Thursday 13 Aug 2020 | 06:50 | SYDNEY
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About the project

The Lowy Institute conducts significant research on Australia's diplomacy, and its long-standing public opinion polling program, the Lowy Institute Poll, has become an important input into Australian foreign policy since 2005. The Institute also runs the Australia-Papua New Guinea Network, an innovative public diplomacy project to foster people-to-people links between the two countries.

Australia is one of the most highly globalised nations on the planet and extremely dependent on an effective and active diplomacy. In a region undergoing rapid and transformational change, where shifting power balances are creating uncertainty about the existing regional order, Australia’s security and prosperity rely heavily on its international networks and relationships with both near neighbours and geographically-distant allies.

Research on Australia's diplomatic network

The Lowy Institute has conducted ground-breaking comparative research on Australia’s diplomacy and that of like-minded nations. It focuses on Australia's diplomatic network and the resourcing of its international policy infrastructure. It has also produced influential studies on public diplomacy, digital diplomacy, and consular affairs. The Institute’s work has been instrumental in shaping a parliamentary enquiry into Australia’s diplomatic network,  providing independent, non-partisan policy options to steer Australia’s diplomatic future. In 2016, the Lowy Institute released the Global Diplomacy Index, an interactive web tool which maps and ranks the diplomatic networks of all G20 and OECD nations. The interactive allows readers to visualise some of the most significant diplomatic networks in the world, see where nations are represented – by city, country, and type of diplomatic mission – and rank countries according to the size of their diplomatic network.

Australia-Papua New Guinea Network

In an important public diplomacy initiative, the Institute runs the Australia-Papua New Guinea Network, a program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to foster people-to-people links between Australia and Papua New Guinea. For more about the Australia-Papua New Guinea network and its activities, access the site here.

The Lowy Institute Poll

To inform the public debate on Australia's foreign policy, the Institute has conducted annual polling of Australian public opinion on foreign policy since 2005. The annual Lowy Institute Poll has become one of the Lowy Institute’s flagship publications. It is the leading tracking survey on Australian foreign policy, providing a reliable vehicle for understanding Australian attitudes towards a wide range of foreign policy issues, while being independent and methodologically rigorous. Over the course of the past decade the Poll has uncovered significant shifts in public sentiment, including towards our most important neighbours and partners. It has tracked attitudes on contentious international issues ranging from climate change to war in the Middle East.

The annual Poll is entirely funded by the Lowy Institute to ensure its ongoing independence, and its questionnaire and results are thoroughly reviewed by one of Australia’s most experienced polling experts, Sol Lebovic, the founder and former managing director of Newspoll. Data sets are deposited with the Australian Social Science Data Archive where they are available free of charge for public scrutiny.

One of the best ways to explore the data from our twelve years of polling is through our interactive site. Access the interactive here.

Alternatively, to download the poll reports for each year, click on these links:

In addition to its Australian polling program, the Lowy Institute has conducted influential polls in several of our most important neighbours in Indo-Pacific Asia, including India (2012), Indonesia (2006 and 2011), New Zealand (2007 and 2012), China (2009) and Fiji (2011).


Latest publications

The 2010 Lowy Institute Poll

New questions in the sixth annual Lowy Poll of Australian public opinion cover the Rudd Government’s handling of foreign policy, whether Australia should develop nuclear weapons, attitudes towards Indonesia and US power, sanctions against Fiji, and the morality of Australia’s foreign policy.

The nationally representative poll also repeated questions asked in previous years on topics such as climate change, Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan, and attitudes towards the United States and China.

China and the world: public opinion and foreign policy

The Lowy Institute’s first China Poll is a wide-ranging survey of Chinese public opinion towards a number of important international policy issues. By what do the Chinese people feel threatened? How do they feel about foreign investment from Australia, Canada and the United States? Which country do the Chinese people regard as the best place to be educated and what do they think of Australia – is it a good place to visit, a country with attractive values or is it suspicious of China? Photo: Flickr user Max Braun.

The 2009 Lowy Institute Poll

The fifth annual Lowy Institute Poll surveys a nationally representative sample of Australians on a broad range of foreign policy issues. New questions this year cover the priority given to action on climate change, public attitudes towards relations with the US and China, foreign investment, asylum seekers, how to deal with Iran, and perceptions about nuclear threats.

The 2008 Lowy Institute Poll: Australia and the world

The fourth annual Lowy Institute Poll surveys a nationally representative sample of Australians on a range of foreign policy issues and contains a number of new questions. These cover attitudes towards Japanese whaling, foreign investment in Australia, China, the US presidential election, climate change, Australia’s international reputation under the new Rudd government, and uranium.

The Lowy Institute Poll 2006: Australia, Indonesia and the world

The 2006 Lowy Institute Poll involved parallel public opinion surveys in Australia and Indonesia. The report contains responses from both countries to questions on foreign and security policy, global affairs, and each other.

The 2006 poll was conducted in partnership with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which fielded parallel surveys in China, India and the United States.

‘Respondents felt that Indonesia was essentially controlled by the military, that Indonesia was a dangerous source of Islamic terrorism and that Australia was right to worry about Indonesia as a military threat.’


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