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Overwhelming majority of Australians support the right to strike

These are the main insights from the special Roy Morgan telephone survey conducted over the three nights last week of October 13-15, 2015, with an Australia-wide cross-section of 647 men and women electors aged 14 or over.

An overwhelming majority of Australians (83%) believe it should be legal for workers in private industry to strike – up a large 28% since June 1971. Now only 12% (down 21%) of Australians say it should not be legal for workers in private industry to strike and 5% (down 7%) can’t say according to a special telephone Morgan Poll conducted over three nights last week with 647 Australians aged 14+.

A large majority of Australians 80% (up 32% since June 1971) also support the legal right of workers in public utilities such as trains, trams, and buses to strike compared to only 17% (down 25%) who say it should not be legal and 3% (down 7%) can’t say.

Australians also support the right of professionals such as teachers and nurses working for the Government to strike – 81% (up 36% since June 1971) compared to only 16% (down 29%) that say it should not be legal and 3% (down 7%) can’t say.

A slightly lesser majority of Australians (74%) support the rights of emergency services workers such as police, ambulance drivers and firefighters to strike although this is more than three times the number of Australians (23%) who say it should not be legal for emergency workers to strike while 3% can’t say.

Analysis by Federal voting intention

A majority of supporters of all major parties agree with the legal right of workers to strike across all four questions compared to those who say strikes should be illegal.

  • Private Industry: L-NP (71% cf. 23%), ALP (95% cf. 4%) and Greens (95% cf. 3%)
  • Public Utilities: L-NP (65% cf. 31%), ALP (89% cf. 10%) and Greens (99% cf. 0%)
  • Professionals: L-NP (67% cf. 31%), ALP (94% cf. 4%) and Greens (99% cf. 0%)
  • Emergency Services Workers: L-NP (61% cf. 37%), ALP (88% cf. 10%) and Greens (78% cf. 14%).

Gary Morgan says:

“An overwhelming majority of Australians support the legal right of workers to strike – whether they be workers in private industry (83% cf. 12% no, not legal), public utility workers (80% cf. 17%), professionals such as teachers and nurses working for the Government (81% cf. 16%) or emergency services workers such as police and ambulance drivers (74% cf. 23%).

“This is a large change in sentiment from four decades ago. In 1971 only a slight majority of 55% believed workers in private industry had a legal right to strike compared to 33% who said it was not legal. In 1971 only a plurality (48%) said workers for public utilities had a legal right to strike compared to 42% who said it was not legal while Australians were evenly split on whether professionals such as teachers and nurses working for the Government had a right to strike – 45% said they did have a legal right to strike whilst another 45% said that it should not be legal.

“Analysing these questions via demographics reveals clear majorities of supporters of all major parties, clear majorities of respondents of all age groups, clear majorities of residents from every State and clear majorities of both men and women all believe workers across these four questions have a legal right to strike. Australians are close to unanimous on the legal right of workers to strike.”

These are the main insights from the special Roy Morgan telephone survey conducted over the three nights last week of October 13-15, 2015, with an Australia-wide cross-section of 647 men and women electors aged 14 or over.


Strikes – Private Industry

Respondents were asked: "In your opinion, should it be legal, or not legal, for workers in private industry to strike?"

 

Analysis by Voting Intention

June
1971

Oct 13-15,
2015

Electors

L-NP

ALP

Greens

Other#

Can’t
say#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

55

83

84

71

95

95

95

85

No, Not Legal

33

12

12

23

4

3

2

2

Can’t say

12

5

4

6

1

2

3

13

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

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

 

Analysis by Sex and Age

Oct 13-15,
2015

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

83

86

81

90

83

84

84

79

No, Not Legal

12

10

14

5

9

12

13

17

Can’t say

5

4

5

5

8

4

3

4

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100



 

Analysis by States & Regions

Oct 13-15,
2015

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

Vic

Qld

SA

WA

Tas

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

83

85

82

87

82

80

82

84

79

No, Not Legal

12

10

14

9

13

15

12

9

18

Can’t say

5

5

4

4

5

5

6

7

3

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100


Strikes – Public Utilities

Respondents were asked: "And about workers in public utilities such as trains, trams, and buses. Should it be legal, or not legal, for them to strike?"

 

Analysis by Voting Intention

June
1971

Oct 13-15,
2015

Electors

L-NP

ALP

Greens

Other#

Can’t
say#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

48

80

79

65

89

99

88

74

No, Not Legal

42

17

18

31

10

0

9

14

Can’t say

10

3

3

4

1

1

2

2

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

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

 

Analysis by Sex and Age

Oct 13-15,
2015

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

80

78

81

84

83

81

82

70

No, Not Legal

17

17

17

4

15

18

17

27

Can’t say

3

5

2

12

2

1

1

3

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100



 

Analysis by States & Regions

Oct 13-15,
2015

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

Vic

Qld

SA

WA

Tas

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

80

80

80

81

77

79

80

78

87

No, Not Legal

17

17

16

15

20

20

17

16

13

Can’t say

3

3

4

4

3

1

3

6

0

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100


Strikes – Professionals

Respondents were asked: "And about professional people such as teachers and nurses working for the Government. Should it be legal, or not legal, for them to strike?"

 

Analysis by Voting Intention

June
1971

Oct 13-15,
2015

Electors

L-NP

ALP

Greens

Other#

Can’t
say#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

45

81

81

67

94

99

84

77

No, Not Legal

45

16

17

31

4

0

14

13

Can’t say

10

3

2

2

2

1

2

10

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

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

 

Analysis by Sex and Age

Oct 13-15,
2015

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

81

80

82

84

88

80

80

75

No, Not Legal

16

17

16

9

11

18

17

23

Can’t say

3

3

2

7

1

1

3

2

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100



 

Analysis by States & Regions

Oct 13-15,
2015

Capital
Cities

Country

Areas

NSW

Vic

Qld

SA

WA

Tas

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

81

82

80

83

78

82

80

83

83

No, Not Legal

16

15

18

15

17

17

17

15

17

Can’t say

3

3

2

2

5

1

3

2

0

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100


Strikes – Emergency Services

Respondents were asked: "And thinking about emergency services workers such as police, ambulance drivers and firefighters. Should it be legal, or not legal, for them to strike?"

 

Analysis by Voting Intention

Oct 13-15,
2015

Electors

L-NP

ALP

Greens

Other#

Can’t
say#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

         74

74

61

88

78

79

87

No, Not Legal

23

23

37

10

14

16

13

Can’t say

3

3

2

2

8

5

0

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

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

 

Analysis by Sex and Age

Oct 13-15,
2015

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

74

72

75

75

81

73

74

67

No, Not Legal

23

25

22

22

14

25

23

29

Can’t say

3

3

3

3

5

2

3

4

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100



 

Analysis by States & Regions

Oct 13-15,
2015

Capital
Cities

Country
Areas

NSW

Vic

Qld

SA

WA

Tas

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, Legal

74

72

76

75

75

72

71

69

83

No, Not Legal

23

25

20

22

23

25

24

25

17

Can’t say

3

3

4

3

2

3

5

6

0

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100


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