'; ?> June 2006 | What The People Want
June 2006
Environment Survey
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 21:09 | Written by Graham Young
These are the notes that I used for this morning's interview with Madonna King on 612 ABC Radio Brisbane. Will do some more work on this tomorrow morning, however, here are the statistical highlights. I think that the take-out is that people are very pessimistic about the international and national environment and feel that things are outside their control - it’s a Doomsday scenario. Where things are within their control, which is at a local level, they can point to many things which make them optimistic, even though even here they still feel on balance pessimistic. Global warming over-all is a big concern, but degradation is the largest. Population and greed (business and consumerism) get most of the blame. We’re caught between our will and our destiny. We’d change things if we could, but there is no mechanism to allow us to do that, so we regrettably go with the community.
  1. Great response to this one. 565 responses with more tumbling in. More male than female, with the bulge in the baby-boomer area.
  2. Most of us believe that the environment is in real trouble at an international, national and local level. Only National Party voters think that on balance things are getting better locally and nationally.
  3. Using a balanced sample, 10% think the International environment is heading in the right direction versus 74% who think it is going in the wrong direction - no wonder Bjorn Lomborg (the skeptical environmentalist) is so unpopular.
  4. Using a balanced sample, 18% think the national environment is heading in the right direction versus 66% who think it is going in the wrong direction.
  5. Local fares the best. 30% versus 57%.
  6. Most of us regard ourselves as “environmentalists” - 92% Greens, 81% Labor, and 61% each for National and Liberal. But check out the sub-categories. Quarter of Libs neutral and almost a quarter of Nats negative!
  7. Why is the International environment in trouble? The big one is degradation - pillaging of forests, seas, disappearance of species (15%) Then comes global warming (13%). Then population (10%) Our lifestyle also gets a touch up - consumerism (8%) and business (8%).
  8. Why is the national environment in trouble? Global warming the winner (15%) Indifference - blame the government- (12%). Initiatives - (10%). A lot of this has to do with failure to ratify Kyoto.
  9. When it comes to local, many people can cite things that their councils have done to make a difference. 26% cite initiatives as the reason for how they think, and this is overwhelmingly amongst people who are optimistic. Planning is a negative (8%) and there is some concern about degradation (9%) although this mainly refers to farmers and industry. Planning includes people in SEQ who are worried about Dams.




“well, all the international climate change scientists are now saying that we are heading for a worst case scenario, big business keeps polluting and greenwashing, we in the wealthy countries are too concerned with consuming, and those in the poor nations too busy trying to survive to care about the environment.” Female, 31-40, Independent (was Greens).


“I don't believe we can predict the climate to any great degree, and even if we can a warmer climate isn't so bad - yet this is where the focus is. Yet the world globally is running out of other resouces - water, oil, fish, and land (degradation), and it is obvious problems in these areas will become acute in the next 50 years - unlike climate change.” Male, 41-50, Independent (normally Liberal)


“Population press is a problem for much of the developing world. Meeting the growing population is putting huge pressure on, and depleting resources, and also generating pollution.” Female, 41-50, Liberal (normally swings).



“Landcare has achieved slight slowing in rate of land degradation but only slight. Australia is the largest per capita greenhouse gas creator in the world and has not ratified Kyoto. Government prefers new flirtation with dangerous nuclear energy rather than take hard decisions on reduction or sustainable/renewable energy sources. Deforestation still alarming, usable water an increasing issue. Too many cars a huge problem and governments pandering to the oil/car/expressway lobby.” Male, 51-60, Greens


“Rome burns whilst 99% of humans say, "I can't make a difference, so why should i bother." Also politicians talk and do nothing to influence corporate and individual decisions which affect environmental outcomes.” Male, 51-60, Liberal


“Water pollution is on the decline. Air pollution in the major cities is at much lower levels than the past. The great fears of a catastrophic collapse in the Murray systems or the Great Barrier Reef are now found to be baseless. Although much remains to be done, we are clearly moving in the right direction and so long as we continue these efforts, the situation will only improve further.” Male, 51-60, Liberal



“It has improved over the last 5 years. We have a park near us with two rather large wet areas and a large patch of bush. The Council did its best to destroy it several years ago but when local people complained about spraying and rubbish dumping in the bush the Council cleaned up and improved their practices. The area is not 100% but certainly much much better than it was and wild fowl are slowly retruning to the area.” Female, 51-60, Greens (usually Labor).


“Because of the extremely poor local council and lack of trust they hold from the electorate. Ron Clarke is a poor politition with hidden agendas and no regard for the people who voted him in. Land is still being clear felled to allow low cost housing estates to be developed with no regard for the environment or the future.” Male, 31-40, Ind (usually Liberal) “We have a sawmill down the road that is operating in 1950's facilities, with OH&S issues that has led to half its staff being retired prematurely in the last decade. I hear noise that is beyond the state noise policy standard for a rural area ignored by the EPA. I see air quality that is dripping in particles ignored.” Male, 51-60, Independent (normally swings).


“Well its to do with drought. I recall that former PM Keating said that drought was no different to any other event in nature and in proposing to abolish Drought relief to farmers said that farmers should plan for drought. How much planing have state and local govts done recently in planing for drought. The last Premier to open a dam was Sir Joe, nearly 20 years ago. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black to me.” Male, 51-60, Independent “SImilar to above, the local area follows the paradigm that development is more important than sustainability.” Male, 51-60, Liberal.


“Watching the carrot and vegetable farmers pump chemicals into the soil, pull water from Warrill Creek for vegetables that get fed to cattle because they don't conform with Woolworths or Coles requirements .... too many resources being stripped for flavourless fodder.” Female, 41-50, Labor. The full document with the tables can be downloaded by clicking here .
Nuclear Age
Tuesday, 20 June 2006 03:49 | Written by Graham Young
These are the notes used for on-air analysis on Wednesday 14th June. The sample is much larger now (2,058 as of a minute ago), and some of the percentages have changed slightly. A fuller report will be compiled after close of business this Wednesday 21st June.
  1. Newspoll (pdf 84 kb) says that 51% of Australians are opposed to nuclear power generation in Australia and 38% approve, while Morgan Gallup says that 49% approve while only 37% disapprove. Why the difference? All in the question. Morgan frames it as greenhouse abatement.
  2. Newspoll has their own glitch – they ask about support for uranium mining, but only give three choices – status quo, much more, or none at all. On this basis 22% are totally opposed, 44% go for three mines and 22% want no restrictions.
  3. What is John Howard doing? Is there a chance that he could win the debate?
  4. Our polling combined with the Morgan and Newspoll figures suggest not.
  5. 476 responses analysed up until 4:53 this evening. Many more coming in. Heavy Greens bias – 31%; and male – 60%.
  6. Will send the results to the Government’s inquiry.
  7. Our sample disapproves of the inquiry, but taking skew into account suggests that the community is in on balance in favour, but not as strongly as Morgan suggests.
  8. Many have made up their mind that they don’t want nuclear at all, others see it as a tactic by the government to take attention away from other issues, and some see it as biased because of personnel and the fact that it is not looking at all alternative fuel sources.
  9. Those who approve cite need to investigate properly, many have made up their minds and see it as a way forward for nuclear, others see it as a way of taking partisanship out of the issue. At the same time there is also cynicism about Howard’s motives.
  10. Interesting dissonances when it comes to whether we should export uranium, and whether nuclear power is a good idea for Australia, or for other countries.
  11. 49% disapprove of other countries using nuclear, but this rises to 59% when they are asked about Australia using it.
  12. 44% disapprove of mining more uranium, but this is less than the 49% who disapprove of overseas countries using it, and the 59% who disapprove of Australia. Means that some of those who disapprove don’t have a problem with increased production!
  1. “Despite the probability that the PM needed to get a story on the agenda to justify his trip to USA (I heartily approve of our PMs playing a role on the world stage), a properly constituted enquiry would be most appropriate because the implicit issues are most important and should be in the public arena. This inquiry is constituted in a similar vein to the Repubic referendum and the Cole Inquiry!” Male, Undecided, normally Liberal, 61+
  2. “If it is an enquiry to gather facts and review the science, well & good. If it is for another purpose, probably no harm done but the debate is not progressed.” Male, Liberal previously Labor, 41-50
  3. “Overall an examination of nuclear power is needed and timely, however I am not sure that the personelle and terms of reference will meet the requirements of such an inquiry.” Female, Labor moving to undecided, 18-30
  4. “Both sides need to air their arguments clearly and precisely - not shout scary slogans” Male, Liberal going Labor, 51-60.
  5. “Not safe, waste is a problem” Female, Undecided, 51-60
  6. “I believe there are other options available that do not cause the problem of waste storage that the nuclear industry does.” Female, Undecided from Liberal, 61+
  7. “It is a distraction from rising interest rates and the work place reforms” Male, Liberal going to Labor, 51-60
  8. “I do not think the enquiry is broad enough - it should include comparing the feasability of solar, wind and other energy sources in comparison with nuclear. I am also worried about the bias of the PM's team” Female, Greens going undecided, 51-60.
Word counts: Waste 64 Danger 24 Dirty 9 Bias 21 Clean 27 Good 20 Greenhouse 19 Safe 58