Survey Reports

Our Members’ thoughts on Donald Trump’s Space Force, the Liberal Leadership Crisis and More

Nicholas Cokis reviews recent the opinion polls conducted through the UWA Politics Club Facebook members, looking at Trump's Spaceforce, the Liberal Leadership crisis and more.

With a number of interesting developments in Australian politics occurring over the past few months, we polled members of our Facebook group to see what they thought. Here are their responses.

Donald Trump’s Space Force

Donald Trump again made worldwide headlines when, on the 18th of June, he announced plans for the creation of a new branch of the American military, operating exclusively in outer space, a so called ‘space force’. Further clarification from the Trump administration confirmed that this potential 6th branch of the armed forces would focus on all matters ‘off world’, including the development of space-based weapons and the defence of US satellites.

Asked whether or not they support this new initiative from the President, a 73% majority of our members agreed with this ambitious undertaking. A sizeable opposition of 27% voted against the idea, but it remains to be seen whether or not Congress will assent to this expansion of the US military.

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Andrew Gaff’s Strike Against Andrew Brayshaw

During the second AFL Fremantle vs West Coast Derby on the 6th of August, a strike from West Coast Eagles star player Andrew Gaff against Fremantle player Andrew Brayshaw caused a media frenzy. The hit, which forced Brayshaw to be taken off the field and rushed to hospital, sparked massive controversy, with some advocating for Gaff to be banned indefinitely from football and even face criminal charges. In the days following the event, an AFL Tribunal eventually handed down an eight-week suspension to Gaff as punishment, providing a premature end to the West Coast player’s season.

When asked whether or not this eight-week suspension was appropriate, 58% of our members formed the consensus that the punishment was fair and just. A further 24% of members advocated for criminal charges to be laid against Gaff, while 15% instead argued that Gaff’s clean record and innocent intentions did not warrant a punishment so severe. The banning of Gaff from AFL received support was not a popular opinion, with support from only 3% of our members.

1

Liberal Leadership Crisis

The Coalition Government recently faced a week long crisis, beginning on Monday the 20th of August when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was forced by his party to concede on a clean energy target in the Government’s national energy guarantee proposal. Rumours of a leadership spill caused Turnbull to hold a party room meeting on Tuesday where he was confirmed as leader of the Liberal party in a vote against his more conservative colleague Peter Dutton. The following days were still plagued with controversy however, as confidence in Turnbull from within his party waned. This culminated in Turnbull’s stepping down as Prime Minister and a final leadership vote on Friday the 24th, resulting in the election of former treasurer Scott Morison to the position of party leader and Prime Minister.

The day before the final leadership vote, we asked our members who their preferred leader of the Liberal Party was. A majority of 64% preferred Julie Bishop, with a further 14% supporting Christian Porter, two strong Western Australian cabinet members which is perhaps indicative of a level of state allegiance to our local members. Interestingly, incumbent leader Malcolm Turnbull and the main challenger Peter Dutton were preferred equally with 8% each, and Scott Morrison was preferred by a mere 3% of members. Our members are therefore likely to be disheartened with the result of the final vote, with Julie Bishop being notably absent from Scott Morrison’s new cabinet.

4

Political TV Shows

Political enthusiasts that we are, often times the realities of modern politics fail to satisfy the intrigue of our members. Political TV series are a natural place to turn, whether portraying highly dramatized representations of politics or mercilessly satirising real contemporary politics. Out of interest, we asked our members their favourite political TV show.

31% of our members rallied behind the popular Netflix series House of Cards, formerly starring the now highly controversial actor Kevin Spacey. Coming in second was the classic British satire Yes (Prime) Minister, garnering acclaim from 24% of our members. In third place was modern British satire The Thick of It with 12% of the vote, followed by the original 1990 House of Cards, HBO’s Veep and NBC’s The West Wing. Attracting very little admiration is the not-so critically acclaimed American series Tyrant.

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Words by Nicholas Cokis

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