Pre-Election Polling: Australians of all ages see early learning as a priority for children and our future prosperity

More than 8 out of 10 voters see early learning as important for child development and for Australia’s future prosperity, according to a Galaxy poll commissioned by Early Learning Everyone Benefits - a new coalition of early childhood organisations, researchers and parents.

“The message to the major parties is clear - voters of all ages value investment in early learning, for the benefit of both the children and the nation,” said campaign spokesperson, Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia.

“It’s very encouraging that 85 percent of people surveyed agree or strongly agree that  ensuring all children can participate in quality early learning is important for Australia's future prosperity,” said Ms Page, “That agreement is consistently high whether they are Coalition, Labor or Green voters (88-89%), and surprisingly is highest for young men aged 18 to 24 (90%).”

The results show that voters of all ages, male and female, can see the benefits of early learning both in its impact in improving child development, and in wider social and economic well being.

“It seems that early learning provision resonates as an issue beyond the women’s vote, and that Australians would welcome a more sophisticated policy position from all parties, and acknowledgment that making quality early learning affordable for all families, is also an investment in future human capital and productivity,” said Ms Page.

“It’s worth noting that this is a high priority issue for families – and that for voters aged 18-34 with children, 43 percent said that they would be most likely to vote for a candidate who supports affordable child care and early learning. Only a 4 percent swing is needed to change the government.

“These results can give courage to the parties to present strong commitments on early childhood education and care in their election campaigns, and act to ensure more children attend quality early learning, for long enough to amplify their development,” said Ms Page.

We have serious problems that need decisive action:

  • Australia is in the bottom third of countries ranked by the OECD (27 out of 39 countries) for the participation of three year olds - well behind the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan and Denmark. [1]
  • 1 in 3 children don’t attend the amount of early childhood education to make a difference in outcomes [2]
  • 1 in 5 children are developmentally vulnerable when they start school [3] and
  • 2 in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are developmentally vulnerable[3] 

“We call on all political parties to reflect the strong awareness in the community that investing in quality early learning will create a quality future for all Australians,” concluded Ms Page.

Download the full Galaxy poll here.

Media Inquiries for full report: Carolin Wenzel, Campaign & Media Manager 0475 554 999

[1] OECD Education at a glance Nov 2015

[1] Quality Early Education for All,  Mitchell Institute 2016

[1] Australian Early Development Census 2015

Early Learning: Everyone Benefits is a campaign leading Australians to value the benefits of quality early learning for all children under 5, and for Australia’s future prosperity.  The campaign seeks political commitment to increase access to quality programs that amplify children’s development and is supported by:

Early Childhood Australia; Early Learning Association Australia; Family Day Care Australia; Goodstart Early Learning; Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange (REAIE);UnitingCare Australia; Australian Community Children’s Services (ACCS); Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People (ARACY);The Benevolent Society; The Centre for Community Child Health at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; C&K; KU Children’s Services, Early Childhood Management Services and The Parenthood.