Australian attitudes to aid: who supports aid, how much aid do they want given, and what do they want it given for?

Stream: Panel 28 - International Relations: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


This paper analyses survey data to isolate personal traits and beliefs associated with Australians’ opinions about Official Development Assistance (ODA), ODA cuts and ODA purpose. The paper shows that support for Australia giving ODA is high in general but higher on the left, among women, among younger Australians and among Australians with an academic education. The paper also shows support for giving ODA is higher among those who have favourable attitudes to Asia and to multilateral organisations, and lower among Australians concerned with the government’s fiscal health. The paper finds that, while religious Australians are, on average, less supportive of ODA than non-religious Australians, this relationship is driven by strong negative attitudes to aid among people who are religious but who infrequently attend religious service. Among all available religious belief categories (including non-believers), support for aid is actually highest among frequent attendees of religious service. With respect to aid cuts, younger, urban, better-educated, and politically left-leaning Australians are more likely to oppose aid cuts. With respect to aid purpose, while most Australians want their aid given primarily to help other countries, this preference is higher on the political left and among people concerned with domestic poverty-related issues. This preference is also higher among Australians with favourable opinions of multilateral organisations and who are more avid consumers of news media.


Terence Wood (Presenter), ANU