- Liberal-National coalition remains the party of choice for the majority of foreign policy issues
- Labor Party is preferred to handle climate change and has gained ground on other issues
In an early release of select results from the Lowy Institute Poll 2019, the Liberal-National Coalition holds a clear lead over the Labor Party on five out of nine key foreign policy issues.
The majority of Australians prefer the Coalition over Labor in relation to maintaining the alliance with the United States, national security, economic management, asylum seekers, and immigration policy.
However, the Coalition’s lead is narrower than prior to the 2016 election, when the Coalition was favoured over Labor on seven of eight foreign policy issues.
Labor is preferred on one issue – managing Australia’s response to climate change – with a significant lead over the Coalition in this policy area.
Australians are divided as to whether the Coalition or Labor would do a better job of managing foreign investment in Australia, managing foreign influence in Australia’s political processes and managing Australia’s relations with China. Labor has gained ground since the 2016 election and now matches the Coalition on the issues of foreign investment and managing relations with China.
More Australians have confidence in Prime Minister Scott Morrison (58%) to 'do the right thing regarding world affairs' than in Opposition Leader Bill Shorten (52%). But both candidates inspire less confidence than former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (63% in 2018).
Natasha Kassam, Lowy Institute Research Fellow, said “The Coalition are traditionally the party of choice on foreign policy, and this year is no different. But Labor has narrowed the gap and is preferred two-to-one for its climate change policies. The China relationship and foreign interference will test the party that forms government after 18 May, but Australians are split as to who would do a better job managing these key issues.”
The Lowy Institute Poll 2019 full report and results will be released in June. Historical data is available at www.lowyinstitutepoll.lowyinstitute.org
Table of results
Thinking now about the Australian federal election which will be held later this year. Which of the two major parties, either the Liberal-Nationals Coalition or the Labor Party, do you personally think would do a better job of handling each of the following issues?
|Liberal-Nationals Coalition||Labor Party|
|Maintaining a strong alliance with the United States||53%||57%||59%||26%||25%||31%|
|Ensuring Australia’s national security is maintained||55%||53%||53%||24%||29%||39%|
|Managing the Australian economy over time||61%||53%||52%||25%||31%||39%|
|Handling the arrival of asylum seekers by boat||57%||47%||49%||25%||35%||43%|
|Managing Australia’s immigration policy||48%||43%|
|Managing foreign investment in Australia||59%||50%||46%||24%||33%||46%|
|Managing foreign influence in Australian political processes||46%||44%|
|Managing Australia’s relations with China||40%||47%||44%||44%||35%||47%|
|Managing Australia’s response to climate change||40%||31%||32%||45%||52%||59%|
Confidence in world leaders
Here is a list of political leaders. For each, please indicate how much confidence you have in each leader to do the right thing regarding world affairs – a lot of confidence, some confidence, not too much confidence or no confidence at all.
|A lot||Some||Total: a lot and some confidence||Not too much||None at all||Total: not too much confidence and no confidence at all|
|Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison||16%||42%||58%||28%||14%||42%|
|Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten||10%||42%||52%||30%||18%||48%|
|Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull||18%||45%||63%||22%||14%||36%|