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(05/01/08) -

Environment, Economy Top Issues in Australia

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Australian adults are predominantly concerned about two topics, according to a poll by the Social Research Centre for the Australian National University. 19 per cent of respondents think the environment is the most important problem facing their country, while 18 per cent mention the economy.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Australian adults are predominantly concerned about two topics, according to a poll by the Social Research Centre for the Australian National University. 19 per cent of respondents think the environment is the most important problem facing their country, while 18 per cent mention the economy.

Water management is third on the list with eight per cent, followed by interest rates and housing affordability with seven per cent each, immigration with six per cent, and health care with five per cent.

When asked which will be the most important problem facing Australia five years from now, 30 per cent of respondents say the environment, while 20 per cent mention the economy.

In 1998, several countries agreed to the Kyoto Protocol, a proposed amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement commits nations to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Australia held a federal election in November 2007. Final results gave the Australian Labor Party (ALP) 85 seats in the 150-member House of Representatives. ALP leader Kevin Rudd was officially sworn in as prime minister in December, bringing an end to the 11-year tenure of Liberal leader John Howard as head of Australia’s government. In March 2008, the ALP administration’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol came into effect.

On Apr. 20, Rudd said his government’s main challenges include developing a "seamless economy" and dealing with climate change, adding, "I don’t want to wake up in the year 2020 with the regret of not having done something when I had the chance. We will take home a lot of homework."

Polling Data

What do you think is the most important problem facing Australia today?

Environment

19%

Economy

18%

Water management

8%

Interest rates

7%

Housing affordability

7%

Immigration

6%

Health care

5%

Education

4%

Poverty

4%

Indigenous affairs

3%

Thinking ahead about five years, what do you think will be the most important problem facing Australia then?

Environment

30%

Economy

20%

Water management

11%

Housing affordability

8%

Health care

4%

Immigration

3%

Education

3%

Aging population

3%

Interest rates

3%

Poverty

2%

Source: Social Research Centre for the Australian National University
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 Australian adults, conducted from Mar. 16 to Mar. 30, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent.