Climate change policies important to Aussie voters ahead of election: poll

Xinhua News Agency


Climate change policies will influence almost half of all Australian voters in this year's federal election, according to results of a survey published on Thursday.

The results of the poll, conducted by Lonergan Research, showed that 47 percent of Australian voters said climate change and renewable energy would influence the way they vote.

Similarly, 44 percent of Australian voters believe a future government should be put in place strong measures to protect the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.

Only one in five Australians said climate change policies would not affect their voting habits heading into the election.

Simon Sheikh from Future Super, the company who commissioned the poll of more than 1,000 Australians, said the results of the survey spell doom for the current government.

He said the Turnbull government's approval of the Adani coal mine close to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, as well as the government's lax policy on renewable energy could cost it millions of votes.

"Today's polling shows that, when voters go to the polls in the second half of the year, they'll be concerned about climate change, " Sheikh told The Guardian on Thursday.

"That should be an extraordinary wake-up call for the government."

The news comes on the back of a stark warning from NASA, which revealed last month was the hottest February on record, something Australia's chief scientist said was a "genuine reason for concern".

Sheikh said Australians were becoming increasingly concerned with climate change, and the political party which best adapts its policies to reflect the changing landscape would ultimately have a better chance of getting into office.

"With temperature records being smashed in 2014, 2015 and in the first two months of 2016, it's little wonder that voters are deeply concerned about the issue once again," Sheikh said.

Australians will head to the polls later this year, with a date yet to be announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.