Position on Climate Change

Dec 6, 2010

Q. Do you agree that there is fairly conclusive evidence that climate change is happening and caused by human activity or do you believe that the evidence is still not in and we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s climate which happens from time to time?ear

Dec 10 Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens Nov 09
Climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 45% 53% 32% 76% 53%
We are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s climate 36% 27% 53% 14% 34%
Don’t know 19% 20% 15% 10% 13%

45% believe that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity (down 8% since last surveyed in Nov 2009), 36% think we are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s climate (up 2%) and 19% don’t know (up 6%).

Those most likely to think climate change is happening and is caused by human activity were Greens voters (76%), Labor voters (53%), women (49%) and aged 18-35 (50%).

Those most likely to think it is a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s climate were Liberal/National voters (53%), aged 55+ (47%) and men (40%).

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Importance of Climate Change Issue

Dec 6, 2010

Q. Compared to other issues that are often raised in politics – like the economy, healthcare, immigration, etc –  how important to you personally is the issue of tackling climate change?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Total important 61% 73% 50% 87%
Total not important 35% 25% 47% 12%
Very important 24% 31% 15% 55%
Quite important 37% 42% 35% 32%
Not so important 26% 18% 35% 11%
Not at all important 9% 7% 12% 1%
Don’t know 4% 3% 3%

61% think tackling climate change is a very important (24%) or quite important (37%) issue – 35% think it is not important. 73% of Labor voters and 87% of Greens voters think it is important while Liberal/National voters are split (50% important/47% not important).

Those most likely to think it is important were women (65%) and aged 18-35 (68%).

Of those who believe that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity, 47% think it is a very important issue and 46% a quite important issue.

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Party Best at Dealing with Climate Change Issue

Dec 6, 2010

Q. Which leader and party would you trust most to understand and deal with the climate change issue?

Dec 10 Dec 09 *
Julia Gillard and Labor 23% 24%
Tony Abbott and the Coalition 29% 27%
Bob Brown and Greens 19% 17%
Don’t know 29% 32%

* Note : Similar but not identical question asked in 2009.

29% trust Tony Abbott and the Coalition most to understand and deal with the climate change issue, 23% trust Julia Gillard and Labor and 19% trust Bob Brown and the Greens.

These figures are little changed since this question was previously asked in December 2009.

58% of Labor voters trust Labor most, 65% of Coalition voters trust the Liberals and 83% of Greens voters trust the Greens.

Of those who believe that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity, 31% trust the Greens, 27% Labor and 15% the Liberals.

Of those who believe that climate change is a very important issue, 38% trust the Greens, 31% Labor and 10% the Liberals.

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Labor should tread (water) warily

Oct 19, 2010

First Published on The Drum 19/10/2010

As the Federal Government attempts to quell the backlash to its plans to save the Murray Darling by slowing the process to a crawl, it would do well to consider the lessons of the recently aborted Emissions Trading Scheme.

If there were a structured training program for politicians (and maybe there should be) the former Rudd government’s failure to deliver on its commitment to address climate change would be a required text.

It is a story of how tortured process can kill off reform, confuse would-be supporters, drain the public of confidence in their government and ultimately leave leaders in a no-win situation.

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Most important environmental problem

Oct 18, 2010

  Q. Which of these do you think is the most important environmental problem facing Australia today?

Q.  And which would you say is the second most important?

  Most important Second most important Total
Water supply 33% 20% 53%
The health of rivers and waterways 17% 21% 38%
Pollution 14% 17% 31%
Climate change 16% 14% 30%
Loss of native habitat 8% 11% 19%
Logging of native forests 4% 8% 12%
Greenhouse gases 2% 6% 8%
Don’t know 6% 2% 6%

Water supply (53%) and the health of rivers and waterways (38%) were considered the most important environmental problems facing Australia today.

Younger respondents were more likely to nominate climate change (36% of aged under 45) while 47% of those aged 45+ nominated the health of rivers and waterways. Water supply was the top issue for all segments except Green voters who nominated climate change as their most important issue (51%).

Important election issues

Oct 11, 2010

Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election? (Number from 1 to 3 where 1 is the most important, 2 the second most important, etc)

One Two Three Total Total 10th May 10 Total 25th Jan 10
Management of the economy 38% 15% 9% 62% 62% 63%
Ensuring a quality education for all children 6% 12% 14% 32% 19% 23%
Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system 14% 21% 13% 48% 50% 48%
Protecting the environment 3% 4% 5% 12% 13% 16%
A fair industrial relations system 3% 5% 3% 11% 10% *
Political leadership 6% 5% 5% 16% 12% 23%
Addressing climate change 4% 3% 4% 11% 12% 16%
Controlling interest rates 4% 6% 7% 17% 16% 15%
Australian jobs and protection of local industries 8% 10% 12% 30% 29% 33%
Ensuring a quality water supply 1% 3% 2% 6% 7% 12%
Housing affordability 5% 4% 8% 17% 17% 14%
Ensuring a fair taxation system 4% 5% 7% 16% 17% 14%
Security and the war on terrorism 1% 2% 3% 6% 7% 9%
Treatment of asylum seekers 1% 2% 2% 5% * *
Managing population growth 2% 3% 5% 10% 14% *

*Not asked

62% of people surveyed rate management of the economy as one of their three most important issues, followed by 48% ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system, 32% ensuring a quality education for all children and 30% Australian jobs and protection of local industries.

Only 11% rate addressing climate change as one of their three most important issues and 6% rate ensuring a quality water supply.   The major change since the previous survey in May, was an increase in the importance of ensuring a quality education for all children from 19% to 32%.

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Important election issues

Oct 11, 2010

Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election? (Number from 1 to 3 where 1 is the most important, 2 the second most important, etc)

Total Labor Liberal Green
Management of the economy 62% 59% 74% 46%
Ensuring a quality education for all children 32% 37% 26% 23%
Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system 48% 53% 47% 43%
Protecting the environment 12% 12% 8% 27%
A fair industrial relations system 11% 18% 6% 14%
Political leadership 16% 16% 17% 10%
Addressing climate change 11% 15% 4% 35%
Controlling interest rates 17% 11% 22% 12%
Australian jobs and protection of local industries 30% 34% 27% 15%
Ensuring a quality water supply 6% 4% 8% 13%
Housing affordability 17% 12% 16% 20%
Ensuring a fair taxation system 16% 12% 20% 16%
Security and the war on terrorism 6% 3% 8% 2%
Treatment of asylum seekers 5% 3% 5% 10%
Managing population growth 10% 7% 13% 9%

Labor voters are more likely to rate ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system (53%), ensuring a quality education for all children (37%) and a fair industrial relations system (18%) as important.

Liberal/National voters attach more importance to management of the economy (74%) and controlling interest rates (22%) while Greens voters are more likely to nominate addressing climate change (35%) and protecting the environment (27%).

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Importance of ETS

Sep 27, 2010

Q. How important for Australia do you think it is for the new Labor Government to move quickly to implement an emissions trading scheme or some other scheme (such as a tax on carbon) to address climate change?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens


Very Important 37% 54% 20% 72%
Not that Important 27% 12% 47% 5%
A top priority 13% 18% 6% 40%
Very important 24% 36% 14% 32%
Somewhat important 26% 29% 24% 19%
Not that important 14% 6% 24% 3%
Not important at all 13% 6% 23% 2%
Don’t know 10% 5% 8% 4%

37% of people think it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change.

54% of Labor voters, compared with 20% of Lib/Nat voters think it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change. 72% of Green voters think it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change.

48% of those aged 18-24, compared with 26% of those aged 65+ it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change.

42% of Victorians, compared with 30% of Queenslanders it is very important to implement an ETS or other scheme to address climate change.

There was no significant difference between the genders.

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