A growing proportion of Australians have little or no trust in the government’s ability to handle Australia’s international relations, this week’s Essential Report shows, with 43% of voters saying they have no trust in the government to handle the issue and a further 16% saying they had little trust.
The outcome compares to 53% in November last year, when 35% of voters said they had no trust and 18% little trust. Even 19% of Coalition voters say they have little or no trust in the government. Those saying they had some or a lot of trust fell from 41% in November to 35% last week.
Moreover, 50% of voters are “not at all confident” Prime Minister Tony Abbott can represent Australia well, compared to 18% of voters who are “very confident” and 27% who are “somewhat confident”, although the responses split strongly along party lines.
Voters are more evenly split on the idea of Tony Abbott joining with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to blocked international action on carbon pricing, with 38% of voters supporting the idea and 39% opposing it. But 67% of voters believe climate change should be on the G20 agenda, something Abbott has been working to prevent, including 54% of Coalition voters, who continue to be mostly climate denialists -- 57% of Coalition voters believe rising temperatures are just natural variability, compared to 31% who accept climate science.
Support for same-sex marriage has reached a new high in Essential’s polling, with 60% of voters saying they support it, compared to 57% in October last year and 58% in May 2013. Those opposed are now down to just 28%, from 31%. There is support across all voting groups: Labor, 73-18, Coalition, 45-43, Greens 79-14 and 56-31 among “other” voters -- Palmer United and independent voters. There’s also a big gender gap -- 66% of women support same-sex marriage, compared to 54% of men -- and an age gap: 68% of under-35s support it compared to just 36% of those aged over 65.
On voting intention, the Coalition has picked up two points on its primary vote but Labor has picked up a point to reach 41%; the Greens remain on 9%, PUP is down a point to 5% and others 7%, for a two-party preferred outcome of 54-46%, the same as last week.
Essential also asked about which countries it was important we have a close relationship with. New Zealand has regained its position as the country of most importance to voters, lifting 7 points to 61% since November, while the United States has fallen 2 points to 57%; the UK is next on 48%, while China is down 8 points to 44%.