This is probably the most comprehensive poll on foreign policy.
It focuses public opinion on:-
- insights on relations with the US,
- international trade
- military involvement in the Middle East
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Australia and the world: public opinion and foreign policy (2.4 MB PDF)
Relationship with the United States
- 60% of Australians had a favourable opinion of the US
- 76% had a favourable opinion of Americans
number of Australians regarding the ANZUS alliance as ‘very important’ for Australia’s
security fell from 45% to 36%.
President George W. Bush caused 69% to have an unfavourable opinion of the United States, with ‘US foreign policies’ causing 63% to hold an unfavourable opinion.
When rating their feelings towards 15 countries on a ‘thermometer’ scale of 1° 100°, respondents ranked:-
- US at a mean of 60°, equally with Vietnam
- New Zealand 81°
- Great Britain 75°
- Singapore 64°
- Japan 63°
Of all external threats to Australians, climate change causes the most concern, with 55%
‘very worried’ about it.
- Climate change ranks higher than the threats of ‘unfriendly
countries developing nuclear weapons’ (50% ‘very worried’ about it)
- ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ (39%)
- ‘international terrorism’ (38%)
As a foreign policy goal, ‘tackling climate change’ ranked equal highest in importance for those surveyed (75% thinking it a ‘very important’ goal) together with ‘protecting the jobs of Australian workers’, combating international terrorism’ (65%)
Asked how convinced they were about certain methods of reducing carbon emissions, 65% responded that ‘renewable energy like wind, solar and geothermal’ was very convincing, and favoured far above other methods proposed, including ‘nuclear energy’ (19% very convinced) clean coal where emissions are stored underground’ (15%).
Iraq and Afghanistan
The majority of respondents thought that Australia should not ‘continue to be involved militarily in Iraq’ (57%).
Equal proportions (46%) felt that Australia should continue in Afghanistan.
The rights of citizens to Australia’s protection 81% of survey respondents felt that the government should assist Australians caught up in dangerous events in another country, with a very strong majority (75%) agreeing this was the case even if they were also citizens of that other country.
Migrant worker schemes
The Poll showed that Australians are receptive to the idea of allowing unskilled migrant
workers into Australia for limited periods.
A strong majority of respondents (around 66%) agreed with positive statements about temporary migrant worker schemes such as ‘good because they fill a gap in the demand for seasonal workers’.
Significantly fewer agreed with negative statements about such schemes, such as that they ‘…make illegal immigration easier’ or ‘…take jobs from Australians’.
NB: The Lowy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan think tank which researches international political, strategic and economic issues from an Australian perspective. 1003 interviews were conducted between 21 May and 2 June 2007.
Lunch at Lowy
- Dr Ben Saul The law on terror - MP3 (20MB)
- Amos Brandeis Bridge for peace - MP3 (18MB)
- Kevin Rudd Future Challenges in Foreign Policy - MP3 (16MB)
- Allan Gyngell Design faults: the Asia Pacific’s regional architecture - MP3 (19MB)
- Peter Garrett Hands in the ruck: Australia's role in global climate change - MP3 (18MB)