Saturday 09 Oct 2021 | 18:34 | SYDNEY
Saturday 09 Oct 2021 | 18:34 | SYDNEY

Australian attitudes towards China


Fergus Hanson


23 November 2009 12:37

I've been looking at some old opinion polls recently and came across this one the Age did back in the 70s. The findings on China were quite interesting in light of recent Lowy polling. In 1977, asked whether China was 'likely to be a threat to Australia' 41% of Australians said 'yes' and 59% 'no'.

Fast forward 32 years and the 2009 Lowy Institute Poll found the same percentage (41%) of Australians saying it was 'likely' 'that China will become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years' (while 57% said it was unlikely).

But not everything has remained the same. In 1977, 65% of Australians said China was not 'on the way up'. By contrast, the 2009 Lowy Institute Poll found 63% of Australians saying China was the most important economy to Australia at the moment (ahead of Japan and the United States — see chart below) and 72% that it would be 'more powerful' after the GEC than it was before it.