Is the government doing well?

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of Australians are happy with how the government is handling the COVID-19 crisis, but almost six in 10 (59 per cent) think the worst is yet to come, according to the latest Roy Morgan analysis.

Satisfaction in the government’s management of the pandemic is up by 22 per cent in the past week.

Of those who agree that the government is handling the coronavirus well, 21 per cent strongly agree while a further 44 per cent agree.

In contrast, just one third (29 per cent) of Australians disagree that the government is handling the coronavirus well, with six per cent strongly disagreeing and a further 23 per cent saying they disagree. All of these numbers have reduced significantly in the past week.

“The sharp rise in support for the government’s handling of the coronavirus comes after the announcement of Australia’s largest ever stimulus package on 30 March – the $130 billion ‘JobKeeper’ wage subsidy,” Roy Morgan chief Michelle Levine told YourLifeChoices.

The JobKeeper program is set to provide a fortnightly payment of $1500 to employers to pay to their employees while they are stood down due to the impact of the coronavirus.

“This is particularly applicable to retail and hospitality businesses that have been forced to shut their doors to comply with strict social distancing directives but is also available to travel and tourism, and businesses in other industries that have also been negatively impacted by the pandemic,” said Ms Levine.

“The announcement of the JobKeeper wage subsidy has also coincided with a steep decline in new cases of coronavirus. From a peak of over 450 new cases on 28 March, a week later this had dropped to under 200 and is now approaching only 100 new cases per day.”

Previously, only 38 per cent of those in New South Wales agreed that the government was doing well. Now a majority of 59 per cent are happier with the handling COVID-19. There are similar majorities in other states: Queensland 70 per cent (up 28 per cent), Victoria 66 per cent (up 21 per cent), Western Australia 75 per cent (up 22 per cent) and South Australia 58 per cent (up 11 per cent).

“Support for the government’s handling of the coronavirus rose in all states. There are now large majorities in all five of Australia’s largest states that agree the Australian government is handling the coronavirus well – up from only two a week ago,” said Ms Levine.

However, this optimistic attitude may change, considering so many feel we haven’t seen the worst this pandemic has to throw at us.

Still, Australians are less negative than they were a week ago, with 59 per cent saying worse will come over the next month, but that number has actually reduced by 26 per cent in the past week.

Fewer Australians are now afraid they or someone they know will catch the virus, with 73 per cent (down two per cent) saying they are afraid that they or someone in their family may actually become infected.

“Fewer Australians are now as worried about the virus crisis. Now a reducing majority say the ‘worst is yet to come over the next month’ and a third say the ‘situation will remain the same’,” said Ms Levine.

“These are large changes in only a week and indicate the community is becoming more positive about Australia’s response to contain and deal with the threat posed by the coronavirus.”

A quarter of Australians strongly agree they are afraid and an additional 48 per cent agree. In contrast, only four per cent strongly disagree and a further 17 per cent disagree.

A fifth of Australians think the threat from coronavirus is exaggerated – up five per cent from a week ago, compared to 75 per cent who disagree.

More men (25 per cent) than women (16 per cent) agree that the threat is exaggerated.

Four-fifths (80 per cent) of Australians say they would sacrifice their human rights to help prevent the spread of the virus – unchanged on a week ago.

And 87 per cent of Australians say they are willing to be vaccinated if a new coronavirus vaccine became publicly available.

“At this stage, the signs are definitely good that Australia has dealt swiftly and resolutely with the threat of the virus by practising social distancing and self-isolating measures even better than many had predicted would happen,” Ms Levine concluded.

YourLifeChoices has also been posing the question ‘Are you happy with how the government is handling the COVID-19 crisis?’ While we don’t have statistics that show sentiment, we do have access to what we believe is more valuable – your comments.

“Morrison has surrounded himself with experts and has taken their advice, so it could be said that he has done a good job. He has united all of the states regardless of the politics involved. With hindsight, which is always 20/20, he could have done better but I believe that he has done the best he can with the information available at the time decisions were made. I would not like his job because he has obviously aged since he took on the position of PM.

“‘How do you think our leaders are handling the pandemic?’ When leaders are mentioned, it includes the state premiers as well as the various expert panels, which are all doing a good job. With hindsight, some things may have been done differently but in general decisions, which were made with information available at the time, have been good decisions and Australia is well placed to come out of the pandemic a lot better than some other nations.” ~ Horace Cope

“I admit that he has a very hard job dealing with this crisis but too much indecision and mixed messages don’t help.” ~ Snowflake

“I do not trust him anymore than before, strange how money talks, and so his popularity goes up despite the lack of early action for bush fires and now the coronavirus. If there were actions earlier to close our borders and to test all incoming travellers we would not have had to endure all the restrictions on our movements, economical downfall, loss of jobs and the amount of anxiety people are suffering right now. So, why do people think he is better than any other prime minister beats me.” ~ Incognito

“Don’t worry, as long as he keeps asking himself, ‘What would Kevin do?’ the country will be alright.” ~ exPS

“I think it has benefited the federal government to have the states involved and pushing certain actions. It is refreshing to see co-operative politics in action.” ~ Tanker

Do these numbers and opinions reflect your attitudes?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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