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Message to NFPs : Australians “More Progressive” Than Previously Thought

21 July 2011 at 3:14 pm
Staff Reporter
Some 55% of Australians want business to contribute more to the community and society overall, according to new research that suggests Australians are more progressive in their views than previously thought.

Staff Reporter | 21 July 2011 at 3:14 pm


Message to NFPs : Australians “More Progressive” Than Previously Thought
21 July 2011 at 3:14 pm

Some 55% of Australians want business to contribute more to the community and society overall, according to new research that suggests Australians are more progressive in their views than previously thought.

The new research indicates that Australians support a wide range of progressive issues including indigenous recognition in the constitution, gay marriage, Australia becoming a republic and investment in human services rather than personal tax cuts.

Respondents were also asked would they generally prefer business to contribute to more national charities or more local charity organisations.

Australians were clear, 67% to 19% , saying that their preference was for business to support local charities rather than national, according to the research, which was released this week by new strategic communications and government relations firm, Progressive Advisory.

When asked about which type of organisations they would like business to support they stated they would prefer smaller less known charities (30%) and organisations running innovative programs in need of investment (44%) rather than larger more well known organisations (11%) with 15% stating they did not know.

The research, undertaken in conjunction with leading researchers AMR, polled more than 1500 adult Australians for their views on a wide range of current issues including workplace relations, the environment, social issues and the role of business within the community to measure how progressive the population really is.

Progressive Advisory’s Managing Director, Andrew Johnson says the results reveal that while some progressive issues have been lambasted as only having support among a narrow sector of the community, they now in fact have mainstream and majority support.

Johnson says the polling results show a significant support for progressive issues and there is a strong message to the Not for Profit sector that there should be increased dialogue between the business community and the NFP world.

According to the Progressive Advisory research the most progressive Australians are likely to be female aged between 55-64. They are also more likely to live in South Australia and Victoria, whereas the least progressive Australians are more likely to reside in Western Australia and Queensland.

What do Australians believe?

  • 74% of Australians feel the gap between the wealthy and less wealthy is widening
  • 51% are in support of gay marriage with only 31% against
  • 58% are in support of Indigenous peoples being recognized in the Australian constitution as the
  • original inhabitants, with only 18% against
  • 42% are in favour of Australia becoming a republic “in their lifetime” with 32% against
  • 67% said they want business to do more on the environment
  • 55% said they want business to contribute more to the community and society overall
  • Only 26% feel Australia is a fairer place than 10 years ago, with 48% stating it was “less fair”
  • More than seven in 10 Australians support investing in education, health and child care rather than receiving a personal tax cut – and among those supporting investment in services health is the big winner at 71% and education 24%
  • 55% said they were in favour of taxing high polluting industries

Andrew Johnson says this polling indicates there are significant gains to be made for companies and organisations that make serious moves to engage and communicate with the community, and for political parties that can harness voters that support these causes and issues.

The research was conducted online between June 15-20, 2011. The polling was undertaken prior to the release of the ALP’s proposed climate change plan.

Andrew Johnson is a former CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and an international consultant specialising in strategic management, program strategy and development, lobbying and campaigning. He has worked for UN agencies and some of the largest NGOs in the world developing and implementing global strategic plans.

Progressive Advisory says it works with the corporate sector on social responsibility and conscious capitalism, supporting strategic planning and communications of civil society groups and assisting organisations and business to work with progressive issues.

The survey results can be found at

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  • gubmcn says:

    If you ask people whether they think that businesses should contribute more than they currently do to the community and society, you shouldn't be surprised when most people agree.  There are no costs. It's like asking people whether they want world peace without mentioning the astronomical geo-political concessions involved.

    If you took that finding to businesses, they would say (if they responded at all) that people might feel differently if the cost of products and services went up and share prices went down.  Most people are indirectly invested in the stock market via their Super funds and, if businesses start sending profits to charities, rather than their shareholders, if people have to wait to retire because their Super fund is insufficient, there will be an outcry.

    And although I work in the sector, my voice would be amongst them. 

    Here's why: if my money is going to be spent on my behalf, why would I want big business to be the decision-maker?  Many of the organisations closest to my heart are responsible for holding big business to account on social and environmental issues.  It would be wildly unrealistic of me to expect big business to be disinterested enough to fund those organisations.  We would simply be concentrating more power in the hands of the most powerful and those most incentivised to protect the status quo. Isn't that the exact antithesis of a progressive agenda?

  • Anonymous says:

    Let the Majority of Australians speak for a change!

    Most people don’t begrudge refugees a safe place to live. The current act of irregular maritime arrivals or boat people is making a mockery of our system and life style. they come here and cost the average Australian more than most of us earn in a year and yet we have to pay for them when our kids have to pay there way. For Australian children to get an education they have to pay the money back through HECKS loans.

    Why than do the boat people that get accepted not have to pay back the costs.
    I have seen many times that they are now called Irregular maritime arrivals so why not make them pay back the costs from the time that they arrive, this would include accommodation, electricity, phone & internet and all the free cigerettes and relocation grants through a Loan program. I would call it IMALP as in “Irregular Maritime Arrivals Loan Program”.

    Its time that all Australians, and I mean the majority for a change instead of the minority and say we have had enough. we have seen what this process is doing to our country, we are compassionate but we are not here to be taken advantage of.

    Australian Governments write your legislation correctly, stop squabling like children and lead this country like we elect you to do. Australians do not get a free ride and neither should people imigrating to our country. We demand that if they have just cause to be here that they must be made to pay back the costs.

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