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Which Australian voters care most about helping the world’s poorest people?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=14,154). Base: Australian electors

With the Federal Government’s foreign aid budget the lowest it’s been in more than 40 years (relative to income), the question arises: how do Australian electors feel about foreign aid and helping the world’s poorest people? The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal some interesting connections between a person’s voting preference and where they stand on these issues.

In keeping with the Abbott government’s frugal approach to foreign aid, Australian electors whose first federal voting preference is L-NP show the least support for the idea of increasing foreign aid. When asked if the Government should ‘increase overseas aid to help reduce global poverty’, 27% said ‘yes’ — in contrast with 53% of ALP voters and 75% of Greens voters.

Furthermore, L-NP voters are least likely of major party voters to agree that ‘I have a responsibility to do what I can’ to help the world’s poorest people (40%), behind 47% of electors whose first preference is the ALP and 62% of those who prefer the Greens.

World issues and charitable donations by preferred political party


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=14,154). Base: Australian electors

L-NP voters are the most likely to feel their ‘responsibility is just to other Australians’ (28%), ahead of ALP voters (17%) and Greens voters (7%); and to believe that they ‘can’t do much, there’ll always be poor people’ (31%, compared with 24% ALP voters and 12% of Greens voters).

But while they may not exactly be bleeding hearts, Australian voters who prefer the L-NP are slightly more likely than ALP voters to give to charity in an average 12-month period (73% vs 70%), however they donate much more money. Whereas the mean annual amount donated by ALP voters is $292, it rises to $335 for L-NP voters.

Meanwhile, more than three-quarters (76%) of Greens voters give to charity in an average 12 months, donating a mean annual amount of $402.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Typecasting Australian voters according to their preferred political party is nothing new: Green-leaning hippy-intellectuals, greedy Liberal capitalists, unionised ALP voters and patriotic National-voting farmers are all well-worn clichés. But while most clichés contain a grain of truth, the contemporary political landscape is much more nuanced than that. In fact, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the policies of the current government and the Opposition.

“Our latest findings reflect both the predictable and the more surprising sides of Australian electors. Given their opposition to increasing overseas aid, L-NP voters are unlikely to question the Government’s drastic cuts to the national foreign aid budget. And yet they are more generous than ALP voters when it comes to charitable donations!

“Of the three voter groups, Greens-voters are the most consistent with their popular image, being the most likely by far to care about helping the world’s poorest people, as well as the most likely to put their money where their mouth is and give generously to charity.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%