Headline national two party preferred results are clouding the dynamics and reality of what is happening at the state level – where elections are won and lostREAD MORE
One of the biggest jokes politics plays on itself is “secrecy” – secret internal polling that apparently makes public polling wrong, secret campaign tactics that relegate Sun Tzu to the status of mere amateur, through to other various secret and supposedly profound insights into the electorate that are beyond the comprehension of normal mortals. Cryptic [...]READ MORE
What do Australians believe about the economy? What do we believe the role is for government in our society and its economy today? Do our beliefs match our actions – or better still, are our beliefs and expectations of government even consistent from one topic to the next, let alone consistent between our broad ideals and what we actually believe when we focus on any given specific issue?
But more importantly, just how representative are those voices in our national debate that so often claim to speak on our behalf – that so often claim to represent the views we supposedly believe in as a population?
What follows is a walk through the national mindset as we have collectively revealed it to be over the last 6 months in polling. Some of you will be rejoice over what turns up, others will be horrified – all of you will probably have a chuckle at some of the paradoxes involved – yet whatever your perspective, it certainly helps explain some of the underlying dynamics of our national disgruntlement. The 30 odd poll results here mention the pollster and the date the polls were taken at the bottom and all have sample sizes about 1000 for a margin of error around the 3% mark.
First up – what do we see as the role of government? (click to expand)
Adding some texture to this and focusing on some specific policy areas (click to expand):
As a country, we believe not only in an active government, but we also believe that our governments are doing too little in providing the public services we demand. Health, public transport infrastructure, education – even holding banks and financial institutions to account (keep this in your thought orbit, as it will feed into some important themes later) – all show the public desire for more government action.
Yet this is where the first paradox occurs. What do we believe about the size of government?
Think about that for a minute. The largest response, a plurality of the population, believes that government is too large, yet clear majorities want government to do more on health, education, public transport and bank regulation – while a plurality wants the government to do more on crime protection and pollution regulation.
But let’s not stop there – if government is too large, do we believe that things like industry assistance for car manufacturing is part of the largesse problem?
Clearly not. Worth noting here is that this question didn’t ask about current levels of assistance, but *additional* assistance. Support is not only strong, but bipartisan – with only Greens voters not reaching an outright majority for more government expenditure on car manufacturing.
But is this view of ours isolated to just assistance for car manufacturing, perhaps as some peculiar cultural security blanket we’ve developed for Australian made motor vehicles?
Or course not! We support giving assistance to other manufacturing sectors at a higher rate than we do for the motor vehicle industry. What is also interesting to note is that while 55% of Coalition voters believed government is too large, 66% of them believe in what can only be described as high levels of industry support – and do so at a rate higher than ALP voters.
The “size of government” paradox in Australia is quite something – while we believe government is too large as some broad, abstract motherhood statement, we also want it to be that size or even larger whenever we focus on a specific issue. As we shall see later on, it just doesn’t stop at industry assistance or the usual list of public services, but covers a vast policy playing field.
So what then do we currently think of the economic reform program of the past 30 years – a program that reduced industry protection and the role of government in large areas of the economy? More to the point, *who* do we believe that reform program benefited?READ MORE