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29/09/2021
Voters turn up the heat on government over climate
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Dunkley and Flinders voters have overwhelmingly rejected the Federal Government’s so-called gas-led recovery and called for greater action from their elected representatives to address climate change. In what the Australian Conservation Foundation described as “the biggest and most in-depth survey ever conducted of Australians’ opinions on climate change”, a YouGov poll of more than 15,000 Australian voters aged 18 and over found none of the country’s 151 federal electorates expressed majority support for the government’s plans for new gas and coal-fired power.

In Labor-held Dunkley, 74 per cent of voters polled said they did not believe new coal or gas power stations should be a priority for the government, with 66 per cent saying the government needed to be doing more to address climate change. Eighty per cent believed greater climate action would help nature and wildlife survive extreme weather, and 66 per cent said Labor and Coalition plans for climate action would influence their vote at the next federal election.

The result in the Liberal seat of Flinders was almost a carbon copy: 74 per cent did not believe new coal or gas power stations should be a priority; 64 per cent said the government needed to be doing more to address climate change; 77 per cent believed greater climate action would help nature and wildlife survive extreme weather; and 63 per cent said Labor and Coalition plans for climate action would influence their next vote.

It was a similar story across Australia. Seventy-one per cent did not believe new coal or gas power stations should be a priority; 67 per cent said the government needed to be doing more to address climate change; 79 per cent believed greater climate action would help nature and wildlife survive extreme weather; and 67 per cent said Labor and Coalition plans for climate action would influence their next vote.

The poll found a majority of voters in the Hunter Valley coal region of NSW and in the Queensland ‘coal seats’ of Flynn, Maranoa, Capricornia, Kennedy and Dawson also did not believe new coal and gas plants should be built to supply Australia’s future energy needs. Other findings included:

  • Half of Coalition voters want greater action on climate change and one in five say it is the issue that will determine their vote;
  • 61 per cent of all voters polled support action to cut Australia’s greenhouse emissions by at least half by 2030;
  • 29 per cent of voters in inner-metropolitan electorates and 26 per cent in rural electorates say climate change is the most important issue for them at the next election; and,
  • 67 per cent of voters think the Morrison government should pay more attention to expert advice on climate change.

“This poll reveals a groundswell of voters prioritising climate change as a key election issue in response to longer droughts and heatwaves, devastating bushfires and damaging floods,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy. “This polling shatters the myth that there’s one view in the bush about climate change and another in the city. One in three voters in inner-metro electorates and one in four voters in rural electorates say climate change is the most important issue for them at the next election.

“The poll shows Australians reject the government’s gas-led recovery,” Ms O’Shanassy said. “Australia is a diverse nation but united in our desire for climate action. It’s time for the Morrison government to get on with building clean industries and jobs for Australians and cutting climate pollution this decade.”

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