Voters split on protest crackdown plans

A poll shows voters are split on coalition plans to crack down on protests and secondary boycotts.
A poll shows voters are split on coalition plans to crack down on protests and secondary boycotts.

Australians are split over plans to crack down on protesters and secondary boycotts related to mining projects.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned after a week of anti-coal demonstrations that his government would pursue laws to stamp out practices he claims are threatening the livelihoods of Australians.

While it is unclear how the government will go about this, the most likely option is removing an exemption for environmental actions from a ban on secondary boycotts, when a supplier of goods or services is blockaded.

New polling by Essential Research, released on Wednesday, found a third of voters supported the crackdown while marginally more opposed it.

And almost a third neither support nor oppose the move.

But it has pleased the coalition backers among the 1075 people polled, with nearly three-in-five saying they supported it.

Despite these split views, more than half those polled agreed protesters should have the right to pressure banks not to invest in companies building coal mines, one of the actions the government has been up in arms about.

And more than 80 per cent said the right to peaceful protest was a fundamental part of a democratic society, with that sentiment even stronger among coalition voters.

Almost two-thirds of people had participated in some kind of protest activity, such as signing a petition, attending a rally or going on strike.

Young people were the most likely to have protested.

The most common activities were signing online and written petitions.

Australian Associated Press