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May 7, 2012

Essential: Coalition needed for another global downturn

Australians acknowledge our relative economic health compared to the rest of the world, but wouldn't trust Labor to lead us out of another economic downturn.


Australians acknowledge our relative economic health compared to the rest of the world, but wouldn’t trust Labor to lead us out of another economic downturn, new polling from Essential Research shows.

The weekly Essential Report, surveying 1029 voters online, will come as a bitter blow to a beleaguered federal government, with its primary vote not yet bottoming out and suggestions it will struggle to receive any credit for steering the economy away from recession.

Most voters recognise the economy has performed better than other countries over the past few years — though fewer believe that now than nine months ago. Around 66% of voters say the economy has performed better — down 70% from August 2011 — and even 60% of Coalition voters acknowledge Labor’s time in office has kept the economy moving faster than the rest of the world.

But few voters trust Labor to do it again. Asked which party they trust to deal with another global financial crisis, most voters picked the Liberal Party (42%) over Labor (25%). Support for the government’s economic management has collapsed this year — asked the same question in August 2011, Labor recorded support of 31% compared to the Liberals on 40%.

“The only demographic groups trusting the Labor Party more were aged 18-24 (Labor 37%/Liberals 29%) and those earning less than $600pw (Labor 41%/Liberals 32%),” Essential noted.

Labor’s primary vote fell another two points compared to last week, now nine points down on its election-winning tally of 38%. The Liberals picked up a point in primary voting, washing out to another point gain in the two-party preferred tally: 58% for the Coalition, 42% for Labor.

Confidence in the direction of the economy has improved. The percentage of respondents believing conditions to be getting better jumped nine points to 25%, from just 16% in October last year. Those believing economic conditions will worsen over the next 12 months has fallen 12 points from 58% to 46%.

Essential also has bad news for Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson. It asked: “In general, if a politician is accused of an offence, do you think they should stand down from the positions they hold or should they be allowed to continue in their positions until a decision is made about their guilt or innocence?” More than 60% of respondents said they should stand down; just 27% believe they should be allowed to continue in their positions.

Where Labor could be on some solid ground is in banking regulation — a series of questions on toughening regulation and capping salaries were overwhelmingly supported by Essential’s panel. The vast majority of voters say the government should intervene on executive remuneration, to tie Reserve Bank interest rate decisions to retail rates and to ensure bank fees aren’t higher than the cost of service.

They like the idea of taxing banks based on the “super” profits, like Labor’s new mining tax arrangements. And there’s even support for a government-owned bank …


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44 thoughts on “Essential: Coalition needed for another global downturn

  1. Bill Hilliger

    I agree with the essential polls, under a coalition we would at least have enjoyed a recession by now, and we could all be carping about the fiscal situation of our economy. Currently we have such a boring economy, no significant unemployment to complain about, nor a double dip recession, nor high interest rates, boring, boring, boring. Wait! there is an answer to all this pain: an Abbott, Hockey / Robb team in charge. Unemployment will rise, interest rates will rise, pensions will be cut, unemployment in Canberra at an all time high, tax cuts for those earning over $150K, Whyalla will be closed down, doom and gloom everywhere, get the picture. If not, just look at lazy Ted’s Victoria its all happening here already; unemployment on the rise , school funds beng tampered with, ditto with health funds just to name a few.

  2. Suzanne Blake

    This survey is more support for what we already know

  3. Amark

    Having a track record is of no significance it seems.

    Labor, once again, only has it self to blame, it has basically disowned all the great things it did during the GFC that kept people in jobs

  4. Bill Hilliger

    Quote: “Essential also has bad news for Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson. It asked: “In general, if a politician is accused of an offence, do you think they should stand down from the positions they hold or should they be allowed to continue in their positions until a decision is made about their guilt or innocence?” More than 60% of respondents said they should stand down; just 27% believe they should be allowed to continue in their positions”.

    I’d like to see that. During the AWB scandal (as far as I’m aware this matter has yet to be finally concluded) most of the Howard front bench would have had to stand aside. Remember how forgetful, and how many I don’t know responses there were from Alexander Downer there was at the time As would have Peter Reith the I can’t recall who used my mobile phone chappie.

  5. James K

    Australians have an amazing aptitude to cut off their nose despite their face!

    If the coalition get in next year, and another world recession hits, we will go down with it. For one important and fundamental reason: the coalition is philosophically opposed to doing what Rudd and labor did: inject billions into the economy to keep it purring. They would rather see massive unemployment and serious structural damage for some years, rather than alter their “world view” of how to do economics.

    And they will say “it is bigger than just Australia: there was nothing we could do about it. We just have to ride it out. It should come good in a couple of years with some thrift and belt-tightening.”

    And the short term memory loss of many Australians will simply agree with that nonesense: it is nonesense because Labor proved once already that we can survive a world downturn!

  6. James K

    Apologies for spelling errors in that last post! “nonesense” should have been “nonsense” of course.

  7. Michael de Angelos

    AMARK is correct. Labor does not blow it’s own horn enough and allows the media and Opposition to drive the notion that we survived what Europe & the USA did not via some other way rather than the government’s policies.

    Slipper/Thompson are merely incidents of little meaning yet they dominate the media along with SB’s claim that Julia ‘lied’ (as though a pollie never has before) yet it was Rudd’s ‘spend spend spend’ policy (with deputy PM Gillard) that saved the day.

    If the so-called ‘landslide’ happens then Aussies will suffer. Hockey has already announced what is to come with the ‘age of entitlement’ to end and Australians to be lectured that work and life in Asian countries is the way of the future.

    Yet he was allowed to get away with this bizarre rubbish with little comment.

  8. geomac

    Abbott forgot to put his 700,000 loan on the parliament register for two years while forgot he asked for Ashby email details . Prosser and many others forgot to declare having shares in companies that were to benefit from policies they were voting on .
    Howard and Costello repeated constantly that the libs were competent fiscal managers and labor under Beazley said nothing to refute it . Its only in the last few years that the Hawke and Keating years of reform have been acknowledged as preparing Australia for any global knocks . If the libs had saved us from the GFC we would hear about every single day no matter what the discussion was about . Howard flogged off 240 billion in assets and claims to have cleared 90 billion from government debt so what happened to the 150 billion left over ? We still don,t know how much Costello lost Australia with the gold deposit fire sale because he deemed it not in the public interest to know . Funny law that . A minister can deem an action he took as a public elected minister not in the interest of the public even if that action was deleterious to the nations coffers .
    The present group of Hockey , Robb and Abbott can,t even remember what the present line of policy/spin is and keep saying things that immediately are refuted as not policy . As a Victorian I am appalled at how poor Kim Wells has managed his position as treasurer and big ted is just paddling along seeming in a daze or maybe its just the appearance he gives . Either way Vic is going nowhere .

  9. geomac

    Abbott forgot to put his 700,000 loan on the parliament register for two years while Pyne forgot he asked for Ashby email details .

  10. Suzanne Blake

    @ James K

    the ONLY reason we did not go into recession during GFC, was because Swan started with $21b surplus.

    He has now blown that out of the water and it will take a generation to pay back

  11. Bill Hilliger

    @James K – right on! However, it seems to me for Australians to be happy and satisfied, they need something to complain about. When next in government, the Coalition will satisfy the Australian people in spades (remember those under reported Joe Hockey policy comments in London?) I can’t wait for the fun to start a coalition aiming to be fiscally responsible by lowering old age pensions and other benefits we the Australian people currently take for granted. Those of us who need to lament to be satisfied with life will have what we want. The media will also be able to salivate over the on-going complaints by the Australian people about the new coalition government in 2013. We should be careful what we wish for.

  12. shepherdmarilyn

    So the facists think the rule of law does not apply, what a shock.

    Will the frigging pollsters stop peddling this crap.

    And Suzanne, that is discredited tripe. Even if there had actually been a $21 billion surplus tax income slumped by some $100 billion or more.

  13. Suzanne Blake

    @ shepherdmarilyn

    Wrong again

    Swan is collecting 37% more TAX per annum that Costello ever did at the highest point between 1996 – 2007, even post his business and consumer confidence ‘slump’

  14. GocomSys

    Essential: Coalition needed for another global downturn?

    BILL is right (Post Monday, 7 May 2012 at 1:46 pm)
    JAMES K said it (Post Monday, 7 May 2012 at 2:33 pm)
    “Australians have an amazing aptitude to cut off their nose despite their face!”

    Too many victims of political amnesia: SUZANNE BLAKE is living proof!

  15. Bill Hilliger

    @ SB. Selling the family silver and a substantial pick-up in mining activities is the only reason the Howard government was able to maintain a surplus. Not good economic management but much good luck. There were many examples of reckless spending by the Howard government mostly in the form of vote buying (non means tested) middle-class welfare prior to most elections.

  16. shepherdmarilyn

    Suzanne, you sell everything you own and you will have a suplus.

    problem is you will be homeless and starving.

  17. Suzanne Blake

    @ shepherdmarilyn

    “you sell everything you own and you will have a surplus, problem is you will be homeless and starving”

    I don’t think so, super will kick in and all the Gillard handouts. Will live like a Queen.

  18. dag

    @ Suzanne Blake
    I know your only trolling, but that is an incredibly stupid thing to post

  19. GocomSys

    SMH headline: “Thomson and Slipper to compete with budget”.

    MSM slime, persistent leadership speculations and weekly opinion polls leave the electorate in a state of stupor. Let’s admit it, the government is doing an admirable job policy wise despite a relentless campaign waged by an utterly discredited and incompetent opposition and other purely self serving vested interests.

    It’s time for a somnambulist public to finally face reality before it’s too late.

    And yes SB, get a life!

  20. Steve777

    Unemployment in Australia topped out at 5.8% during the GFC when it was predicted to go to 8.5%. The rest of the developed world fared far worse. The stimulus packages – classic Keynesian solutions, supported by that hotbed of socialism, the Federal treasury – worked. The packages provided cash, work and income for those most vulnerable to keep things turning over until the outlook improved.

    The Opposition supported the first stimulus package but not the second. We’ve heard all the harping over pink batts (a lot of shonky private operators got off lightly and some probably should have gone to jail – but that’s private enterprise); and also BER, rated a success by 97% of schools. But no one ever asked Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull or Tony Abbott what level of unemployment would have been acceptable in 2008-10? 6.5 percent? 8.0 percent? We should be asking that now, with recession clouds gathering again and Mr Rabbit most likely to be in charge of the response to any GFC2.

  21. Karen

    @Bill, James K, Geomac, Gocomsys, Steve 777 – all well said. Australians don’t know they’re alive. They pick out lint from their navels and carp on about political stupidities at the moment, precisely because they can afford to. Wait until the Libs get in (and heaven help everyone if it combines with a big global double dip to create the perfect storm)….the polity will be begging for more gruel from this mob and will actually show gratitutde for it. Straight out of a Dickens novel. LOL!

    Its extraordinary how switched off the polity is for it to overlook the comparatively healthy state of the economy at the moment, not to mention the social,financial, and economic reforms that are currently being belted out at the rate of knots. They are so switched off, they couldn’t even repeat what the policies are…

  22. CML

    Agree with KAREN and those she named – and they say the media doesn’t influence people!

    @ AMARK – the reason the Labor party has not (until recently) blown its own trumpet about how successfully they managed the GFC is because that all happened under the leadership of Kevin Rudd. You know, that PM who was so hopeless and none of them could work with? They would look even more stupid if they then turned around and gave him credit for “saving the nation”, maybe? Just a thought!

    Could I respectfully suggest that the quote: “Cut off your nose despite your face”, is actually “Cut off your nose TO SPITE your face”. If you think about it, the latter makes more sense.

  23. Suzanne Blake

    @ GocomSys

    You strongly support the extreme left of politics, regardless of what happens. That is you right.

    At least I am open and fair. I have said 142 times what I think of Abbott and Hockey and Robb, so there is consistency.

    So you need to get a life, or have someone remove your blinkers

  24. Suzanne Blake

    @ Michael de Angelos

    Never before in Australia has the dishonesty of a Prime Minister been on display like it was with Gillard and her blatent dishonesty.

    She was clear and precise, so was Swan. Sorry that is a fact.

    All you other incidents by others are not recalled.

    The you add on the way she handled Thomson matter etc and the train of anger is unable to be stopped

  25. Karen

    @ SB – what are you trying to say? That Gillard’s single l i e over a carbon tax (which isn’t really because anyone with half a brain would see that its a carbon price in the wider context of a resuscitated carbon trading scheme) she said she was going to promote) is, somehow, more dishonest than the litany of lies that came out of Howard’s office over 11 appalling years: the war, children overboard, GST, AWB, scandals involving ministers – eg. Reith over misuse of tax-payer funded credit cards, Turnbull and HIH and yet no-one gave a fig about him not stepping down. Then finally refugees held in concentration camps off-shore and in our own back yard. Give me a break.

  26. Karen

    In moderation, sigh…

    @ SB what are you trying to say? Gillard’s carbon tax (or price signal as part of a wider ETS which she always said she was committed to) somehow outweighs the Libs’s egregious pork*es over the war, children overboard, GST, AWB etc.. Lets not forget the ministerial scandals etc. I recall the media didn’t really push it at the time and the public, consequently, didn’t really care. So, you and the public can save me the hypocrisy.

  27. AR

    I especially liked the final table re a national bank, CEO salaries etc. Amazingly overwhelming support for the propositions – what a pity none is on offer from Lab/Lib.
    As always, ONLY the Greens, have the integrity to propose what most people want. Pity they don’t that extra step and actually vote for them.

  28. Karen

    @ AR – too true. The schizophrenic polity likes much of the Green policies but they only have to hear outrageous press about Greens being watermelons and somehow working against the aspirations of ordinary folk, and decide to abandon support against their own self interest. Take the push to regulate the CSG industry. Just stupid.

  29. mike flowers

    seeing this poll in light of joe hockeys “little a audit” rationale on insiders on sunday, i’ve reached the conclusion that australia is the dumbest nation on earth.

    congratulations, there is no hope.

  30. Suzanne Blake

    @ Karen

    Rabbit on as much as you like, Australians remember one l ie and know who the dishonest PM is

  31. dag

    @ Suzanne Blank

    I think it was never ever ever in a government I lead will there be a GST.

  32. Suzanne Blake

    @ dag

    Howard went to 98 / 99 Federal election with GST policy.

  33. dag

    @Blank Suzanne

    Was it a core promise or non core promise lie?

  34. Suzanne Blake

    @ dag

    He went to an election with the GST and won? The election before it was introduced in mid 2000.

    Gillard and Swan are the dishonest ones, and that is reflected everywhere. Even Richo, Kennealey and others are saying it and they are LABOR

  35. dag

    @ Suzanne Blank

    Howard had to do a deal with the Democrats to win. Just Like Gillard had to deal with the Greens. How did that deal work out for the people that voted for the democrats, to keep the Bastards honest?

  36. Liamj

    I wouldn’t trust an online survey of 1000 people to tell me what day it is, never mind which way millions will vote over a year from now.

  37. geomac

    Howard won GST election by seats won but lost on majority of votes cast . Howard lost in 2007 and some would advance that workchoices as the biggest reason . Not only did Howard not tell the electorate of his intentions regarding IR he also shifted the goalposts ie small business 20 staff after senate majority small business 99 staff . Actually to set it right once he had found himself with a senate majority everything he said before was ditched regarding IR . He also managed to ditch his promise not to abuse senate majority within weeks of stating that promise . A bit like he ditched the parliamentary standards he had set when he gained office only it took longer to break . He lost half a dozen or more ministers and secretaries in the first year or so . After that AWB , horse flu , phone fraud and getting his brother off malfeasance became second nature .

  38. Karen

    @ SB 12.53 – and Julia went to the 2010 election committed to a carbon price and an ETS – so, where does that get you, je*k!

  39. dag

    Thanks Geomac, I was just winding up the clockwork troll. The lying Rodent still needed the support of the Dems in the senate to get the GST through. That cost the Democrats dearly.

  40. Suzanne Blake

    @ Karen



    She did not go the election committed to this. Recall this was made during the REAL JULIA, not fake Julia, recall she changed during the campaign

  41. Spamhater

    @ Suzanne Blake
    We could all sit here and swap the utterings of pollies until the cows come home. I seem to remember similar statements by the Libs on the GST and they didn’t have to cobble together a minority government whilst bending a bit on policy. My main question to you though is this –
    Who do I vote for next election? You don’t like “Dishonest Gillard” or Swan or “Bumbling Abbott” or Hockey or Robb, so does this mean you are a Greens supporter????

  42. izatso?

    There, Crap Suzette gets the last and loudest lie in, Hoorah ! !

  43. Karen

    @ SB – don’t you get my point! – let me make it real easy for you – sit down, get a pencil and tally up the l i*s on both sides (yes, look at my list above) and you will see that Howard wins hands down. And yet, I’m saying, Howard didn’t get punished for it. And that’s partly because the press didn’t go on a ji h adi push to unseat him. Hence my argument about hypocrisy, d*pe. Geezus wept!

  44. Suzanne Blake

    @ Spamhater

    The Greens are the party that prefer to destroy Australia and send us back generations, where we all live like they do in Tasmania, where the world has stood still for 40 – 50 years.

    We have poor choices at the moment, I have not decided how I will vote, but cann’t see me voting for Gillard and Co after what they have done, to wreck the country

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