Poll shows spying accepted by Australians

Australians are growing more fearful of their international neighbours, a new poll has found.

The tenth annual Lowy Institute poll found 70 per cent of Australians think it acceptable for the federal government to spy on countries in our bad books.

Most of us think its ok to spy on friends and neighbours too, with 65 per cent of the 1000 people surveyed saying it's acceptable to spy on China.

In what may or may not be comforting news for Prime Minister Tony Abbott as he meets Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhiyono this week, 62 per cent of respondents thought it acceptable to spy on Indonesia.

"It appears Australians themselves are quite comfortable with their government spying on the governments of other countries - even when those countries are friends or allies", said Dr Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute.

It may be because 48 per cent of the adult Australian population believe China is likely to become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years, up seven points from the 2013 survey.

A majority (56 per cent) say the government allows too much investment from China.

Australians are also broadly supportive of the Abbott government's boarder protection policy, Operation Sovereign Boarders.

The Poll found 71 per cent of Australian adults agree the government should turn back boats when safe to do so.

However, the majority of Australians - 57 per cent - disagree with the former Rudd government policy that no asylum seeker coming to Australia by boat should be allowed to settle in Australia.

 

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