What do Australians think part 2 – family, work and politics

When it comes to helping the elderly with their everyday lives – from house cleaning to grocery shopping – most think government agency should be responsible followed by families. There is also overwhelming support for public funds to help the cost of caring for the elderly.

When asked about how many days a week people spend personally on household work (not including childcare) the cluster is around 10 hours with a similar amount of time looking after family members (eg children, elderly or disabled family members) although for some reason a tiny minority seem to spend more than 80 hours a week on it. This work seems to be fairly well shared between spouses.

Looking back on years with young children that is probably not as difficult to imagine as a first look suggests.

When it comes to income most couples pool the money and each take out what they need. There a quite a number of couples where one person manages all the money giving each a share or hands it out to the other as needed or as an allowance.

In the post-war period it was common for wives in working class families to take the husband’s pay as well as any from their own work and give the male an allowance. Matriarchy ruled in many of these households.

Today, according to the survey and any observation of your local supermarket or market, shopping for groceries is a shared activity with all the attached child seat paraphernalia on shopping trolleys.

Household cleaning also tends to be shared and not many respondents use a cleaner.

Few people seem to find it difficult to concentrate at work because of family responsibility attesting to the role of the workplace as a place of respite except when the child care centre calls because a child is unwell.

Respondents are happy to take in a sibling of one of the couples who needs a place to stay for a while but the prospect of the father of one of ther couple becoming a widower and wanting to stay is not so welcome.

As for temporary financial help for a grandchild whose employer has closed down most grandparents are willing to help. If they are Baby Boomers they have probably already helped both the child and its parents.

Respondents think close relatives and close friends are equally important in one’s life although with close friends, unlike relatives, it doesn’t come to the same level of closeness when wills and estates test the relationship.

People seem to be generally happy with the completely happy outnumbering the completely unhappy, very unhappy and fairly unhappy. A lot are very happy or completely happy.

The LNP’s women problem is starkly illustrated by responses to questions about whether women or men are best suited to serve in certain leadership positions such as Cabinet Ministers, University Head or senior executive in a large organisation. Belief in all three propositions is overwhelmingly high although a very few believe men are better and the very few rating for men is less than that for women.

Women still bear much responsibility within families and respondents overwhelmingly saw their mothers as being more hands on in their day-to-day upbringing.

For all the talk about a cost of living crisis a big majority of respondents said it was neither easy nor difficult, fairly easy or very easy to currently make household’s ends meet. On the other hand, the split between whether their financial situation had changed in the previous year found that many thought it was much the same, but an almost equal number thought it was somewhat worse or much rose.

Turning to broader issues the survey showed that a majority of respondents thought the number of immigrants allowed into Australia should be increased a lot, a little or stay about the same. There was less support for decreasing it a little and even less for decreasing it a lot. Overall, it would not seem to be a surefire winner for Peter Dutton.

On climate change the overwhelming majority believed it was happening now and was caused mainly by human activities. A few thought natural causes were contributing and deniers were very much a minority. Very few said they only knew a little or nothing at all about climate change.

An overwhelming majority also thought the Federal Government should do much more, more or about the same about climate change. There were a however a number who said the Government should be doing less or much less.

When respondents were asked whether they considered themselves left or right wing politically the biggest group couldn’t choose. The next biggest was right in the middle and roughly the same smaller proportions were on the left or right scale.

A majority is very or fairly satisfied with the way democracy in Australia works but a majority also thought it was run by a “few big interests looking out for themselves” when asked. Who said voters were stupid?

There are very few respondents who believe there are almost no politicians in Australia involved in corruption. The majority believe a few, some, quite a lot or almost all are.

LNP politicians – when asked about ant economic policy – default to belief in the power of tax cuts and spending less on social services. The majority of Australians respond with – It depends – suggesting a degree of political and economic sophistication not shared by politicians.

There are however slightly more mildly or strongly favouring more spending on social services with lesser numbers strongly or mildly favouring tax cuts.