SYDNEY: Australians support the country’s involvement in the fight against the Islamic State group (IS) in Iraq, despite fears it raises the risk of terror acts against them, a poll revealed Tuesday.
The 2015 Lowy Institute Poll found that 69 percent of Australians were in favor of the current involvement in air strikes against the jihadists and providing support for Iraqi security forces.
At the same time, 55 percent said they believed Australia’s involvement in Iraq increased the risk of terrorism at home now and 47 percent said it increased the risk “in the future”. Only 20 percent felt it made Australia safer from terror in the future.
“Australians’ concerns about security and terrorism appear to be driving a broad acceptance of our involvement in military action against Islamic State in Iraq,” Lowy executive director Michael Fullilove said.
“That support is remarkable considering that so few think this military action makes Australia safer from terrorism in the future.”
The results, which come after a siege by an extremist in Sydney’s Martin Place last December in which two hostages died, showed that fewer Australians feel safe now than in any previous Lowy poll.
Fewer than one in four Australians (24 percent) said they feel very safe when considering world events — the lowest level in Lowy’s 11-year polling history. The figure compares with 42 percent in 2010.
The emergence of IS in Iraq and Syria was ranked the highest threat of eight potential risks over the next decade (with 69 percent ranking it high).
Terrorist attacks on Australians overseas were considered a high risk by 55 percent, with 53 percent thinking the same of homegrown terrorism in Australia.
The poll also found that fears of a military threat from China have fallen, with 39 percent now thinking it “likely” that China will become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years, compared to 48 percent in 2014.
Lowy polled a nationally representative sample of 1,200 Australians between 20 February and 8 March, with supplementary interviews conducted between 13 February and 24 May.