Half of Australians are pessimistic about society and believe the “country is in decline”, Ipsos reports

Ipsos February 2024 Report: What Australia Thinks, Feels and Does at Work

67% of Australians believe that “Australia needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful”.

Half of Australians (50%) believe “society is broken”, while 48% say the “country is in decline”, a new global survey by Ipsos has found.

The survey, conducted in November and December 2023, examined global perceptions of populism and anti-elitism and revealed that six in 10 Australians (65%) think “the economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful.”

Meanwhile, a third of the country 34% believe the nation would be “stronger if we stopped immigration,” significantly behind the global average (43%).

The Ipsos survey revealed Australians are also less likely than their global partners (59%) to believe that “when jobs are scarce, employers should prioritise hiring people of this country over immigrants” (51%).

More than half (57%) of Australians agree that ‘traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me’. The figure is more positive than the global average (64%), with only Sweden (51%), the Netherlands (44%) and Singapore (43%) less likely to agree with this statement.

Ipsos data found that when it comes to referendums, the nation is firmly divided – half think political issues should be decided by referendum voting; half disagree. That figure is below the global average of 58% in support of referendums at 50%.

Two-thirds (67%) of Australians believe that “Australia needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful”, while over half (52%) think the nation needs a “strong leader willing to break the rules.”

When it comes to public spending, Australia is more likely to support increased taxes to pay for additional public spending at 21% compared to 19% globally.

Jessica Elgood, Ipsos Australia director, noted the study provided fascinating insight into the current state of thinking about Australian society and the Government.

“We are not as consumed by the idea of Australia being as ‘broken’ as many other countries, and we’re less likely to agree that our elected representatives do not have our interests at heart,” she said.

“We’re also less concerned than other parts of the world that immigrants are threatening our well-being. Both of these results are reassuring and speak to the health of our political system and economy. But, despite not perceiving our society to be as troubled as other countries, we are equally, or more, enthralled by the need for a strong leader, willing to break the rules, to fix our country,” Elgood added.

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