Australians have turned on the NBN as inadequate and inferior to Labor’s model in today’s Essential Report poll, with even Liberal voters dismissing it.

With NBN Co embarrassed by its admission that the Optus cable network was inadequate for its use — a serious blow to Malcolm Turnbull’s claim to be able to deliver the NBN faster and more cheaply than Labor — just 22% of voters believe the NBN will be adequate for Australia’s future internet needs, while 47% believe it won’t be. And partisanship has little impact on voters’ views: 44% of Coalition voters think it’s inadequate compared to 47% of Labor voters, 65% of Greens voters and 56% of “other” voters. Men are more definite in their views, splitting 51%-26% compared to 43%-19% among women, of whom 38% say they don’t know.

NBN inadequate for Australia's future needs

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When the questioned is framed in more partisan terms, voters split differently: 42% say they prefer Labor’s version of the NBN while 27% prefer the Coalition’s; 8% of Labor voters prefer the Coalition model and 17% of Coalition voters prefer the Labor model. Again, women are much more likely to offer no opinion; unusually 35-54 year olds have the strongest views, with 48% preferring Labor’s NBN to just 18% who prefer the Coalition’s.

And half of voters believe immigration has been too high over the last decade, compared to 28% who believe it is about right and just 12% who think it’s been too low. Greens voters are the only group at odds with the wider electorate — 34% of Greens voters say immigration has been too low compared to 20% who believe it has been too high and 39% who think it’s been about right. Coalition voters are much more likely to think it has been too high (58%) but not nearly as much as “other” voters — 68% of whom think it’s been too high, including 48% who think it has been much too high.

Half of Australians think immigration is too high

In a similar but differently phrased question earlier this year, Essential found that people born overseas were indistinguishable from Australian-born people in their view on immigration levels — a neat example of “drawbridge migrants”.

And a narrow plurality of voters disapprove of Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to reverse most of the cuts to Australia’s humanitarian intake made by Tony Abbott, 44% opposition to 39% support, with strongest support coming from Greens voters (74% approval) and Labor voters (44% approval).

On voting intention, the Coalition has maintained its improved position and is on 40% primary vote compared to Labor on 36%; the Greens have fallen another point to 8%; NXT and One Nation are steady on 3% and 6% respectively. The overall two-party preferred outcome is 51%-49% in Labor’s favour, down from 52%-48%.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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