Guardian Essential poll suggests two-thirds of Australians think expanded crossbench a positive

Survey also shows support for constitutionally enshrined voice to parliament and treaty with First Nations peoples is rising

The latest Guardian Essential poll suggests Australians are comfortable with the substantial increase in the number of independents in the new parliament where Labor has now secured a majority.

The first voter survey since the federal election also suggests support for a constitutionally enshrined voice to parliament and a treaty with First Nations peoples is on the rise.

The poll of 1,089 voters shows 64% of respondents say an expanded crossbench would be positive because it would ensure a wider range of views were represented in the 47th parliament. Only 36% of respondents expressed concern about the potential for instability or delay in decision-making.

Over half the sample (52%) polled now support a treaty with Indigenous Australians, which was a five-point increase from 2017 when the question was last asked. Some 53% of respondents supported a constitutionally enshrined voice to parliament in line with the Uluru statement, an eight-point increase since 2017.

The new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has said he would hold a referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament during the coming parliamentary term.

After he was installed as Liberal leader on Monday, Peter Dutton acknowledged he was wrong to boycott the apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008, and said he would talk to Albanese about his proposal for the voice to parliament.

MPs from all sides have now returned to Canberra to deal with the wash up from the election. With the opposition leadership now in place, Albanese was expected to appoint his new ministry later on Tuesday, with swearing in scheduled for Wednesday.

As the new government takes shape, voters were divided about whether or not Labor’s plan to adopt a new 2030 emissions reduction target of 43% would go far enough. Forty-one per cent of respondents said that proposed new trajectory represented sufficient action to combat the risk of global heating. And 35% backed a higher medium term target, while 24% are unsure.

Just over half the Guardian Essential sample (52% of respondents) hoped the election of an Albanese Labor government created an opportunity to rebuild Australia’s battered diplomatic relationship with China, while 19% of respondents believed Australia needed to take a confrontational position (17% of respondents were unsure and 12% said the new government needed to keep the current set of policies).

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One of Albanese’s first duties as prime minister was to attend a meeting of the quadrilateral security dialogue in Tokyo. With China engaged in assertive courtship of Pacific leaders, the new foreign minister, Penny Wong, was dispatched to Fiji last week to conduct urgent diplomatic outreach, using Labor’s new climate policy as the foundation of a new Pacific partnership.

Poll respondents were asked this week whether Dutton taking on the opposition leadership made it more or less likely they would vote for the Coalition in 2025. The sample was divided, with 40% saying Dutton as leader made no difference to their voting intention, 24% said the elevation would make it more likely they would vote Liberal, and 27% saying the development made it less likely they would vote Coalition.

The new data suggests the incoming Labor government had strong support for most of the agenda it took to voters in the campaign, with 78% of respondents favouring more local manufacturing, 70% backing a boost to the minimum wage, 67% backing a new federal integrity commission, 66% backing the shift to renewables for power generation, 58% backing universal access to cheaper childcare and 55% backing the voice to parliament.

When asked which issues would be front of mind for voters when it was time to decide whether or not Labor deserved to be re-elected in 2025, local manufacturing, a minimum wage increase and more renewable power were the top three priorities, followed by an integrity commission, more gender equity in the workplace, cheaper childcare and the voice to parliament.

Respondents were also asked whether they were currently satisfied or dissatisfied with democracy. More people were happy than not – 47% said they were satisfied and 19% said dissatisfied.


Katharine Murphy Political Editor

The GuardianTramp

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