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Issues Monitor September 2014: National

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Top Issues Facing Australia

Anniversaries are observed, some with joy others with sadness. In a political cycle, anniversaries are used as pause points; an opportunity to compare where we are against where we were and where we are against where we were promised to be.

In September, Tony Abbott notched up his first year as Prime Minister, presenting an opportunity to review what the top issues facing Australia are relative to what they were, just one year ago.

‘The Economy’ is currently the top issue facing Australia ahead of ‘Healthcare’ and ‘Unemployment’. Anxiety around ‘The Economy’ has been consistent and acute, topping the chart as the most important issue facing the nation on nine occasions over the past twelve months. Australians have been more concerned about ‘The Economy’ during this previous twelve months than at any stage during the Gillard-Rudd era.

Perhaps of  greatest concern for this government is the public’s diminishing confidence in their capability to manage the Economy; long considered a natural strength of – and currency for – the Coalition.  In September, 36% of Australians selected the Coalition as the political party most capable of managing ‘The Economy’ relative to 41% one year ago.  While this represents a reasonable decline, the ALP is not feasting on the benefits. In fact, the proportion selecting the ALP has been constant, and is currently 23% relative to 24% one year ago. Most recently, one out-of-every four (24%) Australians selected ‘Don’t Know’ when asked which political party is most capable to manage ‘The Economy’ relative to 16% just one year ago.

This migration of preferences from the Coalition to uncertainty is not unique to ‘The Economy’, with a similar trend observed with concerns around ‘Unemployment’. In both examples, as Australians anxieties rose, their confidence in the Coalition to deliver diminished.

In the grand scheme, political anniversaries are not end points, mere chapters.  And, with two chapters yet to be written, the Coalition will be doing everything it can to regain the confidence lost during this previous twelve months.

Last updated October 2014