Environment the biggest concern in the latest Ipsos Issues Monitor

Older Australians lead the attitudinal swing towards the nation’s biggest concern.

older woman looks concerned

An issue that has deserved far more consideration and attention than many have been willing to give it is finally the No.1 concern for Australians.

The latest Ipsos Issues Monitor has, for the first time, listed the environment as the nation’s biggest concern, surpassing healthcare, the cost of living and the economy.

The monthly poll takes a representative sample of Australians’ attitudes towards a range of issues, including the economy; crime, laws and anti-social behaviour; healthcare and hospitals; taxation; petrol prices; racism, race relations and immigration; education; unemployment, population issues; inflation and the cost of living; environmental concerns; housing; defence; terrorism and foreign affairs; transport; poverty and inequality, and issues facing indigenous Australians.

Over the past decade, healthcare has been Australia’s biggest worry, topping 52 of 109 monthly surveys, followed by the economy (28) and the cost of living (27).

This time, 32.1 per cent of Australians – the highest share in the survey’s 10-year history – rated the state of the environment as their biggest worry.

The result may have been spurred by the spring bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland which ravaged many regional areas, as well as drought conditions throughout many parts of Australia – all events widely attributed to global warming.

fireman watches as a grassfire rages on

Concern about the environment has been growing since the middle of the decade, when its rating was still in single digits. However, since November 2017, concern about the environment has risen sharply from 14 per cent to more than 32 per cent today.

Widespread publicity and climate change agitation and protests may have also contributed to the environment’s No.1 ranking, says Ipsos social researcher Daniel Evans.

“There’s been both activism ... and there’s actual events attributed to climate change,” he said.

The cost of living was the second biggest concern, in front of healthcare and the economy. Australia’s economic worries are an unusual trend for the survey, says Mr Evans.

“Typically when economic concerns have increased, environmental concerns have decreased, but what we’ve noticed this year is that as environmental concerns have gone up, concerns about the economy has gone up as well,” he said.

“Those two are no longer on different paths.”

In the past, anxiety about the environment was largely the domain of younger Australians, but this more recent push has been attributed to older Australians.

“The environment has always ranked among the five top concerns for younger Australians,” said Mr Evans.

“But over the past year, the momentum of concern about the environment has been driven by older Australians.”

Of the issues listed above, what would be your biggest concern?

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    COMMENTS

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    5th Dec 2019
    10:34am
    You'll never get a grip on the world environment without first getting a grip on the global economy that demands endless rising numbers of consumers and slave workers to prosper and continue to prosper... as long as poverty stricken nations continue to over-breed, the GC will always be able to blackmail organised labour and force nations and workers to their knees...

    The GC is THE biggest global terrorist and the biggest threat to national and international security.....
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    10:37am
    Sorry - that was GE... not GC.. GC is Global Community... a very diaphanous concept firmly based on whimsy... but a useful propaganda piece to sway the emotions of useful fools....
    Franky
    5th Dec 2019
    11:07am
    I assume you meant to say that the GE, global economy, is the biggest threat to the environment
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    11:45am
    I said and meant national and international security - that includes environmental concerns.. part of the study in terrorism etc was the impact of social and economic factors in the Asian-Pacific Basin, including possible rising sea levels... it's all of a muchness... threats to national and international security are manifold... and manifest... yet our governments ignore many of them ..

    Just a wee example - if Fiji floods there will be an exodus -to where? Well - to the west of Fiji, thus ensuring an impact on NZ and Oz... many P I-ers are already arriving here as a form of 'economic immigrant'..... and weighing up the advantages of 'raising the standards etc' in their home lands has to be viewed alongside the impact on the local issues such as housing, work etc... at the moment, china is seeking many economic and trading ties direct with our 'cordon sanitaire' of PI nations - and our government is bending over backwards to make them a better offer, so that they remain our 'cordon sanitaire' and untouched by Chinese 'socialist' influence....
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    12:20pm
    TREBOR, prior to the 80s all corporations paid tax and the rich were highly taxed, infrastructure, utilities were not privatized and the entire country prospered. This all changed thanks to corruption in politics.

    The Scandinavian countries are successful because of high taxes and the money from natural resources has gone to the country's future not offshore to some other country or person.

    We do not live in a democracy in our Lib/Lab governing system. Most of the independents are Liberal pawns or their votes go toward Liberal or Labor. There is no other choice.

    We need to change our governing system and abolish this self-serving corrupt one we have. They are all meant to be public servants, not individuals serving themselves taking bribes in the guise of donations. No political party is a charity and should not be taking donations. Our PM is the highest paid in the world and what has he done for Australia and Australians? NOTHING just take and keep on taking.

    Our governing system needs to be like Sweden's to turn us into the Lucky country again.

    https://mg.co.za/article/2019-05-31-00-no-perks-for-swedish-mps
    Dave R
    5th Dec 2019
    12:25pm
    Exactly right Jackie. This government does not place a high value on their citizens. They are all about selling out the country to foreign multinationals who don't even pay much tax on the profits they make here.
    Australian's are fools for standing around watching this happen.
    Triss
    5th Dec 2019
    12:30pm
    You’re right, Jackie, it will soon be too late to change, we have to lose our laziness at election time.
    Kaz
    5th Dec 2019
    1:10pm
    Aaah Trebor, the old stir up some fear to deflect attention away from the most important issue for the majority trick. Doesn’t look like it’s working this time so perhaps you can do what you can individually and support that majority to pressure the government to DO OUR BIT!
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    7:51pm
    We need not fear national of international security issues - we merely need to be aware of them and look ahead of the game... not always perfect, but my point is that our government likes to only listen to the "Yes, Minister" types - and not dissenting views... a solid organisation can listen to dissenting views and incorporate the positives of all sides - not just look at one.

    ASIO was famous for employing right wingers from universities back in the old Dark Ages of the 60's.. not much has changed... too many 'Yes Persons'....
    Farside
    5th Dec 2019
    8:38pm
    a case of rose coloured glasses or a little bit of economic revisionist history Jackie ... most the Australian economy was not prospering prior to the 80s. It was already smacked by the early 70s oil shock in the grip of two decades of economic malaise. In 1980, Lee Kuan Yew observed Australia was becoming the poor white trash of Asia. The economy continued to falter and in 1986 Keating made his famous banana republic speech. So not perfect economy however it does not diminish your other observations.
    Franky
    5th Dec 2019
    11:04am
    This is all media driven. There is always climate change, and the major human contribution is land clearing. The less tree cover the drier the climate becomes. With that come more extreme hot and cold temperatures resulting in more violent storms. Why are we not focusing on the simple solutions? Could it be greed and politics?
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    12:34pm
    Franky, overpopulation, and greed are contributing to climate change. People need to stop breeding, the human race is in plague proportions and no country can sustain them especially arid Australia.

    Corporations and the rich should be heavily taxed as they were in the past.

    We need Governments to stop the sales of our land and assets to countries that don't sell theirs.

    Corrupt Governments destroy nations.
    Triss
    5th Dec 2019
    12:37pm
    Surveys done in many countries have agreed that reforestation is the way to go to combat climate change.
    Jennie
    5th Dec 2019
    12:54pm
    I agree Jackie. I would say that human beings are an infestation on this planet in large numbers. As such, it wouldn't matter if the human race were to become extinct...
    Kaz
    5th Dec 2019
    1:12pm
    It’s true, we are earth’s virus. Hopefully AI will take care of the virus in the future and the world can start again.
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    2:04pm
    Jackie, the prime culprits in overpopulation are China and India, including their diasporas world-wide.
    Incognito
    7th Dec 2019
    8:12pm
    So why does our Government still keeping paying out the Baby Bonus? They want us to be like USA with large cities and heaps of poverty, so the rich can proper and the poor can suffer more and die.

    5th Dec 2019
    11:33am
    Sounds to me like people have very little in life to worry about these days.
    Hasbeen
    5th Dec 2019
    12:18pm
    Yes VCCB, you have to want something to worry about, & be pretty dumb to have fallen for the global warming scam.

    Interesting that it appears that only left wingers are silly enough to believe the garbage.
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    12:44pm
    Hasbeen, I don't take notice of Murdoch media because its all propaganda owned by a power-hungry mogul that runs our right-wing evangelical Governing puppets.

    All politicians are supposed to be public servants, not the self-serving pampered puppets we have.

    https://mg.co.za/article/2019-05-31-00-no-perks-for-swedish-mps
    Kaz
    5th Dec 2019
    1:16pm
    Hasbeen, did you choose that moniker? Very apt. Leftie is not a dirty word and seems to be the more intelligent, caring approach. There are awful in all walks, but more greed and less intelligence on the ‘right’.
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    2:10pm
    "'... & be pretty dumb to have fallen for the global warming scam"

    Hasbeen indeed. The dummies are those like you who ignore the mountains of evidence confirming that global warming is indeed occurring at an alarming rate. No doubt you'd be an LNP voter...
    maxchugg
    5th Dec 2019
    8:42pm
    Intelligo, where are the mountains of evidence which you claim that global warming is occurring at an alarming rate?
    If the evidence was as clear as you would have us believe, why was it necessary to "homogenise" long standing records at Rutherglen in Victoria to change a drop of 0.35 degrees in a century to a rise of 1.7 degrees?
    Why is it that the polar icecaps have made an ass of climate scientist Peter Wadhams who announced in 2016 that "the arctic ice is on track to be free of sea ice this year or next for the first time in 100,000 years?
    Currently we are being told that Tuvalu is about to be swamped when, in reality it is growing. Even the ABC has been forced to admit that "in the four decades to 2014, Tuvalu's total land area grew by 73 hectares, or 2.9 percent. As was the case when we were assured in 1990 that the Maldives would be submerged by 2000, expectations of compensation are already being put forward as was made clear on the last episode of the ABC's Q&A program.
    maxchugg
    5th Dec 2019
    8:42pm
    Intelligo, where are the mountains of evidence which you claim that global warming is occurring at an alarming rate?
    If the evidence was as clear as you would have us believe, why was it necessary to "homogenise" long standing records at Rutherglen in Victoria to change a drop of 0.35 degrees in a century to a rise of 1.7 degrees?
    Why is it that the polar icecaps have made an ass of climate scientist Peter Wadhams who announced in 2016 that "the arctic ice is on track to be free of sea ice this year or next for the first time in 100,000 years?
    Currently we are being told that Tuvalu is about to be swamped when, in reality it is growing. Even the ABC has been forced to admit that "in the four decades to 2014, Tuvalu's total land area grew by 73 hectares, or 2.9 percent. As was the case when we were assured in 1990 that the Maldives would be submerged by 2000, expectations of compensation are already being put forward as was made clear on the last episode of the ABC's Q&A program.

    5th Dec 2019
    12:15pm
    Garbage biased poll from a left-wing group, who no doubt only get inputs from their favourite left-wingers. Does NOT represent Australians, who continue to be mainly concerned about healthcare, the cost of living and the way the stupid low-growth economy is being run by inept Liberal & Labor Govts with all wealth and assets handed over to foreign companies and Govts (including China).
    Dave R
    5th Dec 2019
    12:21pm
    The clean environment is one of the best things about Australia so it's not surprising that people are beginning to value it more.
    Add to that government mismanagement of the Murray Darling and fire preparedness everywhere with all the environmental damage these sorts of stuff-ups cause along with this governments fondness for coal over renewable energy and continuation of high immigration without the infrastructure to support it then it's little wonder people are becoming concerned about where our environment is headed.
    Horace Cope
    5th Dec 2019
    12:36pm
    I'm prepared to risk ridicule and scorn but I am obliged to say that there is, and always has been, climate change but what the doomsayers are saying about how to "fix" it are way off the mark. Their solution involves money, either rich countries throwing pots of it to the UN who spend it without any oversight, or closing down industries that they claim are polluting the atmosphere.

    I don't believe that anything that humans can do will alter the climate change to any great degree but following the dictates of those who are trying to terrify the children will destroy economies without any real effect. If Australia follows the changes that the Greens and their kind want to implement, thousand will be unemployed as industry closes because of a lack of power to run them. The CEO of the Tomago smelter was asked how long the smelter would run with battery power and the answer was 8 minutes. The national herd will be reduced which will drive up the cost of meat and only electric vehicles will be permitted. How will goods be moved and farming carried out without heavy machinery as there are no plans to create electric heavy machinery.

    Our electricity will be spasmodic because there will be no baseload power which is always there when the sun isn't shining or the wind is not blowing. We are told that batteries will be invented to cover this problem but this is only lip service as none has yet been designed let alone manufactured. If mining is closed, how do we get the lithium to make the batteries?

    Our children are being used as pawns in the climate change game and our grandson has told us what one of his teachers has told the class about climate change. He was told that as soon as a tree is cut down, all of the stored carbon is released to the atmosphere and CO² is a poisonous gas and will kill. This sort of exaggeration is certain to frighten young people and as there is no balance told to them they believe what they are told.

    In summation, a lot of people are getting rich with this climate change scare and a lot of politicians are getting votes because of their stance. All of it is because climate change is a real and ever present factor in our lives and those making money and gathering votes are simply using climate change to their own nefarious purposes.
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    1:13pm
    Agree climate change is just an excuse for the rich to get even richer at the expense of the other 95% of the population.
    Kaz
    5th Dec 2019
    1:19pm
    So many gaps in what you just wrote, I don’t know where to start. Or even if I should. Perhaps do some evidence based research and get back to us.
    Horace Cope
    5th Dec 2019
    3:58pm
    Well Kaz, Labor lost the last election by doing exactly what you have just done. Tell everyone that there is something wrong, don't say what it is and then do nothing about it.
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    7:53pm
    Pray bear with we mere unwashed peasants, Kaz - enlighten us... truly you are the Messiah, and I should know - I've followed a few!!
    floss
    5th Dec 2019
    12:41pm
    You can tinker around the edges trying to over come environment change but till you tackle over population you are just wasting your time.You will never win with our crazy immigration policy and guess who will have to pay the price ,our kids.What a weak generation we are.
    KSS
    5th Dec 2019
    2:11pm
    And even if you do win the immigration battle in Australia resulting in a smaller population, it will do precisely nothing to stop climate change, although it may ease traffic congestion and put fewer demands on limited resources like water.
    cupoftea
    5th Dec 2019
    1:12pm
    The way I look at they are going to bankrupt this country this parliament are as near to fascism you can get you cant write and inform people about this gov, FOI is a joke, Debates in the house is a joke This member not to be heard I just tried to get on to the house of reps and there is a suspension just heard the ABC they closed parliament so we could not hear what is going on get real people we are being shafted
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    2:03pm
    cupoftea, The Coalition's policies are the following.

    Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
    Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

    The supremacy of the Military
    Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    Rampant Sexism
    The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

    Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.

    Obsession with National Security
    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    Religion and Government are Intertwined
    Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology are common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

    Corporate Power is Protected
    The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    Labor Power is Suppressed
    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed.

    Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
    Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

    Obsession with Crime and Punishment
    Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
    Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    Fraudulent Elections
    Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
    floss
    5th Dec 2019
    1:35pm
    Try planting a tree it will more than likely die ,I plant a huge number and survival is a real problem we have left our run to late.I have monitored a number of native trees some over a hundred year old and they are on the way out and have no hope of surviving another summer.After some sixty years working in outback Australia it scares the shit out of me.
    seadog
    5th Dec 2019
    5:00pm
    Jackie
    Surely you are not talking about Australia with all those things that you have just posted. Climate change is an ongoing situation and not purely from the things that the human race is doing or has done. Learn from history and you will find that the Murray River was dry in the late 1890's and also the early 1900's. The current fires are basically caused by the failure of Green and Environmental groups to allow for the undergrowth to be burnt off. In Tasmania early this year the devastating fires could have been stopped much earlier if only National Parks Environmental people would have allowed for fire breaks to be put in and back burning in a World Heritage area. Not so. So many thousands of hectares of bush was destroyed. Also interesting that the city people never came to fight the fires as the same thing is happening in NSW and Queensland now. For these environmental warriors in class rooms and sitting at City desks if they were to let the people on the land go about their work and making a living instead of coming up with "Climate Disaster" we would not be talking about the climate at all. How stupid of the UN to let a 16 year old, who has many health problems, speak to everyone and blame us all for the World Disaster. Poor child her parents and others have left this poor girl suffer delusions that she will pay for later in life when the disaster does not happen. We were going to run out of oil many years ago, the polar caps were all going to melt years ago and we were all going to drown, the rain was going to be acid and kill us all but that never happened either. Unfortunately people like Al Gore have made millions out of the fools that believe all that rubbish. The so called thousand eminent scientists also included Mick E Mouse, Donald E Duck and Minnie E Mouse. So much for truth in that sphere.
    Anonymous
    5th Dec 2019
    5:27pm
    seadog, government cutbacks to burnoffs were not a result of greenies but Liberal mismanagement. The fires were lit on purpose. A great excuse to clear the land for developers.
    Anonymous
    6th Dec 2019
    11:24pm
    Just a slight clarification to your insightful comments, seadog. Fires need a method for ignition, as they are not spontaneous. Yes, there are a few cases of lightning strikes and strong winds causing power lines to fall causing fires.
    However, overall the statistics show that 85% of bush fires are lit by people! Some are accidental or foolishly caused, others (majority) are deliberately lit! The police should be focused much harder to catch these arsonists (instead of sitting by roadsides to catch people driving 10km over the limit), and there won't be any more talk of climate change in relation to bushfires!
    Incognito
    7th Dec 2019
    8:18pm
    GeorgeM, I thought the same thing about the fires, but what are we hearing about how they started, very little. I would like the CFA do research and put the date up and show us how each fire started to get the statistics, why is it being hidden?
    floss
    5th Dec 2019
    5:55pm
    Time will tell seadog how wrong you are.
    seadog
    6th Dec 2019
    11:20am
    Floss and Jackie.
    Obviously you do not read history or at least do not understand it. The fires in Tasmania Jackie were compounded by environmentalists not allowing back burning and fire break creatii9o9n in the areas controlled by them. You only need to ask some of the fire fighters who shunned these people when they turned up as they had and were creating more problems day by day.
    aussiecarer
    6th Dec 2019
    6:17pm
    I can understand a concern about the economy, but it surprises me that the survey found the elderly see the environment as their TOP concern. I would have thought worrying about running out of money, or worrying about dying would have come in higher than worrying about the environment. Most elderly people are wise enough to know that droughts, cold snaps, floods, fires and earthquakes were all around years before climate change became the "vogue cause" for these events. They remember that poem penned by Dorothae Mackellar - "I love a sunburnt country". Most of them memorized it at school. That poem describes Australia 120 years ago ... it describes droughts and flooding rains.... thirsty paddocks... fire and famine.... all of these events were normal for Australia - and this was well before cars and factories were invented to emit C02. If you are one of those elderly people worrying about climate change, then read the poem here again to remind yourself https://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm
    My dad was a stockman in the 1930s in Queensland. He told me how when they were driving cattle to market they used to have to dig for water on the south side of rocks just to find enough water for the cattle to drink to keep them cattle alive. He said they often had to shoot cattle on the stations during heat waves too, because they were so weak from thirst that the crows would swoop down and attack their eyes while they were still alive. And sometimes the cattle would trample each other trying to get to water when the stockmen managed to get the bores working. Back in those days Australians prayed for rain and thanked God when the drought broke. Today they throw money at the Gaia environmental god in an attempt to "fix" drought.

    Fast forward to the 1970s. Do you remember that issue of Time Magazine - the one with the cover that was predicting an imminent ice age? I recall my science teacher telling us that the coming ice age would cause global food shortages and the death of 2 million people. That Chicken-Little-the-sky-is-falling-ice-age didn't eventuate.

    Neither did that Armageddon Y2K millennium bug that was going to cause the banks to crash... (although anyone with shares in baked beans made a killing that year).
    Ten years later many people's insurance premiums skyrocketed because of the rising sea levels that were supposed to engulf all the coastal towns. And now in 2020 the media are telling us to worry about the levels of a gas called CO2 which plants use in photosynthesis. Time to wisen up, turn off the tele and worry less - life is too short to worry about the weather.
    Incognito
    7th Dec 2019
    8:20pm
    I think that many may be putting the environment at the top of their list, not just about the climate changing, but how we decimate the environment with out pollution, clearing of wildlife habitat and letting it all run into the oceans as well. We are living in polluted and toxic times, we need renewable energy just to clear the air.


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