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Federation fracturing in pandemic: survey

Almost two-thirds of Australians believe federal and state governments have failed to work well together during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison created national cabinet with premiers and chief ministers at the onset of the global disaster.

But a new Ipsos poll commissioned by the McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership found 64 per cent of 1000 voters don’t think it is working.

More than three-quarters of people said the vaccination rollout was a co-ordination failure, while 73 per cent nominated border closures and 70 per cent quarantine.

Views of political leaders’ response to the pandemic also fell sharply during the year.

Over the past 12 months, 40 per cent of respondents believe leaders performed worse than expected compared with 17.5 per cent in February.

Just 15 per cent of people thought leaders performed better than expected, down from 45 per cent in February.

The survey also showed younger people were turning away from traditional news with 44 per cent in the 18-34 age group not consuming that type of media.

Almost three in 10 of all Australians did not consume traditional media.

McKinnon Prize ambassador Amanda Vanstone said national cabinet heralded new collaboration between governments to support Australians during the pandemic.

“However, as the pandemic affected different states in different ways, and citizens and commentators began to apportion the blame on different leaders, our federation splintered along state and party lines, which presents a real challenge for elected leaders,” the former Liberal government minister said.

The poll also found 44 per cent of people in capital cities voted for major parties, while just 32 per cent of regional respondents voted for Labor or the coalition.

McKinnon Prize ambassador and former Labor government minister Simon Crean said that represented a significant opportunity to address issues affecting regional voters.

“Whatever is driving this frustration with major parties, this divide represents a key opportunity for our leaders to show their constituents the key attributes required for good leadership,” he said.

Voting is open online for the McKinnon political leadership prize, an independent award that recognises two outstanding Australians each year.

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