The Lowy Institute Poll, now in its sixteenth year, captures the mood of the Australian public at a remarkable moment. Australians are sceptical of China, disappointed in the United States, and anxious about the economic downturn. But even in the face of this grave pandemic, Australians retain their belief in globalisation and democratic values.

Many believed 2020 would be a year of debate about climate policy in Australia, in the aftermath of our hellish summer of bushfires. But COVID-19 has turned Australians’ heads. Though Australians continue to view climate change as a critical threat, their anxiety has been eclipsed by the pandemic and its economic effects.

As well as the annual Lowy Institute Poll, this report also incorporates COVIDpoll, a survey that asked Australians about global responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Australians were disappointed by the approaches taken by the United States, the United Kingdom and China, but were impressed by their own leaders’ responses. The coronavirus performance of the superpowers has been unimpressive; but smaller, more agile countries such as Australia, with rational politicians and effective bureaucracies, have done better.

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