Climate: It’s more than just Kyoto - marginal seat voters Media Release

Nov 30, 2007 - 7:08am

Research conducted for the Climate Institute after polling closed last Saturday shows that marginal seat voters who gave their vote to the ALP want more than just Kyoto ratification, with 85% wanting Australia to be a leader in international action and negotiations, and 93% wanting Australia to reverse its rising greenhouse pollution in five years compared to 81% backing Kyoto ratification. Climate change was a key differentiating factor between the two major parties at the election.

“Kyoto ratification is a very important and welcome step but Australians are hungry for more decisive action to reverse our own rising pollution within five years and want us to lead the international task to avoid dangerous global warming,” said John Connor, Chief Executive, The Climate Institute.  “And that means backing those countries which are focusing on avoiding more than two degrees global warming at Bali.”

Climate change rated as the third most important distinguishing factor for marginal seats voters, with half of all voters believing there was a large difference between the parties on climate change and that they saw a greater difference on that issue than on economy, health, education, interest rates or national security.

Only industrial relations (76%) and leadership (60%) were issues on which a greater number of people thought there was a large difference between the two major parties.

The research also showed the fluctuation in views about which party was the better party to manage climate change. Although the ALP was always considered to be better, the proportion of people who held that view varied over the course of the year.

In a national poll in March this year just 38% thought the ALP was the better party, compared with 15% who preferred the Coalition. By August a poll of marginal seats voters showed 42% thought Labor was better than the Coalition (20%), this fell during the campaign to ALP 35%, Coalition 15% after confusion about approaches to developing countries’ emissions, but recovered to 47%, with the Coalition on 13% by Election Day.

There was strong support from all voters for other decisive policies including energy efficiency targets 85%, greenhouse reduction targets of at least 20% by 2020 (85%) and 80% by 2050 (80%) and ensuring all new electricity comes from clean energy (82%).

Climate change was also significant for voters who decided how they would vote during the campaign, not before it started. Of the 44% of marginal seat voters in this category, 26% ranked climate change in their top two issues, compared with 19% of those who had decided before the campaign commenced.

“With both major parties seeking to move on climate change by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol (see Bali Media Briefing), they need to listen to the Australian public who want that backed by decisive action on reversing rising greenhouse pollution within five years and international leadership to avoid dangerous global warming of more than 2?C (on pre-industrial levels).

The poll was conducted by the Australian Research Group (ARG) using a sample of 984 voters and was conducted from 6pm on Saturday the 24th November until Tuesday the 27th November, 2007 in eight marginal seats in NSW (Bennelong, Wentworth, Lindsey, Eden-Monaro), Queensland (Petrie, Bowman) and South Australia (Makin, Sturt).

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