/Nine at-risk Coalition seats concerned about climate change

Nine at-risk Coalition seats concerned about climate change

Posted

April 10, 2019 08:03:40

Liberal seats held by vacating and conservative MPs have extremely high levels of concern for climate change.

Key points:

  • New research shows seats where climate change concerns are most common
  • “Keeping day to day living costs down” is the issue most often identified by Australians as a concern
  • Concern over the quality of governance is growing

And global warming fear was increasing even before the Federal Government approved the Adani coal mine this week.

Electorate-level research released on Wednesday shows the extent of concern for climate change as the election looms.

The polling, completed by Roy Morgan during 2018 as part of the democracy non-profit Australian Futures Project, shows “keeping day-to-day living costs down” is the most pressing concern across Australia, ahead of “improving health services and hospitals” and “open and honest government”.

Climate change is the next most commonly identified issue.

At least one in three people (33 per cent) have climate change concerns in nine Liberal seats that are potentially vulnerable at the coming election.

That is significantly above the national average of approximately one in four people (26 per cent).

A majority of these seats have either conservative MPs recontesting or new candidates replacing retiring or ousted MPs.

Electorate Current MP Margin (%) Climate change concern (%)
Robertson  Lucy Wicks 1.1 33
Chisholm  Julia Banks (now independent, running in Flinders) 2.9 34
Leichhardt  Warren Entsch 4 33
Casey  Tony Smith 4.5 41
Stirling  Michael Keenan (retiring) 6.1 37
Menzies  Kevin Andrews 7.8 45
Ryan  Jane Prentice (lost preselection) 9 34
Higgins  Kelly O’Dwyer (retiring) 10.1 67 (highest in country)
Warringah  Tony Abbott 11.1 47

Australian Futures Project executive director Ralph Ashton highlighted Warringah and Higgins as areas where climate change was the biggest concern.

“People in those seats are represented by a party that they perceive is not doing enough on the issue of climate change,” he said.

“People are more concerned about it now than they were even 12 months ago.”

Roy Morgan asked Australian electors to nominate the three issues of most importance to them from a list of 18.

The survey included face-to-face interviews with 330 respondents on average in each electorate.

“No current member of Parliament in the Lower House is fully addressing the concerns of their electorate,” Mr Ashton said.

“What the politicians are talking about is really not what the Australian public is concerned with.”

Call for open and honest government

The popularity of “open and honest government” concerns echoes findings from the long-running Australian Election Study at the Australian National University.

ANU’s Ian McAllister said alongside traditional concerns such as health, education and immigration, governance is becoming an issue for Australians.

“Increasingly over the last few years we’ve seen ‘good governance’ come in — people have felt they’re not being properly governed,” he said.

“It’s come about due to declining trust in politicians and political parties, and it’s particularly come about in the past five or six years with the frequent changes in party leadership.”

Mr Ashton said people wanted government and political leaders to solve hard problems.

“Climate change is a classic case of short-term thinking in Australia where we need to shift the conversation from short-term problems to long-term solutions,” he said.

The federal election is set to be held in May.

Topics:

climate-change,

government-and-politics,

federal-elections,

science-and-technology,

environment,

australia