Euthanasia support strengthens to nearly 90pc, Vote Compass data shows – Australia Votes – Federal Election 2019 – Politics

Euthanasia support strengthens to nearly 90pc, Vote Compass data shows – Australia Votes – Federal Election 2019 – Politics


May 08, 2019 03:15:24

Support amongst Australian voters for voluntary euthanasia has jumped 33 percentage points in the past six years, to almost 90 per cent, according to Vote Compass data.

Key points

  • 90 per cent of Australians support assisted dying for the terminally ill with strong support across all parties
  • Half think people on welfare should be subjected to random drug tests
  • On Australia becoming a republic, a third of voters agree, a third disagree and the rest are neutral

When the question was first asked in 2013’s Vote Compass, 54 per cent of voters were in favour; this increased to 77 per cent in 2016.

Support for terminally ill people to end their lives with medical assistance cuts across gender, religious and political party lines, with more than 70 per cent in all subgroups now in favour.

In 2017, Victoria became the first state to legalise voluntary assisted dying, with legislation to come into force next month.

A bill to legalise assisted dying is expected to be introduced to the WA Parliament later this year.

However, opinions about other social questions — including drug-testing those on welfare, teaching transgender awareness and Australia becoming a republic — were very mixed.

Voters across the political spectrum support euthanasia

Greens, One Nation, Coalition and Labor voters were united in their strong support for assisted dying in terminally ill patients.

La Trobe University associate professor Andrea Carson, a member of the Vote Compass advisory panel, said legalised assisted dying in Victoria and bills in other states had moved voters to support it.

“We’ve had more conversations about it, the sky hasn’t fallen in, a lot of concerns about the pendulum tipping too far the other way have not been realised at this time,” she said.

The right to seek assistance for a dignified death for people with a degenerative or terminal illness is part of the Greens health policy, and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has said she supports people having the right to choose how they die, and in 2017 she supported a bill to let territories legislate on assisted suicide.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has cautiously voiced support for euthanasia with appropriate safeguards, whereas PM Scott Morrison said in 2015 that he would never support voluntary euthanasia.

Support for assisted dying was equally high among men and women.

While those with no religion were the strongest supporters of the policy, nearly three quarters of Catholics, Protestants and people of other religions were also in favour.

The three electorates that were least in favour — Blaxland, McMahon and Parramatta — also recorded the highest “No” votes in the same-sex marriage survey.

Narrow majority want people on welfare to have random drug tests

Just over half of Vote Compass respondents (52 per cent) agreed that welfare recipients should undergo random drug tests, with 35 per cent disagreeing.

More than three quarters of Coalition and One Nation voters, and around a third of Greens and Labor voters, favoured the policy.

The Coalition government intended to start a drug-testing trial in 5,000 people in three locations in NSW, Queensland and WA, but the legislation enabling the trial was blocked in the Senate.

Labor has rejected the trial as “ill-conceived”, based on advice from health professionals and the Greens are also against it.

No consensus on transgender teaching

Voters were split on whether transgender awareness should be taught in primary schools, with 40 per cent in favour, 19 per cent neutral and 40 per cent against.

Women (49 per cent) were more in favour of the policy than men (31 per cent) and support was much higher amongst people aged 18 to 34 (53 per cent) than those aged 35 to 54 (38 per cent) and over 55 (31 per cent).

More than 80 per cent of One Nation voters were against teaching children transgender awareness, with Coalition voters also mostly against (67 per cent).

Greens (72 per cent) and Labor (51 per cent) were more in favour.

Voters were slightly more in favour of teaching transgender awareness than they were in 2016.

Young Royals may have stymied the case for a republic

There was also little agreement about whether Australia should become a Republic.

The most common response to the question, “Australia should end the monarchy and become a republic” was 35 per cent who disagreed, up from 32 per cent in 2016 but less than the 40 per cent who were against in 2013.

Thirty per cent of voters were neutral on a republic and 32 per cent agreed.

Perhaps surprisingly, 18- to 34-year-olds were slightly more in favour (33 per cent) than neutral (30 per cent) or against (32 per cent).

Professor Carson said the celebrity of the young Royals has created a resurgence in the popularity of the monarchy.

“If the baby [Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first child] had come at the start rather than the end of Vote Compass, the monarchy would have been even more popular,” she said.

About the data

  • Vote Compass responses have been weighted by gender, age, education and place of residence to match the Australian population, creating a nationally representative sample.
  • The sample size for this report is 450,479 respondents.
  • Find about more about the methodology in this explainer.

















First posted

May 08, 2019 01:51:29

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