% favoured sending asylum seekers to Nauru and 16% favoured Malaysia, with a further 30% selecting ‘neither’.

Labor (34%) and Green voters (61%) were most likely to favour ‘neither’ – Liberal/National voters were most likely to favour Nauru (55%).

Males (37%) were more likely than females (31%) to favour Nauru. Females were more likely to select Don’t Know (25%).

Older respondents were more likely to favour Nauru – 48% of those aged 55+.

Younger respondents were more likely to select ‘neither’ – 37% of those aged 18-34.

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Importance of Asylum Seeker Issue

Jun 15, 2011

Q. Is the issue of how Australia handles asylum seekers more or less important than issues such as managing the economy, education and health services? (This question has been commissioned by Network Ten)

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens Men Women Age

18-34

Aged

35-54

Aged 55+
Total more or equally important 50% 49% 53% 56% 48% 52% 48% 50% 55%
A lot more important 5% 6% 6% 6% 3% 7% 5% 4% 8%
A little more important 5% 6% 5% 3% 6% 3% 5% 5% 5%
Equally important 40% 37% 42% 47% 39% 42% 38% 41% 42%
A little less important 21% 22% 21% 22% 18% 24% 25% 19% 20%
A lot less important 23% 23% 25% 19% 28% 18% 20% 26% 23%
Don’t know 5% 6% 1% 4% 4% 6% 8% 6% 2%

50% think that the issue of how Australia handles asylum seekers is more/equally important as issues such as managing the economy, education and health services – 44% think it is less important.

There were not substantial differences across voter and other groups – although Greens voters (56%) and those aged 55+ (55%) were a little more likely to think it was important.

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Awareness of Malaysia Proposal

Jun 14, 2011

Q.  The Government has announced a possible agreement with Malaysia on asylum seekers. Under these agreements, asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia will be sent to Malaysia for processing, and in return Australia will take a fixed number of refugees from Malaysia. How much have you heard about this proposal?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
A lot 27% 24% 34% 27%
Something 31% 38% 29% 30%
A little 29% 28% 29% 28%
Nothing 9% 8% 6% 14%
Don’t know 3% 2% 2% 1%

58% said they had heard a lot or something about the Government’s possible agreement with Malaysia on asylum seekers. Awareness was similar across voter groups.

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Support for Malaysia Proposal

Jun 14, 2011

Q. Do you support or oppose the Government’s plan to send asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia to Malaysia?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens Heard a lot Heard something Heard a little/ nothing
Total support 40% 47% 40% 27% 34% 42% 46%
Total oppose 39% 33% 45% 51% 60% 39% 28%
Strongly support 13% 13% 15% 4% 14% 11% 15%
Support 27% 34% 25% 23% 20% 31% 31%
Oppose 22% 21% 24% 31% 26% 24% 20%
Strongly oppose 17% 12% 21% 20% 34% 15% 8%
Don’t know 21% 20% 14% 23% 6% 19% 27%

40% support the Government’s plan to send asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia to Malaysia and 39% oppose.

Those who say they have heard more about it are more likely to oppose this proposal.  Only 34% of those who have heard a lot about it support the proposal compared to 46% of those who have heard a little or nothing. There were not substantial differences by gender or age.

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Malaysia Proposal Issues

Jun 14, 2011

Q. If Australia sends asylum seekers to Malaysia, how important are the following issues?

Very important Somewhat important Not very important Not at all important Don’t know
There must be a guarantee that asylum seekers are not be subject to cruel or inhumane treatment 58% 21% 9% 9% 4%
There must be safeguards against the development of mental health problems in detention 41% 32% 13% 9% 5%
The plan should have approval from the United Nations 37% 29% 14% 15% 6%
All countries involved should be signatories to the United Nations Refugee Convention 41% 27% 13% 12% 8%
Children arriving in Australia on their own should not be sent to other countries 36% 25% 14% 12% 12%

All issues were considered important by a majority of respondents. The most important issue concerning the proposal to send asylum seekers to Malaysia was that “there must be a guarantee that asylum seekers are not be subject to cruel or inhumane treatment” – 58% said this was very important.

There were major differences by gender – in particular on the issues that “there must be a guarantee that asylum seekers are not be subject to cruel or inhumane treatment” (very important – men 49%, women 66%) and “There must be safeguards against the development of mental health problems in detention” (very important – men 33%, women 49%)

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Important election issues

Jun 6, 2011

Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election?

One Two Three Total 24 Jan 11 11 Oct 10 25 Jan 10
Management of the economy 34% 18% 9% 61% 65% 62% 63%
Ensuring a quality education for all children 6% 10% 10% 26% 26% 32% 23%
Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system 15% 15% 19% 49% 49% 48% 48%
Protecting the environment 4% 6% 5% 15% 13% 12% 16%
A fair industrial relations system 2% 3% 3% 8% 10% 11% *
Political leadership 6% 6% 5% 17% 16% 16% 23%
Addressing climate change 6% 4% 5% 15% 10% 11% 16%
Controlling interest rates 3% 5% 5% 13% 21% 17% 15%
Australian jobs and protection of local industries 9% 11% 12% 32% 30% 30% 33%
Ensuring a quality water supply 1% 1% 3% 5% 6% 6% 12%
Housing affordability 4% 6% 6% 16% 16% 17% 14%
Ensuring a fair taxation system 3% 6% 8% 17% 18% 16% 14%
Security and the war on terrorism 2% 2% 4% 8% 5% 6% 9%
Treatment of asylum seekers 1% 2% 2% 5% 5% 5% *
Managing population growth 2% 4% 6% 12% 11% 10% *

*Not asked

61% of people surveyed rated management of the economy as one of their three most important issues, followed by 49% ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system and 32% Australian jobs and protection of local industries.

Since January, there has been an increase in the importance of addressing climate change (from 10% to 15%) and a decrease in the importance of controlling interest rates (from 21% to 13%).

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Important election issues

Jun 6, 2011

Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election?

Total Labor Liberal/ National Green
Management of the economy 61% 60% 76% 28%
Ensuring a quality education for all children 26% 29% 24% 27%
Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system 49% 50% 50% 51%
Protecting the environment 15% 17% 10% 52%
A fair industrial relations system 8% 12% 4% 4%
Political leadership 17% 16% 20% 16%
Addressing climate change 15% 23% 6% 45%
Controlling interest rates 13% 15% 13% 6%
Australian jobs and protection of local industries 32% 28% 36% 12%
Ensuring a quality water supply 5% 5% 3% 7%
Housing affordability 16% 16% 13% 16%
Ensuring a fair taxation system 17% 14% 19% 16%
Security and the war on terrorism 8% 4% 13% 1%
Treatment of asylum seekers 5% 3% 5% 12%
Managing population growth 12% 12% 12% 9%

There were few substantial differences between voters on issues they considered important. Compared to the average, Labor voters are more likely to rate addressing climate change (23%) as important.

Liberal/National voters attach more importance to management of the economy (76%) and security and the war on terrorism (13%) while Greens voters are more likely to nominate protecting the environment (52%), addressing climate change (45%) and treatment of asylum seekers (12%).

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