Water Week

EWN Publishing

Health, water and drought the election issues for farmers; only 5.1pc view climate change as important election factor, Qld poll shows

Posted by waterweek on 11 October 2007

A special farmer-only poll revealed they believed Kevin Rudd would be the next Prime Minister of Australia, even though most said they would vote for the Coalition, wrote Lucy Skuthorp in Queensland Country Life (4/10/2007, p.11).

Labor likely winners: The survey, conducted by Rural Press Marketing Services, polled farmers exclusively, and did not extend to rural towns or the broader agribusiness community. More than 50 per cent of the respondents were older than 55, with cattle, sheep and cropping the predominant enterprises. Labor would win the election, according to 44 per cent of farmers, while 34.7 per cent believed the Coalition would be returned. However, 21.4 per cent were still unsure what the result would be. Typically the most traditional and dependable conservative voters, 79.9 per cent of farmers polled said they would not be changing their vote this year, while 11.5 per cent said they would vote differently at the election, and 8.6 per cent were undecided.

First-time labor voters: The poll revealed many farmers voting for Labor could be doing so for the first time, with the majority saying their support was “because it’s time for a change”. Combined support for the Coalition was 71.2 per cent, with 47.3 per cent of farmers indicating they would vote Liberal at the coming election, and a further 23.9 per cent saying they would vote for The Nationals.

The issues: Health, water and drought topped the list of the most important election issues for farmers, while trade reform was considered of little importance. The outbreak of equine influenza in Australia in late August was largely behind the elevation of quarantine as another major election issue for farmers. Only 5.1 per cent of farmers viewed climate change as an important election issue.

Queensland Country Life, 4/10/2007, p. 11

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