Forty percent of Australian voters are concerned by unions having too much control over the government is Labor wins the forthcoming election, a new Morgan Poll has found. Fifty-seven per cent, however, say they are not concerned, while just 3% can’t say.

The news comes as Labor prepares to release radical changes to its industrial relations policy.

Unsurprisingly, the views of Coalition and Labor supporters are diametrically different on the issue. Seventy-eight per cent of Labor voters are unconcerned by the prospect of union influence, while 71% of Coalition voters are concerned.

The mix of union power and Labor in office in the states and Canberra, however, causes concern.

A significant 52% of electors are concerned about either the unions having too much control or about Labor controlling all levels of Parliament.

Seventy six per cent of Coalition voters are concerned about Labor having control of all state and federal governments, while 80% of ALP voters are not concerned.

“Previous Roy Morgan qualitative research has found that management of the economy, interest rates and IR are the major issues in the minds of electors,” pollster Gary Morgan says.

“Kevin Rudd and his advisers should be alarmed that a majority of electors are concerned about either unions having too much control if Labor wins the election or Labor dominance of all State and Federal Parliaments.

“The electorate can expect ‘the mother’ of all union ‘scare campaigns’ in the lead up to the Federal election. Labor needs to convince the electorate that its employment policies will not revert back to union restrictive work practices and dominance.

“Appeasing the $100,000+ income earners on AWAs is not the issue – the issue is the large number of ALP voters who believe today ‘the country is going in the right direction’.”

These are the main findings of a special telephone Morgan Poll, which was conducted on the nights of August 21/22, 2007, with 633 Australian electors. A report with detailed analysis (computer tables) by state/region and all demographics including voting intention with “soft” Coalition and Labor ALP voters specified is available here.