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90% of Australians want a National Crimes Authority established

Two separate SMS Morgan Polls were conducted this week each with a nation-wide cross-section of approximately 1,000 Australians aged 18+.

Its official an overwhelming majority of Australians (90%) say the Federal Government should establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption according to a special SMS Morgan Poll.

In addition a clear majority of 77% (unchanged since June 2016) of Australians say the Federal Government should establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates.

Two separate SMS Morgan Polls were conducted this week each with a nation-wide cross-section of approximately 1,000 Australians aged 18+.

Question 1

Analysis by Voting Preference

Analysing by voting preference shows vast majorities of supporters of all parties say the Federal Government should establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption:

  • L-NP voters: Yes (91%) cf. no (9%);
  • ALP voters: Yes (85%) cf. no (15%);
  • Greens voters: Yes (88%) cf. no (12%);
  • Independent/ Others voters: Yes (94%) cf. no (6%).

Analysis by Gender

Analysis by gender shows men slightly more in favour of establishing a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption than women:

  • Men: Yes (91%) cf. no (9%);
  • Women: Yes (89%) cf. no (11%).

Analysis by Age

Analysing by age shows older Australians are the most likely to favour establishing a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption:

  • 18-24yr olds: Yes (84%) cf. no (16%);
  • 25-34yr olds: Yes (90%) cf. no (10%);
  • 35-49yr olds: Yes (89%) cf. no (11%);
  • 50-64yr olds: Yes (89%) cf. no (11%);
  • 65+yr olds: Yes (94%) cf. no (6%).

Analysis by State

Analysing by State shows South Australians (93%) and those from New South Wales are the keenest on establishing a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption but that at least 87% of Australians in all other States agree as well:

  • New South Wales: Yes (92%) cf. no (8%);
  • Victoria: Yes (89%) cf. no (11%);
  • Queensland: Yes (87%) cf. no (13%);
  • Western Australia: Yes (87%) cf. no (13%);
  • South Australia: Yes (93%) cf. no (7%);
  • Tasmania: Yes (90%) cf. no (10%).

Question 2

Analysis by Voting Preference

Analysing by voting preference shows L-NP supporters (87%) are far more likely to favour establishing a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates than either ALP supporters (72%) or Greens supporters (59%):

  • L-NP voters: Yes (87%, up 2% since June 2016) cf. no (13%, down 2%);
  • ALP voters: Yes (72%, up 3%) cf. no (28%, down 3%);
  • Greens voters: Yes (59%, down 12%) cf. no (41%, up 12%);
  • Independent/ Others voters: Yes (80%, down 5%) cf. no (20%, up 5%).

Analysis by Gender

Analysis by gender shows very little change in how women and men regard the establishment of a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates with both genders heavily in favour:

  • Men: Yes (77%, unchanged since June 2016) cf. no (23%, unchanged);
  • Women: Yes (78%, up 1%) cf. no (22%, down 1%).

Analysis by Age

Analysing by age shows the youngest Australians (under the age of 25) and the oldest Australians (65 years of age and older) are the most likely to favour setting up a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates:

  • 18-24yr olds: Yes (86%, up 9% since June 2016) cf. no (14%, down 9%);
  • 25-34yr olds: Yes (70%, down 7%) cf. no (30%, up 7%);
  • 35-49yr olds: Yes (75%, down 2%) cf. no (25%, up 2%);
  • 50-64yr olds: Yes (78%, up 1%) cf. no (22%, down 1%);
  • 65+yr olds: Yes (80%, up 2%) cf. no (20%, down 2%).

Analysis by State

Analysing by State shows Queenslanders (82%), South Australians (82%) and Western Australians (81%) are the most likely to favour establishing a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates:

  • New South Wales: Yes (77%, up 4% since June 2016) cf. no (23%, down 4%);
  • Victoria: Yes (74%, down 5%) cf. no (26%, up 5%);
  • Queensland: Yes (82%, down 1%) cf. no (18%, up 1%);
  • Western Australia: Yes (81%, up 6%) cf. no (19%, down 6%);
  • South Australia: Yes (82%, up 5%) cf. no (18%, down 5%);
  • Tasmania: Yes (71%, down 7%) cf. no (29%, up 7%).

Respondents for both surveys were asked which aspects of corruption concerned them the most. Many respondents referred to Government and union corruption, the misuse of public funds, politicians benefiting from companies which receive public funding, lobbying, political donations, the lack of transparency, property developers, special treatments for businesses, awarding of tenders, bribery and fraud.

Many Australians mentioned the likelihood of corruption involving politicians and the Government due to their ability to sell influence and direct public money to their advantage:

“Government members and Ministers using influence unfairly.”

“Politicians rorting tax free allowances, while the public who are paying the politicians pay.”

“Government agencies and politicians. And Lobbyists.”

“Government corruption is the worst betrayal of one’s nation. The people sworn to serve the Australian public are rewarded very well for their service.”

“That nothing is ever done about it. It’s all a cover up!”

“The award of public contracts to preferred suppliers. It’s textbook nepotism.”

“The misuse of public money.”

“There are always vested interests influencing government policies/ decisions to their advantage and away from the public interest.”


Many Australians also brought up corruption in relation to the unions and the way they bully and intimidate as well as the lobbying that goes on from unions, and lobbyists on behalf of corporations and political donors. The issue of how political donations are used to influence public policy was mentioned frequently by respondents:

“Union corruption, for example the financial services enquiry exemption to union super funds.”

“Union stand-over corruption.”

“Union and private sector corruption.”

“Government, public sector and big business corruption erodes the public trust.”

“The expenditure of public funds.”

“Lobbyists and unions.”

“Federal Government corruption especially the corruption associated with lobbying.”

“Lobbying from large corporations on issues like power supply and environmental policy.”

“The corporate corruption of Government policy through lobbying for private benefit over public interest.”

“Political corruption: Donations, corporate influence, media, lobbyists, favours, gifts, industry groups.”

“Big business with political donations and the lack of consistency of the application of tax law.”

“Public servants using taxpayer funds for personal benefit and political donations from foreign governments.”

“Political donations which are bribery of government officials at home and abroad. The black market economy and money laundering of drug profits for instance.”

“There’s a bunch of things. Nepotism, money/political donations, bullying, lobbying, snouts in the trough.”

“Corporate donations which allows employers to pay below award rates.”


Another aspect of corruption that was frequently brought up was the issue of transparency and how the lack of transparency for things like tender processes can lead to, and encourage, greater corruption benefiting insiders at the expense of others:

“Lack of transparency such as giving money to organisations such as the Great Barrier Reef Foundation without a transparent tender process.”

“Where do we start? All bodies should be transparent. All should be investigated and held accountable.”

“The nepotism, fraudulent self-serving decision-making, the lack of transparency in operations and where there is sharing of information it is obscured.”

“The lack of integrity and transparency and truthfulness. The rich get richer at the expense of ordinary honest people.”

“Any corruption and the lack of transparency. The lack of trust, the absence of truth, the lack of respect for voters. The lying. It’s present all over!”


An aspect of corruption that has featured heavily in the State-based corruption commissions and was brought up frequently by respondents related to corruption with property developers buying off politicians, and unions, to get their projects approved quickly and even against local by-laws:

“It’s big business and developers.”

“The non-accountability of politicians. Planning and development via political donations.”

“Politicians and property developers.”

“Property developers and unions. The inappropriate role of major political parties affecting government employees such as political advisers.”

“The lack of transparency for construction projects and developers.”

“Government contracts and tied in with the development applications.”

“Public and private sector kick-backs for contracting work. There are under the table payments for land developers.”

“The payoffs to unions by developers. What large corporations gave unions after the unions agreed for workers to receive below award payments especially on weekends.”


A closely related aspect of corruption is the awarding of tenders for projects being given to mates and on the basis of political donations rather than merit. Government grants being awarded without a tender even as examples of favourable decisions for those ‘in the know’ rather than the best qualified with the inevitable consequences of fraud and bribery – which were themselves frequently mentioned:

“Jobs and tenders for the boys etc.”

“Illegal tendering along with misappropriation and nepotism.”

“Overseas workers and the preference of tenders.”

“Tenders being given to companies that reward union officials.”

“Non-tendered Government grants. It shouldn’t happen.”

“Government bribery.”

“Political parties being bribed.”

“Bribery by business.”

“Bribery and dodgy deals.”

“Fraud, political donations for favourable decisions on contracts, developments, environmental degradation, supporting foreign government interference and meddling.”

“Government corruption, corporate fraud, aggressive tax evasion and government corporate collusion.”

“Corporate fraud in each of these areas – Government, unions and corporations.”

“Tax fraud.”

“Fraudulent behaviour.”

“Financial mismanagement and fraud.”

“Fraud – whether financial or otherwise.”


Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan, says:

“Australians are overwhelmingly (90%) in favour of the Federal Government establishing a National Crimes Authority similar to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption similar to the State-base anti-corruption bodies such as the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption in NSW) and the IBAC (Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission – Victoria).

“Support for a new Federal Government anti-corruption body is strongest amongst those voting for Independents and Minor Parties (94%), but also very high for L-NP supporters (91%), Greens supporters (88%) and ALP supporters (85%).

“The success of the State-based ICAC and IBAC uncovering corruption in their respective states and the high public support expressed for the establishment of a Federal anti-corruption body is grounded in the public perceptions of corruption in Australia.

“Australians mentioned many different types of corruption that they’d like to see investigated including the misuse of public funds, politicians benefiting and ‘getting kick-backs’ from companies which receive public funding, developers and others making political donations, lobbying, union corruption, the awarding of tenders, bribery and fraud and the general lack of transparency.

“Australians are a naturally cynical lot and the results of these special snap SMS Morgan Polls show there is a large call for the Federal Government to place itself under greater scrutiny.”

Finding No. 7736 – This special snap SMS Morgan Poll was conducted with a representative cross-section of 2,152 Australians over the last two days, Tuesday September 18, 2018 – Wednesday September 19, 2018.


Question 1

991 Australians were asked “At present there are State anti-corruption authorities investigating State Government and corporate corruption such as ICAC (NSW) and IBAC (Victoria). Were you aware of this?” and respondents were then asked “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption?” Respondents were then asked: “Which aspects of corruption concern you the most?”

Question 2

1,161 Australians were asked “It’s been found by the Fair Work Commission that unions and large employers have agreements to pay workers below award rates. Were you aware of this?” and respondents were then asked “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates?” This question repeated a question asked in mid-June 2016. Respondents were then asked: “Which aspects of corruption concern you the most?”


Question 1

Australians were asked (September 18-19, 2018):

Q1:“At present there are State anti-corruption authorities investigating State Government and corporate corruption such as ICAC (NSW) and IBAC (Victoria). Were you aware of this?”

Of all Australians surveyed on September 18-19, 48% had heard of the State anti-corruption authorities while 52% had not. Of electors surveyed 48% had heard of the State anti-corruption authorities while 52% had not.

Q2. All respondents were then asked “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption?”

Analysis by Age & Gender - “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption?”

Total

Gender

Age

Men

Women

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

90

91

89

84

90

89

89

94

No

10

9

11

16

10

11

11

6

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Analysis by Voting Preference – “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption?”

Total

Q1:
Aware

Q1:
Unaware

Electors

L-NP

ALP

Greens

Other

Can’t say

Non
Electors

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

90

92

88

89

91

85

88

94

100

92

No

10

8

12

11

9

15

12

6

0

8

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Analysis by State & City/Country – “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate Federal Government, union and private sector corruption?”

State

Region

Total

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS

City

Country

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

90

92

89

87

87

93

90

89

91

No

10

8

11

13

13

7

10

11

9

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Question 2

Australians were asked (September 18-19, 2018):

Q1:“It’s been found by the Fair Work Commission that unions and large employers have agreements to pay workers below award rates. Were you aware of this?”

Of all Australians surveyed on September 18-19 only 22% (down 7% since June 2016) had heard of the Fair Work Commission finding while 78% (up 7%) had not. Of electors surveyed 21% (down 7%) had heard of the Fair Work Commission’s finding while 79% (up 7%) had not.

Q2. All respondents were then asked “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates?”

Analysis by Age & Gender - “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates?”

Total

Gender

Age

June 2016

Sep 18/19
2018

Men

Women

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

77

77

77

78

86

70

75

78

80

No

23

23

23

22

14

30

25

22

20

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Analysis by Voting Preference – “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates?”

Total

Q1:
Aware

Q1:
Unaware

Electors

L-NP

ALP

Greens

Other

Can’t say

Non
Electors

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

77

71

80

78

87

72

59

80

72

75

No

23

29

20

22

13

28

41

20

28

25

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Analysis by State & City/Country – “Should the Federal Government establish a National Crimes Authority to investigate unions and large employers paying workers below award rates?”

State

Region

Total

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS

City

Country

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

77

77

74

82

81

82

71

78

76

No

23

23

26

18

19

18

29

22

24

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100


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