Strong public support for the Safeguard Mechanism as Parliament vote looms  


National research commissioned by the Carbon Market Institute (CMI) has revealed widespread public support across the political spectrum for progress on industrial sector emissions reduction and the Safeguard Mechanism legislation. The Essential Research results were released as CMI Chair Kerry Schott AO addressed the National Press Club. 

In what will be a pivotal fortnight in determining if legislation will be passed in time for the Safeguard Mechanism to come into effect on July 1, the survey of over 1000 Australians revealed that over half of Australians (55%) support the intent of the reform, with just 16% opposing. Greens voters were the most strongly in support, with more than two thirds (69%) supportive, and just 10% opposing. ALP voters were similarly supportive (64%), also with 10% opposing. Meanwhile, despite Coalition opposition to the policy, half (50%) of Coalition voters were supportive, with 22% opposing. 

There was even stronger support for the basic principle behind the legislation “that companies should be taking responsibility for their own carbon or greenhouse gas emissions (via direct reductions and/or investing in carbon reduction projects where direct reductions aren’t immediately possible). Almost three quarters (72%) agreed with this proposition and just 9% disagreed. 79% of ALP voters, 76% of Greens voters and 69% of Coalition voters agreed. 

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, CMI Chair Kerry Schott AO urged parliament to seize the moment and focused not on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) disappointments of 2009, but rather the work of ALP, Greens and Independents in 2011: 

“The question is whether Parliament will draw on the remarkable collaboration of 2011, when we saw the passing of the carbon pricing mechanism, the birth of institutions and policies like ARENA, the CEFC, as well as Carbon Farming legislation and Offset Integrity Standards. The alternative, over a decade later, is another episode of division and delay that has been previously the hallmark of Australian climate policy.” 

The research findings also revealed insights into the principles behind the Safeguard Mechanism, including which industries, if any, should get special treatment, and the level of support for an international climate summit in Australia.  

Key survey findings: 

  • 55% of respondents wanted the Safeguard Mechanism legislation to pass, with 29% on the fence and 16% opposing*.  
    • ALP voters: 31% strongly support, 34% somewhat support  
    • Coalition voters: 14% strongly support, 37% somewhat support 
    • Greens voters: 43% strongly support, 26% somewhat support
  • Almost three quarters of respondents (72%) agreed “that companies should be taking responsibility for their own carbon or greenhouse gas emissions”, while just 9% disagreed
    • ALP voters: 54% strongly agree, 24% agree 
    • Coalition voters: 37% strongly agree, 32% agree
    • Greens voters: 58% strongly agree, 18% agree 
  • While 38% of respondents didn’t support any special assistance for separate industries, coal mining (31%) and rail transport (30%) ranked highest in preference for assistance, followed by steel, aviation, and gas (28%), aluminium (24%) and cement (19%) 
  • 47% of respondents want to see Australia host an international climate summit, with 29% unsure and 24% opposing. 

About the Survey  

An Essential Research omnibus survey was conducted online from 15th to 20th March 2023 and is based on 1,126 respondents. 

Questions and responses are available in the attached PDF. Responses are given by categories including state, age, gender, voting preference and capital or non-capital. 

About the Carbon Market Institute  

The Carbon Market Institute (CMI) is a member-based institute accelerating the transition towards a negative emissions, nature positive world. It champions best practice in carbon markets and climate policy, and its over 150 members include primary producers, carbon project developers, Indigenous organisations, legal, technology and advisory services, insurers, banks, investors, corporate entities and emission intensive industries. The positions put forward constitute CMI’s independent view and do not purport to represent any CMI individual, member company, or industry sector.  

For further information, contact Thomas Hann on 0408 880 536 or 


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