The Australia Institute surveyed nationally representative samples of 1,000 Australians for their views on the Australian Senate, and the principle of proportional representation.
The results show that:
- Respondents were asked whether the Coalition Government has a majority in the Senate. Respondents are somewhat more likely to select the correct answer, that it does not have a majority in the Senate (34%) than the incorrect answer (29%).
- Australians are as likely to say it is better if the Government has a Senate majority (33%) as to say it is better if it does not (32%).
- One in two Australians (50%) agree that the Senate should choose an Independent or minor party senator to be its president.
- Six in 10 Australians (63%) agree that when the Senate and the Government disagree on whether the Government has to hand over information, the Senate should insist on its interpretation.
- Seven in 10 Australians (71%) agree that the Senate should use its powers to make reports written for the Government by private consultants public.
- 46% of Australians agree that the Senate should refuse to hold a vote on bills that the House of Representatives passes if the House of Representatives is refusing to hold a vote on a bill that the Senate passed, while 27% disagree.
- When given two options for elections in the House of Representatives, 34% prefer that a party should win seats proportional to the overall number of votes that it receives, while 44% prefer the status quo.