Polling | 29 May 2015

2015 Lowy Institute polling: Attitudes to Australia’s aid program

A majority of Australians of voting age are in favour of the recent budget cuts to Australia’s overseas aid to developing countries.

  • Alex Oliver

A majority of Australians of voting age are in favour of the recent budget cuts to Australia’s overseas aid to developing countries.

  • Alex Oliver

Key Findings

  • Most Australians support recent budget cuts to Australia’s overseas aid – but 18-29 year-olds are more critical of the level of the aid budget.
  • This poll, combined with Lowy Institute polling earlier this year, suggests that few Australian adults see the government’s current aid budget as inadequate.

Summary

A majority of Australians of voting age are in favour of the recent budget cuts to Australia’s overseas aid to developing countries, according to Lowy Institute polling conducted last weekend by Newspoll. Although nearly one in five express strong opposition to the budget reductions to overseas aid (19% saying they are ‘strongly against’ the reductions), only 35% of Australians overall oppose the reductions to the aid budget, and 53% are in favour of the reductions.

This poll, combined with Lowy Institute polling earlier this year, suggests that few Australian adults see the government’s current aid budget as inadequate. In the survey for the annual Lowy Institute Poll in late February/early March, only 21% of Australians said that Australia’s 2014/15 aid expenditure, ‘at 5 billion dollars in aid to developing countries, or around 1.2 per cent of the Budget’ is ‘not enough’. On the contrary, 36% said it was ‘too much’, while 41% said it was ‘about the right amount’.

Views on the generosity of Australia’s aid program vary considerably across age groups, with younger Australians far more inclined to be critical of the level of the aid budget.

When asked about the $1 billion reduction to the aid budget last weekend, only 33% of 18-29 year- olds (compared with 58% of those aged 30 and over) support the reduction, while 42%  — though still not a majority — of that age group oppose the cuts. In our annual Poll survey in February/March, 34% of 18-29 year-olds said that the 2014-15 aid budget was ‘not enough’, compared with only 17% of those aged over 30.

Poll questions and results

1.  2015-16 budget cuts

Thinking now about the Federal Budget. In last week’s Federal Budget, the Government reduced the amount of overseas aid to developing countries — from about five billion dollars a year, or one point two per cent of the budget, to around four billion dollars, or nought point nine percent of the budget.  Are you personally in favour or against this reduction in the budget to Australia’s overseas aid?

              

Newspoll

 22-24 May 2015

Strongly in favour

31%

Somewhat in favour

22%

Total: in favour

53%

Somewhat against

16%

Strongly against

19%

Total: against

35%

Neither/don’t know/no view

13%

 

2.  2014-15 aid budget

Thinking now about the aid the Australian government provides to developing countries. Currently the government provides approximately five billion dollars in aid to developing countries, or around 1.2 (one point two) per cent of the budget. Do you think this is too much, about the right amount, or not enough?

              

Lowy Institute Poll

 Feb/Mar 2015

Too much

36%

About the right amount

41%

Not enough

21%

Don’t know/no view

2%

Notes

These results are drawn from a nationally representative telephone poll conducted by Newspoll on behalf of the Lowy Institute on 22-24 May 2015 (1,210 adults), together with The Lowy Institute Poll 2015, a nationally representative telephone  survey of 1,200 Australian adults conducted between 20 February and 8 March 2015 by I-view. The error margin on each poll is approximately +/- 2.8%.