Polling Cook By-Election: Landslide Support for Integrity Reform in Politics

Australia Institute

Over four in five voters (84.6%) agree that truth in political advertising laws should be in place ahead of the next federal election, with just 4.9% of voters opposed.

There is similar support for strengthening the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s (NACC) public hearings power, with over two thirds of voters saying they think the Commission should be allowed to hold public hearings in ‘unlimited’ circumstances (35.6%) or when a hearing is in the public interest (35.2%).

The poll, conducted by uComms on March 28, surveyed 914 residents using automated voice and SMS methodologies, with a margin of error of +/- 3.6%. Following the resignation of Scott Morrison, the Cook by-election will be held on Saturday 13th April.

Key findings:

  • An overwhelming majority (84.6%) of voters agree truth in political advertising laws should be in place in time for the next federal election, with almost 7 in 10 (69.7%) of voters strongly agreeing. Only 4.9% of voters disagree, 10.5% didn’t know or weren’t sure.
  • 7 in 10 voters (70.8%) say the NACC should be able to hold public hearings in any circumstance, or when a hearing is in the public interest.
  • Only 15.9% say the NACC’s power should be limited to holding public hearings in exceptional circumstances, which is currently the case.
  • Two-party preferred: 65% Simon Kennedy (LNP) vs 35% Martin Moore (GRN) based on respondent allocated preferences.
  • First preferences: 53% Simon Kennedy (Liberal Party), 17% Martin Moore (Australian Greens), 12% Roger Woodward (Independent), 8% Natasha Brown (Animal Justice Party), 6% Simone Francis Gagatam (Sustainable Australia Party), 4% Vinay Kolhatkar (Libertarian), including the redistributed Undecided voters.
  • Nearly one in four respondents (24.5%) have not decided their first preference vote in the upcoming by-election.

“Cook is Liberal Party heartland, but there is clear demand among Cook voters for integrity reforms like truth in political advertising laws and public hearings when in the public interest for the National Anti-Corruption Commission that the Liberal Party has so far not supported,” said Bill Browne, Director of the Australia Institute’s Democracy & Accountability Program.

“Neither major party can afford to be complacent given voters in safe seats are as supportive of integrity reforms as marginal ones are.

“In Australia, it is perfectly legal to lie in a political ad – and it shouldn’t be.

“Our electoral system is long due for reform and Parliament should pass these laws before the next election, to pre-empt a fake news free-for-all.”

/Public Release. View in full here.