A majority of Australians believe that the Morrison Government has been too slow to act in response to the recent bushfires, and has failed to address climate change as a real threat to the country. The backlash may have an impact on the next federal election, with a growing number of Australians seeking a government that will make climate change a flagstone of party policy. 

And while the recent blazes and gradually warming temperatures have dominated the headlines this summer, there remains a sizeable minority of Australians who do not believe that climate change is linked to the severity of the bushfires.



Over half of all Australians are unsatisfied with the Morrison government’s response to this summer’s bushfires. Overall, nearly 55% of people surveyed rated the government’s efforts as being either poor (18.2%) or very poor (36.3%). Women, in general, were more scathing of the response, with 57.9% of females compared to 49.9% of males rating the response as either poor or very poor. 

Negative sentiment focused largely on loss of life, destruction of property and a failure to take steps to prevent bushfires. 

“This has been heartbreaking,” a female respondent in the 35-44 year old age bracket said, adding that “Australia’s stance on the matter is disgusting. The Morrison government is ignorant and focuses solely on the economy at the expense of human and animal lives.” 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger generations are the most likely to be disappointed with the government’s response to the recent bushfires, with 79% of respondents aged 18-24 and 68% of 25-34-year-olds rating the response as being either poor or very poor. 

Younger Australians generally laid the blame with conservative governments and politicians. A typical comment from a female respondent in the 25-34 year old age bracket stated: “I believe this is a culmination of long-standing inaction of the government – specifically Liberal governments – in smearing and dismantling climate change policies enacted by Labor such as the carbon tax due to lobbying pressure.”

In a sign that bushfires and climate change could be a millstone for the Morrison government in the years ahead, just 15.9% of respondents labelled the government’s response as good, while 6.9% gave a rating of excellent. 

Middle aged and elderly Australians were far more likely to give the government positive ratings, with 20.8% of respondents aged between 45 and 54 and 19.4% aged between 55 and 64 agreeing that the response has been good or very good. Almost half (44.8%) of Australians over 65 were satisfied with the government’s response.

“It’s summertime in Australia. There are always fires, but this year they are some of the worst,” commented a male in the over 65 age bracket.



The government’s response to the bushfire crisis may be a key factor at the next federal election, with many Australians wanting to vote for the party that will address climate change most directly. 

Just over a third of respondents polled (39.2%) said they would vote for a different party based on the issue of climate change, while 36.5% said the issue wouldn’t affect them at the ballot box. 

The majority of young Australians aged 18-24 (62.1%) said it would impact their vote, compared to more than 57.3% of Australians over 65 years who said that it would not affect their vote.

Just under a quarter of Australians (24.3%) are still unsure whether it will influence their decision, suggesting that many believe addressing climate change is the responsibility of the individual rather than the government.



It may not come as a surprise following the severity of recent events that the majority of respondents (63%) believe there is a link between worsening bushfires and climate change.

The survey suggests men are slightly harder to persuade, with 59.2% believing there is a link, compared to 65.2% of women. 

Over a third (37%) of respondents said they do not believe that there is a link between climate change and bushfire severity. 

The number of Australians who felt there is a link between climate change and the increasing frequency and severity of bushfires decreased steadily across the age groups. There were 93.1% of young Australians between 18 and 24, 73.2% of those between 25 and 34, 66.5% between 35 and 44, 65.3% 45 and 54 and 60.7% between 55 and 65 said yes there is a link. 

Australians over the age of 65 were split 50/50 on whether there is a link between bushfire severity and climate change. 

Middle-aged and older Australians were considerably more likely to cite arson, a lack of backburning and the influence of the Greens party as influences around the recent bushfires. 

“There are many reasons for the bushfires, such as failure to manage and control fuel in forests, with some fires caused by arson and lightning. It is far too simplistic to blame the recent situation on C0², which is a gas in very low concentrations,” said a male respondent in the 55- 64 age bracket.



The majority of Australians concur with the statement that climate change is a more pressing issue to address in the wake of the recent bushfires. In total 59.5% said they either agreed (23.7%) or strongly agreed (35.8%). 

Younger Australians overwhelmingly agree, with 89.7% of those between 18 and 24, and 65.5% between 25 and 34 believing it is a pressing matter. Over half of respondents (58.2%) between 55 and 64 and 49.1% of those over the age of 65 felt the same. In every age demographic surveyed, those who strongly agreed formed the largest cohort. 

However, almost a quarter (22%) of respondents don’t feel that climate change is a pressing issue despite the severe summer bushfires. This group was largely made up of older Australians, with 34.9% of over 65-year-olds saying they disagree.  

When asked to nominate the single most effective way Australians can address climate change, over a third (38.5%) of respondents believe it’s down to the individual to reduce their carbon footprint. Another 36.8% said they would vote for the political party that has the most dedicated climate change policies – with 52% of Australians between 18 and 24 saying this. 

Only 5.7% feel that protests (2.2%) and lobbying local MPs (3.5%) are the most effective ways to address climate change. The number of Australians who felt these methods were most effective were overwhelmingly under 25.

Just shy of a fifth (19%) of respondents said they don’t believe climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed at all.



The state of the environment is fast becoming the single most pressing concern for Australians and many are acting accordingly. Following the Australian 2019/20 summer bushfires, 39% of respondents said they were changing habits to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Of this 39%, the majority said they are doing so by reducing their water usage (87.2%), purchasing environmentally friendly products (81.5%) and using reusable coffee, storage or water containers (64.9%). 

Nearly half of these respondents (49.6%) are choosing to reduce their time behind the wheel, while 19.8% are switching to sustainable energy.

The survey revealed that females are more likely to be reducing their carbon footprint, with 40.6% of women saying they are doing so, compared to just 27.8% of men.



Many Australians – from the ultra famous to the everyday – have shown support to those affected by the bushfires. This has been reflected in the survey results, with the majority of respondents (64.5%) saying they made a donation to a bushfire charity.

Of that cohort, over half (54%) had donated at least $50, while just over one quarter (26.3%) had donated between $50 and $100. 

There were 10.9% who said they donated between $100 and $250, while 7.2% donated between $250 and $500. 

The 1.5% who donated $500 or more were more likely to be male, with 2.9% of men and 0.9% of women in this cohort.



There is widespread unhappiness with the Morrison government’s handling of the bushfire crisis with 54.5% of people surveyed rating the government’s efforts as being either poor (18.2%) or very poor (36.3%).

Recent events have affected people’s view of climate change. Some 63% of respondents said they believe there is a link between climate change and this summer’s severe bushfires.

Men are more likely to be sceptical about climate change than women, while younger Australians are by far the most concerned about climate change.

Nearly two thirds of surveyed Australians (64.5%) made financial donations to bushfire related charities during the course of summer.


This EKAS bushfires and climate change survey polled 1109 people of whom 417 were male and 692 were female

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Ekas Research
Ekas Research jaxon@ekas.com.au