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Defence and national security not on voters’ radar

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2011 — December 2012, n= 87,416. Base: Australian Electors 18+.
Missile tests in North Korea. A controversial permanent US military base. Around 2.5 million Chinese citizens on active duty. A decade-long deployment in Afghanistan. A federal department with a $24billion budget and a new Defence White Paper out soon. Yawn.

Defence and national security ranks second-to-last as a concern for electors, with just 5.5% citing it as an important issue, the latest research from Roy Morgan shows. The only issue that is less important nationally is the ‘needs of people outside cities’ with 3.5% support.

National security ranks behind both improving business (6.0%) and managing immigration and population growth (6.4%), while more than twice as many Australians say illegal migration is an important issue (12.0%).

Electorates in NSW and Queensland dominate the top ten, as do seats held by the Coalition. Many electorates that contain or are near army, navy or air force barracks and bases unsurprisingly rank above the national average. In Fowler, Paterson and Leichhardt, defence and national security ranks above education as an issue of importance.

Proportion of electors who say defence and national security is a Top 3 important issue:

Proportion of electors who say defence and national security is a Top 3 important issue:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source January 2011 — December 2012, n= 87,416. Base: Australian Electors 18+.

Six Australian federal electorates have less than one in 50 of its electors nominating defence as an important issue: Hotham, Griffith, Sydney, Goldstein, Franklin and Capricornia.
The Coalition has a strong lead on defence and national security: 48% of electors say the LNP is better for the issue, compared to 29% for the ALP.

The lead is even more pronounced among those who say the issue is important: 65% LNP vs 21% ALP, although LNP voters are also 34% more likely to say the issue is important.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Despite the huge cost of defence, without an immediate threat the issue is generally disregarded as a votable issue.

“Voters understandably prioritise the issues that directly affect them on a day-to-day basis, such as living costs, health services, workplace relations and taxes.

“However it is notable that more than twice as many electors rate illegal immigration than defence, which suggests many Australians view illegal migration to be an economic or personal issue, not a national security issue.”

For comments or further detail, please contact:

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research

Email: Michele.Levine@roymorgan.com

Telephone: +61 (03) 9224 5215; Mobile: 0411 129 093