AUSTRALIANS UNCERTAIN ABOUT SENDING TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST AND BELIEVE THE INTERVENTION MORE LIKELY TO MAKE US A TERRORIST TARGET

More Australians support than oppose the Federal Government’s decision to send Australian Defence Force (ADF) military personnel and assets to the Middle East to assist in fighting against the Islamic State, however a number of people are yet to take a position, a new poll from Ipsos has found.

Almost one out of every two (47%) Australians supports the decision to send troops to the Middle East, compared to one out of three (33%) who oppose the decision.  Twenty per cent are not sure.

When asked whether sending ADF personnel and military aircraft to the Middle East to fight against the Islamic State will make Australia more or less likely to be a terrorist target, six out of ten (58%) believe our involvement will make us more likely to be a target.

Only a very small fraction of the population, (3%) believe that Australia’s involvement will make us less of a target.  Almost one third (29%) believe our involvement will make no difference and 10% are not sure.

When asked whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the government’s performance in the area of foreign affairs, Australians are equal parts satisfied (44%) and dissatisfied (42%). Fourteen per cent are not sure.

“With any military intervention there are always going to be some people who support or oppose – irrespective of the conflict or circumstances.  The majority of citizens, however, digest the available information and take, and sometimes change, a position,” Ipsos Director Dan Evans said.

“At this very early stage – and despite the belief that our involvement is more likely to make us a target of a terrorist attack – Australians are more likely to support than oppose our involvement.

“In saying all of this, however, it’s very, very early days. We do not know the role the ADF will be playing in the Middle East, the deployment tenure, nor have we seen the outcomes of the intervention such as citizen or defence force casualties.

“The government has obviously taken a political risk in what they believe to be in the best interests of the nation.  Time will tell whether it was the right move, at the right time, against the right enemy.”

The Ipsos survey of 1,046 Australians (adjusted to be nationally representative by age, gender, location and education) was conducted from September 17th to September 21st.