ANUPoll Media release 7 December



Australians are more interested in science than sport and feel that politicians are failing to listen to the advice of the nation’s scientists, according to the latest ANUpoll, released today.

The latest ANUpoll looked at public attitudes about science. It found that far from being a nation of sports obsessives, Australians would prefer to hear about health issues, medical discoveries and the environment in their news bulletins. However, the poll also found that the public felt poorly informed about science, are confused about climate science, and think politicians are too easily swayed by media reaction when they should be listening to scientists.

The report’s authors, Dr Will J Grant and Dr Rod Lamberts of the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at ANU, said the findings knock for six the sport-loving stereotype.

“What’s remarkable is that we see Australians saying they are more interested in science, technology and medical issues than films, music and even that most sacred Aussie pastime – sport,” said Dr Lamberts.

“The results also show that the Australian public overwhelmingly think politicians should rely more on the advice of expert scientists, and that they are too easily swayed by media reactions to scientific issues. It’s heartening to know that people have faith in our experts, especially at such a critical point in our history,” added Dr Grant.

Other key findings from ANUpoll include:

· A large number of people feel poorly informed about science;

· Australians believe that scientists, doctors, engineers, teachers, police and the military make a significant contribution to society, but are less positive about priests, politicians and journalists;

· Australians are positive about the benefits of science, but believe that science is not solving the problems of poverty and hunger around the world;

· The Australian public remains divided and unsure about climate science, both in terms of what climate scientists think is happening with climate change, and its causes;

· Australians feel that politicians do not properly consider scientific advice;

· Almost three in ten Australians are dissatisfied with the way the country is heading, and a significant increase has been seen in the number of people seeing ‘better government’ as the key problem facing Australia.

This is the eighth ANUpoll. ANUpoll is a survey of Australian public opinion of matters of national importance. A copy of ANUpoll is attached, and the ANUpoll team are available for interview.

For interviews: Dr Will J Grant – 02 6125 0241 / 0450 105 489

Dr Rod Lamberts – 02 6125 0747 / 0412 630 016

For media assistance: Martyn Pearce, ANU Media – 02 6125 5575 / 0416 249 245

___________________________________________________ Dr RG Lamberts Deputy Director

Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) A Centre for the National Commission of UNESCO

Office G10 Physics Link Building (#38a) College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences The Australian National University Canberra ACT 0200

P: +61 2 6125 0747 F: +61 2 6125 8991 Cricos Provider #00120C

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