Australians 'Comfortable' with Spying on Other Countries; Feels Democracy Serves Only a Few in Society

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By Reissa Su | June 5, 2014 4:12 PM EST

Australians are comfortable with spying on New Zealanders and others in neighbouring countries. According to a major new poll from the Lowy Instutute for International Affairs, most Australians approve of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's policy on asylum seekers but they have become increasingly concerned about the issue of global warming.

The results of the annual poll were released on June 4 and had once again confirmed New Zealand as the closest to Australia's people. Australians continue to have a positive sentiment towards the United States. Despite Australia's concerns regarding China's growing power and investments, Australians continue to grow fond of the country.

More than half of the survey respondents believe that the Australian government had allowed too many investments from China. Almost half of the respondents said that China may become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years.

Next to New Zealand, Australians felt most warmly towards Canada, Netherlands, France and the U.S., according to reports. At the bottom of the list were countries like Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.

The spying row between Australia and Indonesia has not affected Australians who viewed intelligence leaks as only "moderately important." Most respondents considered international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber terrorism and climate change as more important concerns.

Most Australians described their country's relationship with Indonesia as "friendly." However, the number of respondents who described the relationship with Indonesia as "worsening" increased to 40 per cent.

Mr Abbott is currently on 10-day foreign tour with Indonesia as his first stop. The prime minister has made it clear that he wants to mend ties with Indonesia and ignored revelations that Indonesian media were listening to a private phone conversation between Abbott and Yudhoyono.

Reports said Australians are more comfortable with spying than other countries. Majority believed spying on countries like East Timor, China, Indonesia, New Zealand and the U.S.

The poll revealed that Australians had "genuine misgivings about the workings of Australian politics." The survey asked respondents about their attitudes towards Australia's democracy. According to the response, people felt democracy was "not working" since they think there was "no real difference" between Australia's major parties. Poll respondents felt democracy does not serve majority of society. 

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