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More in favour than against the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Key issue for Australians with ChAFTA is jobs

Finding No. 6424 – This special Morgan Poll was conducted with a representative cross-section of 672 Australians aged 14+ over the last few nights, August 21-26, 2015.

A large majority of Australians (78%) are aware of the Free Trade Agreement Australia has negotiated with China, only 21% aren’t aware and 1% can’t say. More Australians believe a Free Trade Agreement with China is a good thing (40%) than not (31%) and a large 29% are undecided according to the latest telephone Morgan Poll conducted over the past few nights (August 21-26, 2015) with a cross-section of 672 Australians aged 14+.

Support for the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is higher amongst those who are aware of the negotiations with 43% of those aware of the negotiations saying it is a good thing compared to 35% who don’t think it’s a good thing with 22% undecided.

Of people who were unaware of the ChAFTA negotiations only 29% believe it is a good thing compared to 18% who don’t think it’s a good thing with 53% undecided.

Analysis by Voting Preference

Analysing the results by voting preference shows support for the Free Trade Agreement with China is highest amongst National voters (68% support cf. 32% against) and Liberal voters (60% support cf. 19% against and 21% undecided). More ALP voters are against (43%) than in favour (30%) with 27% undecided. Greens voters are also against the agreement (39% against cf. 29% support for the Free Trade Agreement and a large 32% undecided).

Analysis by Occupation

Analysis by occupation shows professionals are the heaviest in favour with 58% saying the deal is a good thing and only 22% saying it isn’t while those in Sales are also clearly in favour: 53% say good thing cf. 22% say it isn’t. In contrast, those in manual labour jobs are least happy with the deal. Only 31% of skilled workers say it’s a good thing while 39% say it isn’t and only 23% of semi-skilled workers say it’s a good thing and 43% say it isn’t.

Analysis by Gender

Analysis by gender shows more men and women believe a Free Trade Agreement with China is a good thing than not:

  • Men: Good thing (44%) cf. Not a good thing (33%) and 23% undecided;
  • Women: Good thing (35%) cf. Not a good thing (30%) and 35% undecided.

Analysis by Age

Analysing by age shows more Australians of all ages believe a Free Trade Agreement with China is a good thing than not:

  • 14-24yr olds: Good thing (38%) cf. Not a good thing (22%) and 40% undecided;
  • 25-34yr olds: Good thing (38%) cf. Not a good thing (32%) and 30% undecided;
  • 35-49yr olds: Good thing (41%) cf. Not a good thing (34%) and 25% undecided;
  • 50-64yr olds: Good thing (39%) cf. Not a good thing (34%) and 27% undecided);
  • 65+yr olds: Good thing (42%) cf. Not a good thing (32%) and 26% undecided.

Australians were then asked to explain their views on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement more fully (see below).

Gary Morgan says:

“A clear majority (78%) of Australians have heard about the Free Trade Deal negotiated between Australia and our largest trading partner China compared to only 21% that haven’t. However, Australians are divided on the agreement with slightly more (40%) saying the Free Trade Agreement is a good thing than not (31%) while a large 29% are undecided.

“Of those who are aware of the Free Trade Agreement, 43% say it’s a good thing compared to 35% that don’t while 22% still can’t say. There is a clear political split with 60% of Liberal supporters and 68% of National supporters saying the Free Trade Agreement is a good thing compared to only 30% of ALP supporters and 29% of Greens supporters.

“This split is not seen when looking at other demographics. More men (44% cf. 33%) and women (35% cf. 30%) say the Free Trade Agreement is a good thing, and of the States, only South Australia has fewer people saying the Free Trade Agreement is a good thing (27% cf.32%). The opposition in South Australia may be due to the impending closure of the Australian car manufacturing industry next year which will cost many jobs in South Australia and also the ongoing concerns about the potential loss of thousands of jobs in Adelaide in Australia’s shipbuilding industry depending on the final structure of contracts to build several new ships and submarines for the Australian Navy.

“A close analysis of the data by employment status reveals full-time workers are clearly the most in favour of the ChAFTA deal – 46% say it is a good thing and 31% say it isn’t while part-time workers are divided – 34% say it isn’t a good thing and 33% say it is a good thing. Those who are either unemployed and looking for work or just don’t work are even more opposed with only 18% saying the deal is a good thing compared to 40% that say the deal isn’t a good thing.

“In terms of line of work, Professionals are the heaviest in favour with 58% saying the deal is a good thing and only 22% saying it isn’t while those in Sales are also clearly in favour: 53% say good thing cf. 22% say it isn’t. In contrast, those in manual labour jobs are least happy with the deal. Only 31% of skilled workers say it’s a good thing while 39% say it isn’t and only 23% of semi-skilled workers say it’s a good thing and 43% say it isn’t.”

Finding No. 6424 – This special Morgan Poll was conducted with a representative cross-section of 672 Australians aged 14+ over the last few nights, August 21-26, 2015.


Questions:

Australians aged 14+ were asked: “The Australian Government has been involved in negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with China. Are you aware of the China Free Trade Agreement or not?” and

“Do you believe it is a good thing for Australia to sign a Free Trade Agreement with China or not?” and finally, “Why especially do you say that?”


China-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Awareness of the deal

“The Australian Government has been involved in negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with China. Are you aware of the China Free Trade Agreement or not?”

Voting Preference

ChAFTA

Total

Electors

Liberal

National#

ALP

Greens

Other

Can’t say#

Non
Electors

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, aware

78

81

88

75

81

77

71

56

55

No, not

21

19

11

25

19

22

29

44

45

Can’t say

1

-

1

-

-

1

-

-

-

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution.


Age & Gender

ChAFTA

Total

Gender

Age

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, aware

78

83

73

51

71

79

85

92

No, not

21

17

26

48

29

21

14

7

Can’t say

1

-

1

1

-

-

1

1

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

State & City/ Country

ChAFTA

 

State

Region

Total

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

City

Country

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, aware

78

79

75

87

64

73

85

75

84

No, not

21

21

24

13

33

26

15

24

15

Can’t say

1

-

1

-

3

1

1

1

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution.


China-Australia Free Trade Agreement
Good for Australia or not?

“Do you believe it is a good thing for Australia to sign a Free Trade Agreement with China or not?”

Voting Preference

ChAFTA

Total

Electors

Liberal

National#

ALP

Greens

Other

Can’t say#

Non
Electors

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Good thing

40

40

60

68

30

29

35

18

38

No, not

31

33

19

32

43

39

28

38

22

Can’t say

29

27

21

-

27

32

37

44

40

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution.


Age & Gender

ChAFTA

Total

Gender

Age

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Good thing

40

44

35

38

38

41

39

42

No, not

31

33

30

22

32

34

34

32

Can’t say

     29

23

35

40

30

25

27

26

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

State & City/ Country

ChAFTA

 

State

Region

Total

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS#

City

Country

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Good thing

40

43

37

44

35

27

74

40

40

No, not

31

28

32

37

29

32

19

30

35

Can’t say

29

29

31

19

36

41

7

30

25

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

#Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution.


Views on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA):

After being asked whether they thought the ChAFTA was a good thing for Australia or not respondents were then asked: “Why especially do you say that?”

Those who responded that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement was a good thing (40%) most often mentioned that it’s a good way to grow the Australian economy, it opens up a huge market to Australian companies, it will create many jobs in Australia and also make Australian businesses more competitive on the international playing field.

“We’ve got to grow the Australian economy.”
“It’s good for the world we live in and for the Australian economy.”

“At the moment our economy needs every boost it can get.”

“It will bring business into this country and make exports and imports cheaper.”

“We’ve got to grow our economy so without manufacturing we’ve got to trade.”

“I’m sure it’s good for our economy. I know less import and export taxes will encourage trade.”

“The agreement will make goods cheaper, including electronics and we will have greater access to China’s economy of 1.2 billion people.”

“Just in terms of increasing trade and so it’s more money for the economy.”

“It encourages trade between our two countries and we will have cheaper products come from China as a result and it will also allow us to sell more to China.”

“It’ll make goods cheaper and also give great opportunities for agricultural exports.”

“It’s going to open up jobs for everyone and create future wealth.”

“It opens up Australia more to the world and creates jobs in Australia. As long as they don’t bring in foreign workers to take over.”

“China is a big country and its good to be able to sell to them and if we’re going to trade more with China that will give us more jobs in Australia.”

“It’s a new area so jobs and money coming in and the economy growing and that kind of thing.”

“Free-Trade Agreements get rid of embargoes and tariffs and so that’s a good thing.”

“I think obviously the economic scope and the population of China give great benefits even for just the agricultural export sectors.”

“Because it will give jobs to Australians. That’s the biggest thing      that we could have happen.”

“The benefits of free trade are for everyone.”

“The increased trade with China will increase jobs here in Australia.”

“I think it will bring more work into Australia, things aren’t good at the moment with jobs.”

“China will be a great trading partner for Australia.”

“Because from an economic point of view the theory is that free trade makes it easier for all countries to compete with their most efficient industry sectors.”

“We’re global, we’ve got to spread our wings. We’re not as isolated anymore.”

“It will help so that all parties can export and exchange goods – we export cattle over there.”

“I come from a farming background and it will help our farmers sell more produce.”

“I believe in all free trade, it works both ways.”

“You’ve got to keep making commercial deals with countries that’ll take us into the next century.”

“It’s good for competition. It’ll make Australians more competitive generally.”

“China is a big country and trading with them is important for us and good for employment.”

“Well, it’d be more jobs for the people.”

“I’ve been to China, it’s cheaper, and the low taxes are good for saving money and cutting costs.”

“Probably help us improve our market breadth and the tradings of the country.”

“So we can sell things to China without problems and we can get things from them that we need.”

“It will increase our export income and our balance of trade will improve with trading with China.”

Those who responded that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement was not a good thing (31%) often mentioned Chinese workers flooding into Australia and taking Australian jobs, because it will undermine Australian manufacturers and exporters, that its more in favour of China than Australia and that essentially the terms and conditions will impact negatively on all Australians.

“We’re losing out on money, we’re losing jobs. It’s not good.”

“I guess it will have a negative impact on jobs for Australians.”

“I reckon we have enough people in our country to fill our unemployment levels.”

“There are certain aspects which don’t favour Australia like bringing labour in from overseas.”

“It will lose Australian jobs and lead to a lower quality of life.”

“It’s going to lose jobs for everyone.”

“When you do agreements like these they can often bring their own labour and electricians.”

“I prefer manufacturing to be in Australia because it would be a lot easier to get a job.”

“Because it’s likely to open the door to Chinese companies bringing in their own workers at a lesser pay rate.”

“I’d rather grow Australian industry than getting flooded with more Chinese goods.”

“Basically you’re going to be putting trade workers out of a job.”

“Probably because it won’t give Australians more jobs.”

“Because according to the Free Trade Agreement the Chinese can come in here and do a big job and bring workers in from China.”

“Local jobs will be jeopardised!”

“I think that it’s very unfair for Australian manufacturers and exporters.”

“Because it disadvantages our own producers.”

“I think it’s more in favour of the Chinese State and economy rather than Australia.”

“I don’t believe it’s in our best interest as we won’t be selling more to China.”

“I’ve seen how the jobs might go overseas and not benefit Australian workers.”

“Australia should be for Australia first. Give it to locals first. Bringing overseas workers in will put Australians out of a job.”

“It seems to me to be very one-sided. It seems to lock in prices and such on Australian exports to China, on coal and iron ore, but not do the same in reverse.”

“China nearly owns us now. They don’t need any more of what they’re getting. They’re buying too much of country as it is.”

“Because I think it boxes us into price control and it also, from what I can read, gives China the upper hand in the deal.”

“It’s a sneaky policy to bring in workers to the jobs in Australia and taking the work from Australians. The policy is said to agree with the importation of labour.”

“Because the rules aren’t the same between the two countries. We in Australia have to abide by higher quality standards and by-laws compared to manufacturers in a place like China.”

”Because we can’t compete with the cost of labour of a place like China and therefore much of our industry will be forced to close down. It’s already happening in some industries.”

“We’re down-trodden. We’re Australians. We’re losing everything.”

“I’ve been to China several times and seen what happens over there. I just can’t see the return for the Australian public.”

“Because all they will do is buy our place and do what they like with it.”

“They get all the benefits and we get nothing back.”

“The Government is too secretive and I don’t know any details about anything really.”

“Because some of our local jobs will be at risk. The fact that Chinese manufacturing companies can bring in their own labour will not be good for local jobs.”

“I think what happens is that we’re just selling out our own industry for a short-term gain.”

“They’re Australian jobs and we’re losing jobs here and also lots of cheap nasty stuff coming in.”

Those who couldn’t say (29%) how they felt about the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement mentioned the lack of information about the deal, and the worries that it might have a negative impact, but they simply couldn’t know because the details have not been made widely available.

“I don’t know enough about it to make a good decision.”

“I’m uninformed of the details so I really couldn’t comment.”

“There’s nothing put out there saying what benefits it is going to give to us.”

“I don’t understand the implications of it. I think we should protect our farms though.”

“I wouldn’t or couldn’t answer that question until I’d seen more of the details.”

“The impact of free trade could mean a loss of jobs here because their manufacturing cost is way lower than ours, but I’m just not sure of the details.”

“The potential impact on Australian jobs has me concerned.”

“You can’t just say yes or no to that, it depends on the detail of it. It could be detrimental for a million different reasons.”

“We don’t have the information. I don’t think the public has enough information.”

“It’s not free trade. It’s categorized trade. It’s a lot more than a yes and no question.”

“None of the details are out there and I don’t like what I hear in the media.”

“I would only support it if Chinese workers were not able to come to Australia.”


For further information:

Contact

Office

Mobile

Gary Morgan:     

+61 3 9224 5213  

+61 411 129 094

Michele Levine:       

+61 3 9224 5215  

+61 411 129 093


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. The following table 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. The figures are approximate and for general guidance only, and assume a simple random sample. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.2

±2.7

±1.9

±1.4