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Issues Monitor June 2014: National

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Top Issues Facing Australia

For most of Prime Minister Abbott’s first term, ‘The Economy’ has been the top issue facing the Australia. A unique scenario, given Prime Ministers’ Gillard and Rudd presided over an environment where ‘Healthcare’ and, for a time, ‘Cost of Living’ topped the list.

June 2014 sees a return to ‘Healthcare’ as the top issue facing the nation, but only just. This switching of the lead issue should not to be confused with a changing of the guard, as substantial concern around ‘The Economy’ remains.

Our Issues Monitor demonstrates this economic worry in three areas. Firstly, Australians are still more concerned about ‘The economy’  than at any stage during the Gillard-Rudd era and have been very concerned about this issue since late 2013.

Secondly, anxiety regarding ‘The Economy’ reached the highest level of concern ever recorded for any issue in May, coinciding with the delivery of the Coalition’s first budget.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the Australian public’s confidence in the Coalition to manage ‘The Economy’ has eroded substantially since their sweeping election victory in September 2013. In June, 30% of Australians selected the Coalition as the political party most capable to manage ‘The Economy’. Twenty-nine percent selected the ALP and one out-of-every five (22%) selected Don’t Know. In September 2013, 41% of Australians selected the Coalition, 24% selected the ALP and 16% selected Don’t Know.

In summary, Australians’ anxieties around ‘The Economy’ have increased in concert with a levelling of the playing field with regard to capability. The Coalition, for its part, has two years to convince the public that the decisions taken in May proved a reasonable investment. Meanwhile the ALP is presented with its first opportunity in several years to become credible in the economic space.

Last updated July 2014