A recent poll of 756 voters in Warringah shows that the current member, Tony Abbott, has lost support in the electorate. The poll estimates that just under 47% of voters in Warringah would vote for the Liberal party if an election were held today. Compared to first preference votes at the 2016 election, that would represent a swing of 5% against Mr Abbott.
“We commissioned the poll to get a baseline reading on the mind and mood of the people of Warringah. The result confirms what I’ve been hearing from people in the electorate,” said Mr Harris. “Many people have said to me that they usually vote Liberal, but won’t be doing so this time around.”
Only 40% of voters agree or strongly agree with the statement that The Federal member, Tony Abbott, represents my views and what’s important to me. Even among Liberal voters, only 62% agreed that Mr Abbott represented their views.
Mr Harris explained, “One of the most significant issues Mr Abbott is out of touch with is energy policy, and doing more to counter the impact of climate change. Our polling showed that 2 in 3 people in Warringah want more effective policies to address climate change. And so Mr Abbott’s argument for nationalising or building new coal-fired power stations is completely at odds what the people in this community want.”
The poll showed that 66% of voters in Warringah agreed or strongly agreed that More needs to be done to tackle climate change, and 70% agreed or strongly agreed that There should be more support put behind renewable energy. Once again, many Liberal voters held an opposing view to Mr Abbott, with more than half (56%) wanting more support put behind renewable energy.
While the poll made it clear that Mr Abbott’s position on climate and energy policy is at odds with the majority of his constituents, there were several other issues that show a growing gap between Mr Abbott and his electorate. In a resounding rejection of the Liberal party’s position on privatising the ABC, 77% of all voters in Warringah and 70% of Liberal voters agreed or strongly agreed that The ABC should not be privatised.
“I was shocked when the Liberal Party’s Federal council voted 2 to 1 in support of a motion to privatise the ABC,” said Mr Harris. “It’s hard to believe that any fair-minded person would think it’s in the public interest to privatise our national broadcaster. I am firmly against it – and it’s clear that so are the vast majority of people in Warringah. If Mr Abbott intends to represent our community, he should go on the public record and reject any future move to privatise the ABC.”
The NBN is a further point of concern for voters in Warringah, with 78% agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement We need a better NBN than what is currently being rolled out. Even among Liberal voters, 67% agreed with the statement, further underlining just how much of a disappointment the NBN solution championed by Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull has been.
“Mr Turnbull may well have been the architect of the NBN solution that our community and nation are now being saddled with, but it was Mr Abbott who presided over this mess during his time as Prime Minister,” said Mr Harris. “The largest infrastructure project Australia has ever undertaken is failing to deliver the speed and reliability we were promised. It’s a scandalous waste of public money, with over $40 billion dollars being spent on a broadband network that’s not fit for purpose today, let alone tomorrow. I’ve been speaking with business owners in our community whose companies depend on reliable, fast internet, and they believe the NBN simply isn’t good enough.”
Despite the loss of support for Mr Abbott among the electorate, the poll does show that he would be returned on a two-party preferred basis if the election were held today.
In response, Mr Harris said, “I’m not disheartened by that at all. We’ve not even begun our campaign for Warringah yet. What I see is that people are recognising the disconnect between their views and those of Mr Abbott on so many issues of national importance, and I’m looking forward to presenting them with an option to do better.”
The poll, conducted by ReachTEL on the 16th of July was commissioned by Dean Harris, the Labor candidate for Warringah.
Original article appeared on The AIM Network.