Survey Reports

March Poll: how our members felt on South Africa, Gun Control

Ian Tan reviews the results from UWA Politics Club's opinion polls in March which included topics on South Africa, the suspension of the City of Perth Council and how to end gun violence in America.

Since the launching of our Facebook group in March, the UWA Politics Club ran a series of opinion polls asking what our members and friends of our club think about the big and topical issues. This is how they responded.


The first poll we ran was on whether Australia should accept white South Africans as refugees. It comes after the new South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced plans that he intends to pursue land reform in the country, reminiscent of Robert Mugabe’s land seizures in neighbouring Zimbabwe – a move that is seen as targeting the roughly 9% of Whites in the country. His Government denies this, with a Minister saying that it is targeting farmers who were not utilising land efficiently.

Peter Dutton, the Australian Home Affairs Minister, earlier in March declared that white farmers “deserved special attention” and should offer special refugee visas to those facing persecution – a move supported by WA conservative MP’s including Ian Goodenough and Andrew Hastie. But it’s clear where our members stand: a whopping 84% agree that Australia should accept white South African as refugees, though the poll was conducted before Mr Dutton’s comments.



Our second poll concerned the suspension of the City of Perth council by the State Government. A three-person panel has since been engaged to run the council and to investigate and recommend, with Royal Commission powers, whether the Council should be sacked. It comes after years of in-fighting and scandals, including the travel and clothing expenses of former Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and other members, as well as the departure of three senior executives in quick succession who undertook extended leave over “workplace safety issues”.

It’s clear that most respondents agreed with the State Government’s decision with 83% agreeing. 10% of respondents believed that a “show-cause” notice should have been issued instead, which required the council to explain to the Local Government Minister why they should not have been suspended and be allowed to carry on.

Perth Council


This remains a heated topic after the shocking shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in mid-February. It inspired a new movement driven by survivors of the shooting and renewed efforts in both Congress and State Legislatures to pass meaningful gun reform. We asked what measures America should adopt to end discourage gun violence and the results were a little surprising.

Strengthening background checks commands the most support, and like America, that’s where common ground ends. There is strong support towards repealing the 2nd Amendment, despite the difficulty of the task – highlights either the success of the Howard Government’s buyback scheme in 1997, or the fact that the amendment is perceived to be out of date with the reality of the 21st century. Banning the sale of assault weapons and raising the legal age to buy a gun to 21 also attracted strong support. Interestingly, no one opted for the banning of video games which have been suggested to encourage violence.

GunViolenceThis poll allowed respondents to select multiple options. 

Ian Tan is the President of the UWA Politics Club.

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