Lowy Poll Finds Support in Asylum Seeker Policy
4 June 2014 at 10:44 am
Australians strongly support the Federal Government’s policy of turning back boats, according to the latest polling by independent policy think tank, the Lowy Institute.
In its 10th anniversary Poll, the Lowy Institute found that 71 per cent of the Australian public agree that “the government should turn back boats when it is safe to do so”.
The Institute said riots broke out at the Manus Island detention centre partway through its polling fieldwork, resulting in the death of an Iranian asylum seeker.
Yet, the Poll found that the majority of Australians continue the support for offshore processing, which they demonstrated in response to a similar question in last year’s Poll.
Fifty-nine per cent of Australians this year said that “asylum seekers should be processed offshore in places such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea, before deciding whether they should be settled in Australia”.
“We also sought to test an idea sometimes urged by those opposed to offshore processing, that all asylum seekers should be processed onshore, whether or not they come by boat,” Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove said.
“Australians are quite divided on this.”
Some 47 per cent agree and 51 per cent disagree that “all asylum seekers should be processed in Australia whether or not they come by boat”.
“Younger Australians are more supportive, with a majority (56 per cent) favouring all processing in Australia, compared with 38 per cent of Australians 45 years and older,” he said.
The question of where asylum seekers should be eventually settled, as distinct from where their claims for asylum are processed, prompted a different response from Australians.
When asked about the Rudd Government policy of not allowing any asylum seekers to settle in Australia if they come by boat, less than half (42 per cent) of Australians agree.
As well Australians appear to be undecided about temporary protection visas, or TPVs. About equal numbers of Australians agree (48 per cent) as disagree (49 per cent) with the policy of granting TPVs which give “rights to work and some welfare services, but prevent permanent residency, family reunions and overseas travel”.
The 2014 Lowy Institute Poll included questions on issues such as who is Australia’s best friend in Asia and Canberra’s espionage practices, along with many established questions tracking trends over time including Australians’ views on democracy.
The 2014 Poll also investigated concern about climate change, the role Government should play in reducing carbon emissions, attitudes to asylum seeker policy, and seeks Australians’ views on key countries such as the United States, China and Indonesia.
Download the report, HERE.