Most Aus­tralians want bank­ing royal com­mis­sion – Guardian Es­sen­tial poll

The Guardian Australia - - News - Katharine Murphy Po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor

A ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians would sup­port a royal com­mis­sion into the banks, with this week’s Guardian Es­sen­tial poll show­ing 64% in favour, in­clud­ing 62% of Coali­tion sup­port­ers.

With Barn­aby Joyce hold­ing out the prospect that the Na­tion­als might for­mally sup­port an in­quiry into the banks when the party room meets next week, and with dis­si­dent par­lia­men­tary num­bers for the pro­posal build­ing, the new poll finds pub­lic sup­port for a bank­ing royal com­mis­sion has stayed con­stant for two years.

Sup­port is high­est among La­bor vot­ers at 72%, and peo­ple in­tend­ing to vote for some­one other than the ma­jor par­ties (71%), but there is also clear ma­jor­ity sup­port among Coali­tion vot­ers and Greens vot­ers – 62%.

The other ma­jor po­lit­i­cal is­sue of the week, the le­gal­i­sa­tion of same­sex mar­riage, is also con­tin­u­ing to di­vide Aus­tralians.

With the Se­nate de­bate now mov­ing to the stage of con­sid­er­ing amend­ments, 32% of the Guardian Es­sen­tial poll sam­ple be­lieve that same-sex mar­riage leg­is­la­tion should in­clude re­li­gious pro­tec­tions – the po­si­tion be­ing pushed by Turn­bull gov­ern­ment con­ser­va­tives.

But a larger pro­por­tion of the sam­ple (47%) think it is ac­cept­able to ad­dress the ques­tion of re­li­gious pro­tec­tions in a se­cond leg­isla­tive process, which is the po­si­tion be­ing ad­vanced by many Lib­eral sup­port­ers of same-sex mar­riage, in­clud­ing Dean Smith, the ar­chi­tect of the pri­vate mem­bers bill cur­rently be­fore the Se­nate.

Among Coali­tion vot­ers, sup­port for the leg­is­la­tion in­clud­ing re­li­gious pro­tec­tions stands at 39% and sup­port for push­ing the is­sue of re­li­gious pro­tec­tions off to a sep­a­rate process stands at 46%.

Among La­bor vot­ers, 27% sup­port re­li­gious pro­tec­tions be­ing im­ple­mented through the cur­rent process and 52% want the is­sue ad­dressed in a sep­a­rate process.

With the Turn­bull gov­ern­ment in Can­berra con­tin­u­ing to ab­sorb the po­lit­i­cal im­pact of the Queens­land elec­tion, this week’s poll of 1,805 vot­ers con­tin­ues to have La­bor solidly in front in the national po­lit­i­cal con­test.

La­bor leads the Coali­tion fed­er­ally on the two-party pre­ferred mea­sure 54% to 46%, which is the same re­sult as last week.

Vot­ers were also asked a se­ries of ques­tions in this week’s poll about eco­nomic is­sues and about en­ergy pol­icy, with state en­ergy min­is­ters last week agree­ing that fur­ther work be car­ried out on the Turn­bull gov­ern­ment’s national en­ergy guar­an­tee.

The en­ergy ques­tion again un­der­scored pub­lic sup­port for re­new­able en­ergy, and for gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies for low-emis­sions tech­nolo­gies, with only 12% of the sam­ple agree­ing with the state­ment that gov­ern­ment’s should take ac­tion to slow down the tran­si­tion from fos­sil fu­els to re­new­ables.

Al­most half the sam­ple, 49%, said they thought gov­ern­ments should pro­vide in­cen­tives and sub­si­dies to speed up the tran­si­tion from fos­sil fu­els to re­new­ables, and 16% thought the mar­ket and con­sumers should de­ter­mine speed of tran­si­tion from fos­sil fu­els to re­new­ables.

The ques­tions about eco­nomic is­sues shows Aus­tralians are con­cerned about ris­ing en­ergy prices (88% of the sam­ple con­cerned, in­clud­ing 56% very con­cerned), about hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity (80% con­cerned, 50% very con­cerned), about food prices and in­fla­tion more gen­er­ally (83%/44%).

Vot­ers were least con­cerned about cuts in penalty rates (57%/28%), reg­u­la­tion of banks (58%/27%) and gov­ern­ment debt (60%/26%).

Only 33% of the sam­ple thought the econ­omy was trav­el­ling well, while 24% de­scribed the per­for­mance of the econ­omy as poor. Vot­ers were split about whether the econ­omy was head­ing in the right or wrong di­rec­tion – 31% thought the right di­rec­tion, 39% thought the wrong di­rec­tion and 30% didn’t know.

Coali­tion vot­ers were more likely to think the econ­omy is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion (52%) than La­bor (26%), the Greens (25%) and in­de­pen­dent/other vot­ers (17%), and men were more likely to think that the econ­omy was head­ing in the right di­rec­tion (35%) than women (28%).

Mal­colm Turn­bull speak­ing at a birth­day lunch for West­pac. The Guardian Es­sen­tial poll says 64% of Aus­tralians want a royal com­mis­sion into the banks. Pho­to­graph: Dean Lewins/AAP

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