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Public attitudes to the environment- Report for the Department of the Environment by Spectrum International Marketing Services Pty Ltd.

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1975— Parliamentary Paper No. 236


An exploratory research and communications study Conducted by Spectrum International Marketing Services Pty. Ltd. for the Department of Environment

Presented by Command 20 August 1975 Ordered to be printed 23 October 1975




INTRODUCTION Background and objectives...................................................................................... 1

Research te c h n iq u e ................................................................................................ 2

SUMMARY AND MAJOR CONCLUSIONS Awareness of the environment................................................................................. 4

Definition of the environment................................................................................. 4

Awareness of the D epartm ent................................................................................. 5

Awareness and image of Dr Cass............................................................................ 5

Awareness of Federal legislation............................................................................ 5

Role and effectiveness of government, RAGs and industry ......................... 6

Concern for the environm ent................................................................................. 7

Satisfaction with the e n v iro n m e n t....................................................................... 7

Future improvement................................................................................................ 8

Major environmental p r o b le m s ............................................................................ 9

Public ignorance and lack of c o n fid e n c e ............................................................ 10

Image of the environment as a c a u s e ................................................................. 10

Environment responsibility...................................................................................... 11

Information so u rces................................................................................................ 12

Uni student’s a ttitu d e s .......................................................................................... 12

Relevance to politics................................................................................................ 12

Environmental p e rso n a litie s.......................................................................................13

Environmental O m budsm an/H otline................................................................. 13

The future of the Australian environm ent............................................................ 13

RECO M M EN D A TIO N S............................................................................................14

DISCUSSION OF RESULTS Definition of the Environment...................................................................................... 21

Awareness of the E n v iro n m e n t................................................................................. 21

In the neighbourhood................................................................................................ 22

In Sydney/Melbourne................................................................................................ 22

In Australia (compared to other countries)............................................................. 23

Information about the environm ent....................................................................... 23

Image of the Environment as an issue, and environmental activity..........................24 Public attitudes to the en v iro n m en t....................................................................... 24

School kids are in the v a n g u a r d ............................................................................ 25

Public apathy v. activity........................................................................................... 25

Types of a c t i v i t y ..................................................................................................... 26

Potential activists or ‘patio greenies’ .......................................................................27

Lack of confidence..................................................................................................... 27

Public expectation of the Environment of the f u t u r e ..............................................28

In the next ten y e a r s ................................................................................................29

Awareness of the Department of E n v iro n m e n t........................................................29

Spontaneous awareness and r e c o g n itio n ............................................................. 30

Sydney compared to M e lb o u rn e ............................................................................30

In general.................................................................................................................... 31

The D e p a r tm e n t..................................................................................................... 31

The Department’s name................................................................................................ 31

Dr Moss C a s s ............................................................ 31

A w a r e n e s s ......................................................................................................................... 31

R ecognition.................................................................................................................. 32

Im a g e ............................................................................................................................. 32

Public trust in Dr C a s s ................................................................................................... 33

Concern, effectiveness and responsibility in environmental matters............................ 33 Concern and e ffe c tiv e n e ss..............................................................................................33

Who is r e sp o n sib le ? ........................................................................................................ 34

Who should be responsible?..............................................................................................34

Who is responsible for current degradation o f the environment? . . . . 35 Who pays for the protected environm ent?.................................................................. 35

EIS legislation and the T A S ..............................................................................................36

A w a r e n e s s .................................................................................................................. 36

R ecognition.................................................................................................................. 37

Public attitudes to EIS and T A S ............................................................................ 37

Environmental problems and issu es............................................................................ 37

Awareness of current issues....................................................................................... 37

Barrier R e e f.................................................................................................................. 38

Sand mining o f Fraser Island, Q ueensland........................................................... 38

Factories with outlets into the Parramatta/Yarra R iv e r s ................................ 38

To get over traffic problems....................................................................................... 39

Population o f Sydney/Melbourne.................................................................................. 39

The most important is s u e s ............................................................................................. 40

Environmental activists........................................................................................................41

The image o f and public attitudes to environmental activists ......................41

How do you make an activist?....................................................................................... 41

Politicisation and environment g r o u p s ....................................................................... 41

Morale in the environment m o v e m e n t.......................................................................42

Attitudes o f environmental a c tiv ists............................................................................ 42

Attitude of environmentalists to the Federal Department o f Environment . 42

APPENDIXES Appendix I: An advertising campaign to increase environmental awareness Background and objectives.............................................................................................43

Initial research ............................................................................................................ 43

Summary o f initial research.......................................................................................43

The campaign strategy and creative b r i e f ........................................................... 44

The co n cep t..................................................................................................................44

Concept testing............................................................................................................ 45

Concept se le c tio n .......................................................................................................45

Appendix II. Discussion tapes.......................................................................................4X

Appendix III: Ad campaign sc r ip ts ............................................................................49



Spectrum was commissioned by the Department of Environment in February 1975, to carry out an exploratory research study to determine current public awareness of, and examine attitudes to, the environment. The research was designed as the first stage of a communications campaign which

would provide: 1. a comprehensive report of the qualitative and quantitative research study; and 2. a research-based and tested communications strategy and campaign designed to increase public awareness of the environment amongst Australians. The

campaign will also publicise the steps taken by the Department and the appropriate legislation enacted by the Australian Government to allow greater public participation in protection of the environment. The second stage of the project was designed to define the target audience for the campaign, to determine the correct motivating concept or concepts, to find the most

appropriate media and to test the concepts before they are committed to a full advertising campaign. It is also proposed that a post-campaign research study be carried out to determine the effectiveness of the initial campaign. The research study was also designed to provide the Department with overall

orientation to facilitate its future planning. The specific objectives of the research study were:

1. To study the feelings and attitudes of various segments of the general public to specific aspects of the environment. 2. To define clearly the primary and secondary target audiences for the campaign, not only in terms of straightforward demographics, but mainly in terms of their

feelings and attitudes. 3. To provide the advertising creative team with a clear interpretation of target feelings about the environment, from which they will develop possible communications concepts for testing.

4. To test a range of possible communications concepts with the prime target audience to make sure they are motivating, understandable and credible. 5. To make sure that the campaign strategy is appropriate, not only for the current financial year, but also for the future. 6. To decide which media are most appropriate for the campaign.

7. To design a second phase quantitative survey which will assess the effectiveness of the campaign after it has been running for a long enough period to influence public attitudes. Post-campaign attitudes will be measured and compared against a benchmark of attitudes taken prior to the campaign lunch. This

survey is a project separate from the current study and will be the subject of a later proposal to the Department by Spectrum. 8. To give the Department of Environment a clear, overall picture of current attitudes to the environment and to show how these attitudes fit into the total

perspective of life in Australia. The objectives of the environmental awareness communications campaign, produced as part of the research were: 1. To develop an awareness in the Australian community of environmental issues

and ways in which people may participate directly in such issues of immediate concern to themselves. 2. To stimulate community action and involvement by pointing to the techniques

and avenues which will enable each individual to contribute to environmental protection and decision making. 3. To inspire positive motivation by appealing to the individual’s sense of what is valuable, rather than condemning him for the environmental damage of the


4. To achieve the maximum possible impact on the public in the short term, probably through the mass media. (By short term we mean not only the remaining months of this financial year, but also at least the following full year, 1975-1976.) 5. To continue the public awareness program by capitalising on the initial wave of

interest and extending it to specific target publics within the general public.


The research study was conducted in two parts. The first was a series of 17 focus group discussions conducted in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Albury. The Spectrum project team in charge of the focus groups and interpretation of the findings comprised:

Wayne Young Lee Patterson Trevor Harrison Barbara Hurley Bruce Miller The second part of the study comprising a quantitative survey of public attitudes to the environment, using a sample of 800, was conducted in metropolitan Sydney and

Melbourne. The quantitative survey results are provided in a separate document. Each focus group comprised up to eight members of the particular target group or class being studied plus two or three moderators from the Spectrum project and observers from the Department.

Below is a list of the target publics studied: Sydney: 1. University students, male and female 2. Businessmen, generally middle class background 3. Unionists, rank and file, male

4. Teachers, primary, secondary, tertiary, male and female 5. Medial Creative, comprising male and female, mostly young people including journalists, copywriters, photographers, public relations 6. Conservationists and environmental activists; all were members of

established activist organisations, male and female 7. Businessmen in polluting industries, middle to upper class back­ ground who work at high and/or policy-making levels in industries which contribute in some way to pollution of the environment 8. Public servants, male representatives of State, Federal but mainly

local tiers of government mostly at Town Clerk, i.e. senior administrative, level 9. Women, middle class to upper class 10. Lower class people, male and female Melbourne: 1. Children, older, aged 11 to 16, from mixed backgrounds, lower to

upper middle class 2. Medial Creative male and female, mixed classes, including jour­ nalists, graphic artists, theatre manager, film maker and a play reader




3. Public servants, male, mixed backgrounds, representing principally Federal and State Government departments Children, male and female, 9-13. Women, mixed ages and backgrounds

Women, mixed background, representing a good cross-section of the women who live in a large rural city, aged 15 to 50 and covering all classes; they included housewives, a dentist, a hairdresser, a secondary schoolgirl, a pharmacist’s wife, the owner of a dress shop, a farmer and two women councillors

Males, again a cross-section of the male population, including a dairy farmer, teacher, policemen, schoolboy, an army major, a chemist, sales manager and two beef farmers Spectrum reran two focus group discussions to replace a public servant group in Melbourne and a women’s group in Brisbane which did not fulfil the recruitment standards. This provided a total of 17 focus group discussions held in the two main centres of population, Sydney and Melbourne, plus Brisbane and one main rural centre, Albury.

A guide to the tape recordings of the group discussions conducted during the survey can be found in Appendix II of this report.

1 .

2. 1 .




Awareness of the environment

1. Awareness of the environment amongst Australians is low. Most Australians live in an increasingly pollution-threatened environment but have an extremely blinkered perception and awareness of the deterioration of the circumstances and surroundings in which they live. This limited vision is common to all sections of Australian society.

2. Environmental awareness and concern is clearly higher and more deep-seated amongst children than in perhaps any other target public except environmental activists.

3. Three out of four children aged 9-18 have discussed environmental issues or questioned their parents about the subject. Children from occupationally upper class homes tend to be more aware than those from lower categories. Environmental awareness of children under eight is still relatively high for that young age. One in three children in the under-8 age group have raised environmental questions at home. Children in these age groups have clearly been sensitised by educational and, to a lesser extent, parental influences, and in many cases they influence and motivate their parents in turn, making them more environmentally aware.

4. It is probable, however, that their sensitivity is more learnt, or even aped, than based on any real understanding of the environment.

5. There appears to be increasing awareness of the environment amongst rank and file unionists. The environmental concern and commitment of unionists, however, is very much tempered by a concern for employment prospects—they feel they cannot push employers (mining companies for example) too far on an environmental issue without endangering their own or the jobs of fellow unionists.

Members of the more militant sections of the union movement have been at the forefront of several environmental confrontations recently, and there is an impression that more moderate unionists are increasingly aware of and concerned about the state of the environment and its future. More importantly they appear prepared to do something about it, at least as individuals.

6. Awareness of the environment amongst public servants is not especially high. Public servants in all levels of government, even those concerned with the environment in their jobs, for example local council officers, are unaware of Federal Government legislation. For them it’s just another job. 7. There is no indication that men are generally more environmentally aware than

women, or vice versa. However, it would appear that more Sydney people are aware of the environment, particularly their immediate environment, than Melbourne people. People in Sydney are less satisfied with their local and city environments than are those in Melbourne, and in the past have been more likely to act, or want to act, to do something about those environments.

Definition of the environment

8. The word ‘environment’ has positive rather than negative associations for most people.

9. There is considerable confusion in the community as to what exactly the environment is. Definitions vary between anything pertaining to somebody's


personal surroundings, i.e. the physical circumstances in which they live, to an idealised bushland setting dotted with trees and criss-crossed by babbling brooks.

10. Most Australians associate the word environment with trees and other ‘country’ images. The concept of the environment is not identified with cities or urban environments, where the bulk of Australians happen to live. Urban- dwelling Australians do not spontaneously or commonly use the word environment to describe the surroundings in which they live.

11. The environment is not rated highly as an issue of social concern or interest with most people. Rather, people are more concerned about the state of the economy, their personal finances, the government, their jobs, employment prospects, children and the future of democracy and Western society.

Awareness of the Department

12. Awareness of the Department of Environment is very low. Only one in ten people interviewed have heard of the Federal Department of the Environment and Conservation (as it was then known). People over 50 tended to be more aware of the Department than other age groups.

13. Few people can distinguish between, or be certain of the existence of, Federal as opposed to State environment departments. Most people just hazard a guess that there is such a thing because it sounds as if one ought to exist. Awareness of the existence of State Departments of the Environment is virtually non-existent.

Awareness and image of Dr Cass

14. Awareness of the Minister, Dr Cass, is fractionally greater than awareness of his Department. One in eight respondents interviewed could correctly identify him and his portfolio. There is considerable confusion between Dr Cass and Tom Uren of DURD, their respective departments and the roles and

responsibilities of those departments. 15. Those who do know of Dr Cass feel he is a very highly principled Minister who has been regrettably ineffectual in grappling with the enormity of the portlolio

and the job of improving and protecting the Australian environment. This negative attitude does not appear to reflect on Dr Cass personally. He is seen generally as an approachable, somewhat eccentric (by virtue of his beard and his interest in, and association with, causes like mud houses, steam cars etc.) sort of man who is sincere about his job, but hamstrung by public apathy, Cabinet rivalry and the opposition of big business and the States.

16. Dr Cass appears to have good credibility with the majority of Australians who are aware of him. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents who are aware of Dr Cass thought he would reply personally to a written inquiry about an environmental matter, while 55 per cent, who were not aware of Dr Cass personally, thought he

would still reply. Of the ‘aware’ group, environmental activists were the most sceptical about getting a direct reply from the Minister.

Awareness of Federal legislation

17. There is very low awareness of specific Federal legislation to control and protect the environment, although a few people mentioned the off-shore drilling legislation and Clean Waters Act. 18. The only respondents who are even faintly aware of the EIS legislation and the


Technical Assistance Scheme are one or two well-informed businessmen, some environmental activists and a few public servants. Awareness of E1S and TAS was around 12 per cent for both, with awareness of EIS slightly higher in Sydney.

Role and effectiveness of government, RAGs and industry

19. Because of the size of the environmental problem, people feel that the Federal Government should take ultimate responsibility for protection of the environment. 20. The environment is one of the few areas where people do not seem to object to

an expanded government role, expenditure and control.

21. There is widespread interest in what the government is doing, or has done, to protect the environment, but this interest is offset by fairly widespread cynicism about government promises to protect the natural and human environment. Many people consider the environment issues as just another soapbox to be hauled out at election time and used for tub thumping and vote catching.

22. At the moment, people identify local councils as the governmental agency most logically concerned with protection and control of the environment, then the Federal Department of Environment, and lastly the relevant State Department.

23. People see little difference between the three tiers of government in their concern for the environment. Sixty-two per cent said local governments are either very or quite concerned, compared to 61 per cent for State and 57 per cent for Federal government. They hold a different view, however, of each tier's effectiveness (see 25). 24. People rated Resident Action Groups as being the most concerned about the

environment (72 per cent) and industry as exhibiting the least concern about the state of the environment (21 per cent).

25. Of the three tiers of government, local councils are seen as being the most effective in dealing with the environment. Forty-five per cent of all respondents believe local councils are very to quite effective in dealing with the environment. The State Governments are seen as the next most effective (37 per cent) and the Federal Government as the least effective tier, with only 31 per cent of respondents rating them as very to quite effective.

26. Focal councils were thought to be about as effective on environmental issues as Resident Action Groups, who rated forty-four per cent.

27. Industry is seen as the least effective body of all in dealing with environmental issues. Only 15 per cent of those interviewed thought industry was very to quite effective in this area. This impression is borne out extensively in the qualitative research which shows that people believe that industry will not act in a socially responsible way about the environment until they are forced by pressure of public opinion or from government.

Industry is seen as being motivated solely by economic self-interest and the desire for profit.

28. People are generally aware of the duplicate and sometimes clashing interests of local State and Federal environmental protection agencies once the connection and constitutional situation is explained to them. It is a theme they have heard many times before—the obstructive interrelationship of the three-tiered government system and how the Federal tier has no constitutional power to take the action people expect it to.

29. People increasingly feel the Federal Government should involve itself more in


the control, protection and restoration of the environment. They see it is necessary, inevitable and in many cases overdue. Country people are the most cynical about the Federal Government’s promises and motivations—possibly a function of their pronounced individualist stance and distrust of all authority,

especially that administered by a Labor government. For urban Australians, however, the environment is largely an apolitical issue.

Concern for the environment

30. There is a fairly high degree of public concern for the state of the environment, once the issue is raised. Forty per cent of respondents said they had wanted at some time or other to do or say something about an environmental problem. Even so, only 12 per cent or one in eight, had ever been active, or involved in some way, with a conservation or environment group. Concern only spills over

into activity when some issue strikes an emotional chord with people. It is usually local issues which strike such chords.

31. In a general comparative sense, people feel that Australia is much better off environmentally than most other industrialised countries.

32. Most people, top of mind, are concerned only with the environment in their own ‘backyard’. Their attitude is extremely parochial. They are far more likely to be concerned about tree lopping or traffic problems in their own street than an oil slick on the Barrier Reef or air pollution on the other side of the same city. The former are seen as personal irritations rather than environmental


33. Consequently, school kids are motivated to complain if they have only asphalt playgrounds and not enough trees in their school-yard. Residents will complain if a creek which runs at the back of their property becomes polluted and smells; local residents are concerned if local bushland or parkland is rezoned for unit or other residential/commercial development; workers are concerned if rivers or

streams where they take their kids fishing become so polluted that they no longer support fish life, and thus deny them that pleasure.

34. Even so, when pressed for an answer, there is a general belief amongst Australians that their own immediate environments are OK—neither terrible nor excellent. This is especially true of upper occupational and social groups. They are more satisfied with their immediate surroundings than they are with

the environment of their cities as a whole. This is possibly a cop-out—not wanting to face the vaguely perceived realities of national and global environmental problems. By adopting this attitude they abdicate responsibility for the major problems on the grounds that they don’t directly affect them, and

because the problems are too big anyway. 35. As people become older, they become less concerned about the quality of their environment and of pollution threats. They are less inclined to join organisations and see their own environment in a better light than younger

groups. The most dissatisfied group is the 19-30-year-olds.

Satisfaction with the environment

36. In terms of environmental satisfaction, most Australians rate themselves as being fairly OK. Using the hill of content model, with a rating scale of 1 (environmentally terrible) to 10 (environmentally excellent), people most frequently placed themselves around the middle of the scale in terms of their

contentment with the neighbourhood environment.


37. A quick synopsis of trends in environmental satisfaction shows: - overall, people tend to be more satisfied than dissatisfied with their neighbourhood environment - that Melbourne people are slightly more content than Sydney people with

their environment - that people over 30 tend to be the most happy with their environment, while the 19— 30s are the least satisfied - that men are slightly more satisfied than women

the lower the occupational class, the lower the level of satisfaction with the environment. As was shown in the qualitative work, the blue collar groups, who live and work in environmentally damaged areas, are also most likely to be in some way environmentally sensitised.

38. People are far less satisfied with the overall state of their city environments than they are with environments of their immediate neighbourhood. This was true for both Sydney and Melbourne people. As in the qualitative work, there is a feeling of ‘we do have problems, but they don’t immediately affect us’.

39. It is noteworthy that no one occupational group had a worse or better level of satisfaction than any other—they all saw their city environments as equally poor.

40. Once again, the 19— 30 age group was the least satisfied, this time with their respective city environments.

41. Australians believe that Australia is still quite well off environmentally compared to other countries. This conclusion is true regardless of people’s age, sex or occupational class. People believe that the inhabitants of Los Angeles and Tokyo, for instance, are in far worse shape than they are in Melbourne or Sydney.

42. People in the lowest occupational group, who, on a comparative basis, regard their own environment as being not terribly satisfactory, also have a high opinion of the Australian environment generally.

43. The out-of-sight, out-of-mind label is probably most applicable to this group of people, their concern and knowledge being largely limited to their own backyards. And their backyards are likely to be worse off than those of other groups in society.

44. Half the respondents interviewed felt that Australia was worse off environmentally than it was five years ago. This feeling was strongest amongst Sydney people, amongst the middle occupation groups and people aged under thirty.

45. The people who felt Australia was worse off also tended to be those most aware of the Department of Environment and the environment generally. Those who thought Australia was worse off over the five-year period also tended to be the most environmentally active.

Future improvement

46. One in tw o people expect A ustralia’s environm ent to deteriorate even further over the next ten years. Sydney people, those in middle occupational groups, younger people, and the m ore environm entally aware, again tended to be the more pessimistic about our future environm ental prospects.


Major environmental problems

47. The types of pollution and environmental problems which most concern Australians are: - pollution of rivers and beaches - industrial waste and effluent - sewage outlets - litter

- nuclear explosions - world population - smog - garbage disposal Kangaroo and wildlife protection, world energy consumption, lack of trees, and packaging (especially plastic varieties) and uranium mining are issues which rate below

those listed above.

48. The issues which people see as particularly affecting Australia generally reflect the order of issues that concern them (see 47). However, smog and kangaroo and wildlife protection ranked higher on their adverse effect on Australia than on their rating of issues of overall concern.

The reverse is true for world population which is ranked second lowest on the list of issues affecting Australia.

49. Australians are extremely susceptible (regardless of their lack of precise knowledge) to appeals to their national pride in things which are uniquely Australian and part of their heritage. Here again, the response is emotional rather than rational or intellectual.

50. Sixty per cent of respondents would not allow any mining on the Great Barrier Reef, if they had their way, and a further 32 per cent would restrict mining to certain areas. Less than one in ten would allow mining on the reef.

51. Of several issues presented to respondents, that which generated the most concern and elicited the hardest line was the emission of factory waste into the Parramatta River in Sydney and the Yarra River in Melbourne. Sixty-four per cent of those interviewed would like to see factories prevented from emitting

any waste into these rivers. Another 34 per cent recommended controlled emission. Those who took the hardest line on this issue were people from lower occupational groups. 52. On the specific question of sand mining on Fraser Island, the majority of

support is for mining wherever there are minerals, provided there is adequate sandhill restoration. Fifty-four per cent of people recommended this approach, to 34 per cent who contested that the whole island should be preserved in its natural state.

53. On environmental problems with universal application in Australia, and particularly on the issue of car exhaust emission and freeway pollution, Australians do have an uncommonly clear outlook and preference as far as a solution is concerned.

There is strong majority support amongst Australians for greater expendi­ ture on improving the public transport system (58 per cent). This view gained considerably greater support than that for more and better freeways (19 per cent) or controls on exhaust emission from cars (18 per cent).

54. Australians are definitely not in favour of any increase in the rate of growth of the population.


In Sydney, the majority of people feel that the population of the city should be decreased through decentralisation. In Melbourne, majority support was evenly split between active decrease through decentralisation and stabilising the population at current levels.

Public ignorance and lack of confidence

55. There is a pervasive lack of confidence on the part of the average Australian in his or her ability to do anything to control or protect the environment, even though they clearly see that the environment belongs to everyone. There is a - feeling that Australians live in the shadow of the power and influence of

governments and big business. Most of them are vaguely to fairly well aware that industry and the unchecked growth of cities are responsible for the larger part of the environmental damage Australia has sustained to date.

56. Many Australians have wanted to make a protest about an environmental issue, but do not do so because they felt their protest would have had no effect. One in three of those who would have liked to have done something about an environmental problem/issue said they did not for this precise reason.

A further one in five said they did nothing because they were simply too apathetic, but, more significantly, two in five said they did nothing because they did not know what to do, i.e. they were not aware of precedents, legislation or avenues open to them to register a protest and achieve some practical effect.

57. Generally, the younger under-20s feel more powerless in terms of their individual or collective protest having any appreciable affect on a situation about which they are concerned.

58. The 40 per cent of respondents in the quantitative survey who had at some time been concerned about an environmental issue, but had not acted, did not seem over-concerned about being thought a ‘stirrer’ on environmental issues. But there is a far more convincing feeling, which emerged in the qualitative research, which suggests that Australians are, in fact, still extremely reluctant to join environmental or any other sort of protest or activist groups for fear of being thought a troublemaker, unconventional, ‘ratbag’ or just queer.

Only 2 per cent of this 40 per cent said this fear was the reason they did nothing about an environmental problem which concerned them. But this seemingly insignificant figure is probably artificially low because people are unlikely to admit a degree of cowardice on an issue like this to an interviewer they have just met.

Image of the environment as a cause

59. Although a great many Australians probably still view environmental activists with suspicion and look at them askance, there is a feeling that, as the environmental cause becomes more openly discussed and accepted in society as a just cause, so are the people who are actively working to protect and improve the environment. Australians do not generally like people who are too out of the ordinary or non-conformist and, up until recently, environmental activists have been almost universally seen as quaint, weird, idiots, ratbags or whingers.

60. This prevalent attitude is a reflection of a basic lack of self-confidence Australians suffer in the political sense. Public demonstrations of concern over anything political, social or otherwise are not things which are basic to the Australian character. While there is widespread and probably genuine and growing concern felt for the state of the environment, there is still a significant and widespread fear of being seen as silly or radical by utilising the tools and


avenues of protest and pressure open to average citizens. And there is still extensive ignorance of the measures now available to the public.

61. As an extension of the foregoing, Australians, likewise, are not great joiners of organisations, and the conservation movement has suffered greatly from this reluctance to become involved in causes like environmental protection. Only 12 per cent of people interviewed said they belong, or have belonged, to an environmental, conservation or Resident Action Group.

Sydney people tend to have slightly higher incidence of membership of activist groups than Melbourne people and the membership of groups tends generally to be more male than female.

Activists tend to be young, and belong to middle income groups, and to be the most pessimistic about the future of Australia's environment.

62. The four in ten who at some time have been concerned about some

environmental issue but haven’t acted were slightly more likely to be from Sydney than Melbourne. This again suggests that the potential for en­ vironmental activity is stronger in Sydney than in Melbourne, probably a reflection of the relative state of the environments in each city.

63. Those least likely to belong to activist groups concerned with the environment are people in the lowest occupation groups, people over 50 and female.

64. People who are, or who have been, members of such groups tend to have become involved through an interest in one particular issue, like the Clutha affair or, more importantly, environmental threat to their immediate neighbourhood. In fact, three in four current or previous activists became just

that because of some local issue. International environmental issues are the least likely to attract people to activist groups. National and State problems rate as the next most likely sort of issues to motivate people to join a group. Melbourne people are more concerned about State-wide issues than are Sydney people.

Environment responsibility

65. Australians see the principal villains of the environmental front as heavy industry (e.g. Shell at Silverwater in Sydney and the Newport Power Station on Port Philip Bay in Melbourne), and industrial concerns which pollute the air and water and contribute to noise pollution. Mining concerns are also seen as

villains but in a slightly more detached sense.

66. Australians in general do not identify themselves as polluters. There is currently the vaguest understanding amongst ordinary Australians that there is a connection between their lifestyle, social priorities (brick house, three kids, two cars, power boat etc.) and the present pollution levels and

overall state of the environment. There is possibly a considerable element of psychic denial of problems which deep down threaten some marginally aware people a great deal. It is simply too difficult for a man who is conditioned to believe he is successful if he has two cars to face the fact that he and thousands like him are steadily ruining the quality of life by the contribution they make to air pollution. 67. Australians do not, and cannot, associate the local, city or national pollution

problems they may perceive as being part of a global ecology crisis. They do not yet see the need for a reassessment of our socio-economic priorities as the first step in saving and restoring the environment. Predictably, those who do think along these global lines are university


students, some businessmen, teachers and unionists, and, of course, en­ vironmental activists.

68. Most Australians seem to agree that, if an industry, factory or individual damages the environment, they or he must pay to have it restored. While they express the view that the Federal Government must take overall responsibility for safeguarding the national environment, there is strong support for what is known as the ‘polluter pays principle’.

Information sources

69. The principal source of information about the environment appears, at present, to be the media. People are well aware of issues which are publicised on radio. TV or in the press, showing battles between protectionists and developers, green bans and Clutha-type affairs.

70. Education appears to be the next most important input, via schools, special lectures, school projects, the influence of environmentally sensitised children on their parents and other children.

71. Teachers are clearly playing a crucial role in sensitising the upcoming generations to be environmentally aware, concerned and active. The future generations will almost certainly be much more environmentally aware than present generations and, more importantly, they will be better equipped intellectually, politically and technically to bring a more positive influence to bear in order to protect and improve the environment and the quality of life generally.

Uni students’ attitudes

72. University students currently attending university, and those who have recently passed through Australian universities, have all been increasingly exposed to environmental information. University students have adopted the environment as an issue by default because there is no longer a Vietnam war or a conservative government to campaign against. But their concern and energy is not as disciplined as it could be; nor is it exploited or channelled in all the right directions.

73. Those uni students who do care about the environment are not terribly optimistic about the chances of success in the coming battles to save the environment. They are cynical (or just realistic) about the record of government as an institution and that of industry in grappling effectively with pollution and they do not appear to have much faith in statements by either group about a commitment to ecology. They believe that the Western nations over the past two decades have committed themselves to growth policies at any cost, environmental or otherwise. Until what they see as a growth phobia can be overcome or rationalised, they are not confident about the chances of anything worthwhile being done.

Relevance to politics

74. There is a feeling of long-term optimism amongst some environmental activists, but a short-term frustration that the process of acceptance and radicalisation, a product of Australian conservatism, apathy and ignorance, is making their job so much harder.

The principal complaints of activists seem to be against State Governments and the media. State Governments and environmental agencies operated by


State Governments enjoy a rather soiled reputation amongst activists and there are frequent allegations of a State Government/big business nexus which obstructs the Federal Government and makes it difficult for groups to obtain adequate information at the right time, and which blocks any attempt to


75. It appears to be the opinion of Australians that the present Federal

Government has been most associated with moves to protect the environment. They are seen as the one body which has made the running more than any other.

76. Labor voters tend to be more aware of Dr Cass than non-Labor voters, but both L-CP and Labor voters were equally ignorant of legislation, the Department and the environment.

Environmental personalities

77. There is no one personality widely recognised and associated with the environment movement and environmental protection. There is considerable awareness of the BLF Green Bans in NSW, and many people readily recall the role played by Jack Mundey in the implementation of the bans.

Environmental Ombudsman/Hotline

78. The proposed Environmental Ombudsman/Hotline concepts at present under consideration by the Department were both well received. Despite some initial cynicism about the likelihood of inquirers receiving ‘the usual bureaucratic runaround’, respondents seemed genuinely impressed that the Government had

taken an interest in finding a way to increase the flow of information about the environment and legislation to protect it and, through the EIS, in giving people a say in the maintenance of the environment in which they live.

The future of the Australian environment

79. Most Australians believe that protection of the environment is an area worthy of the extensive investment of Federal funds. There is some doubt that we can actually afford a clean and vastly improved environment, in that people are confused and largely ignorant of what is

involved in cleaning up the environment. But people generally believe it is a fair thing for the Federal Government to spend taxpayers’ money, for instance saving Lake Pedder at a cost of $50m, provided it was proved to public satisfaction that the area is ecologically irreplaceable. 80. With the evolution of new generation of Australians, sensitised and better

informed about the environment, and with the latent concern revealed by the present study in other sections of society, there is considerable potential for raising awareness of the environment generally among Australians.



1. The exploratory communications campaign launched in May 1975 should be tested for effectiveness in June 1975 at the latest. The campaign test should be conducted in Sydney and Melbourne along the same quantitative survey lines as the March survey.

2. The campaign should be modified according to the results of the campaign effectiveness test, including consideration of the suitability of the chosen medium. The tested campaign should be scheduled nationally and be relaunched without delay so as to minimise the loss of impact caused by the break.

3. The Department should give immediate consideration to the formation o f a communications cell, comprising departmental representatives and external communications experts. The cell would oversee the Department’s entire communications effort, providing creative and strategy inputs for all public relations, advertising, printed publications, audio-visual and grass-roots organisational work.

We believe the enormity and complexity of the task of revising public awareness of the environment, in the light of the findings of this exploratory study, demands the best, most experienced and objective communications advice and supervision. The communications cell is a flexible and proved way of applying the right talent where it can do the most good at the right time.

Communication is the key to solving the major problems and achieving the long-term goals the Department should be setting for itself. Communication is therefore the priority.

4. Prior to the national campaign launch, and with or without the formation of a departmental communications cell, a major public relations program should be mounted as quickly as possible to prepare the ground for the final campaign. The effectiveness of the national campaign will be greatly enhanced if the public is forewarned and sensitised to the issues and message embodied in the campaign itself. We suggest that a PR campaign of these dimensions could be more effectively and efficiently organised with the advice and involvement of external PR counsel. We strongly urge the Department to take this step. Alternatively, co-ordination of the PR campaign could become the first task of

the Environment communications cell.

5. As the first priority of the communications cell, or else independently of it, the department should draw up a master plan of its campaign to increase awareness of the environment amongst Australians. The plan should, in essence, be a marketing plan, the market being Australian public opinion and the product, environmental awareness. Utilising this research document, the marketing plan should be designed with 12- monthly objectives in mind scaled to a set of five-year goals. The plan should identify all of those groups within the market with whom the Department wants to communicate, in order of priority, ft should detail how the overall objectives of the Department’s communications effort can be achieved with the greatest economy, flexibility and efficiency.

6. The Department should immediately undertake specific attitude research studies amongst both unionists and primary/secondary stage school children. These groups, once sensitised, are probably the two which will have the greatest and most immediate long-term consciousness-raising effect on society.


(i) - Unionists Environmental concern is growing amongst rank and file unionists, especially on an individual, unorganised basis. Unionists tend to belong to lower socio-economic classes and to live

and work in environmentally depressed areas. They are already practised in exerting social and political pressure in an organised fashion. By virtue of their pressure group experience and their occupational

and demographic proximity to sources and examples of environmental damage, unionists are potentially extremely valuable allies of the environmental lobby, if they can be adequately sensitised and their

concern channelled in constructive directions. We recommend unionists as a high priority for more detailed, in­ depth attitude and motivational research.

(ii) - School children Similarly we suggest the Department conduct immediate in-depth research into the attitudes of secondary and primary school students. School children exhibit far higher degrees of awareness and concern than most other sectors of society. They can be used in the same way as the unionists to motivate those around them and those with whom they come in contact in later life.

Potentially they are the vanguard of a new society which will place far greater store on the human environment and the quality of life. With a more sophisticated and informed insight into the attitudes of school children we believe the job of raising general public awareness of

and concern for the environment can be considerably advanced. We recommend that both unionists and school children be re­ searched.

7. In addition to target markets, it is imperative that the Department’s communications do not ignore target issues. It is obvious from the research that most activists become concerned through a specific issue, usually local. By supporting and promoting (one side of an issue) on a national scale, the

Department has the means of involving scores of environmentally uninitiated Australians into the process of protecting the environment. The ‘Barrier Reef National Park' has great potential as an issue through which to involve many people. This is an emotional issue which would reach the great majority of


8. The Department should continue actively to encourage environmental commitment amongst university students, especially through the Friends of the Earth on-campus network. The Department might also consider alternative ways of encouraging those

university students who are not members of Friends of the Earth. Despite their fairly cynical and pessimistic attitude towards society’s environmental survival chances, there is a vast amount of untapped, unchannelled and uncoordinated concern for the environment, and their

natural radicalism, which the Department should try to harness. Uni students’ potentially most effective role probably lies in their capacity to mount national ‘moratorium-like’ protests. The national same-day protest is a vehicle that carries considerable media impact. It is also something that the

Department currently lacks the capacity to effect. To start the ball rolling on campuses, we recommend that Dr Cass make an


intensive and prepublicised whistle-stop of every university to explain and promote his and the Department’s philosophies and activities.

9. Low awareness of Dr Cass, the Department and its legislation is obviously the result of inadequate communication and unsatisfactory media coverage. And yet people respond positively to the Minister’s and the Department’s initiatives. As a general policy, every effort should be made to identify Dr Cass in the public’s mind with the image and issue of the environment. Currently Australians do not have an environmental focal point. It should be recognised that people identify with a person’s ideas more than they do with the ideas in abstract form. We therefore recommend that Dr Cass be positioned in the Department’s communication to constantly remind people of the environment everytime they see him. 10. The Department must do everything in its power to show people that it is

possible for them to act, individually or collectively, and to solve an environmental problem. One of the biggest obstacles facing the Department is in overcoming the impression most Australians now have, i.e. that even if they did protest, nothing they can do will help the situation.

A high priority in the Department’s ongoing communications effort must be the publicising of actions and protests by citizens which have resulted in the preservation or betterment of some aspect of the local or national environment.

Spectrum recommends that the Department regularly publish a booklet detailing some case histories of successful environmental community action to serve as inspiring examples and an educative model for others in the community to follow.

The Department should attempt to publicise successful case histories through the media but a regular bulletin seems, in view of the low level of confi­ dence in the individual’s ability to make a dent in the system, a worthwhile activity also.

We refer the Department to the Citizens Make the Difference series of booklets published by the U.S. Citizens Advisory Committee on En­ vironmental Quality.

11. The Department should do its utmost to stress the open government democratic participation aspects of the EIS legislation and the Technical Assistance Scheme. People were extremely impressed with the participatory nature of the Government’s latest environmental protection package. They were further impressed that governments were interested in what they thought and that government is willing to actively assist individuals and groups of individuals improve their environmental lot.

This goodwill must be exploited in every way possible in all of the Department’s communications with the public. All communication should be done with pizzaz, rather than a sterile bureaucratese which says a lot, but in the wrong way to too few people.

A preference here should be made in favour of the more involving media of radio, film and TV over the traditional ‘rational’ medium of press.

12. The Department should establish a publications division to be responsible for all print material emanating from the Department to the public. The publications division should have access to the best editorial, design and graphics staff and more access to research facilities to ensure that the publications produced are top quality, motivating and appropriate for the audience at which they are aimed.


13. The Department should publish a booklet to tell people how to start their own environmental action group. Coupled with an ignorance of current legislation and a lack of public confidence, there appears to be considerable confusion as to exactly how to

organise an activist movement. The book should be professionally written, designed and produced, simple to read, free and readily available. It should be given a suitable title, How to Start an Environmental Protection Group—A Greenies Guidebook, and be fairly aggressively marketed.

The guidebook should provide technical and practical information on how to: — set up a group, — call and run meetings,

— organise and maintain media interest in environmental issues, — organise demonstrations, — deal with government departments and agencies, — raise funds, etc.

14. The publications division could be expanded to include an electronic media section including a film library. Both operations could be supervised and guided with strategy and creative input devised by the communications cell.

15. Additional communications projects recommended for implementation by divisions of this sort include: i) A series of ‘How to’ booklets which explain in motivating language how to understand and defeat pollution problems on a personal basis, for

example: - How to beat air pollution, dealing with car emission systems, alterna­ tive transport systems, the recycling of industrial and domestic waste, etc.

- How to beat pollution by minimising the use of packaging or discriminating between the different types of packagings - How to beat pollution through recycling of cans and other containers - How to improve your environment by planting trees and living things - How to beat pollution by utilising alternative heat and power sources

- How to beat pollution by using alternative means of garbage disposal - An environmental survival kit for People who live in high rise buildings - How to beat noise pollution—an explanatory guide to the sources of noise pollution and what people can do to minimise and avoid them

- How to organise an environmental protest - How to deal with industrial pollution—a step-by-step strategy guide on how to apply pressure to polluters or potential polluters - An environmental survival kit for consumers

- An environmental survival kit for young people (school kids) ii) Regular handbooks containing details of new and pending environmental legislation and regulations. iii) Regular bulletins from Dr Cass to the chairmen, directors, managers and

workers in polluting industries, keeping them up to date on pollution levels and trends and, where possible, scientific data linking the contribution a particular plant or group of factories in a certain area has made to pollution of the environment, e.g. it could be calculated that

using the present rate of emission from so many smokestacks a certain


number of tonnes of industrial waste had been deposited in the atmosphere. iv) Regular reports, distributed through activist groups or government agencies, which detail the environmental conditions in overseas cities

comparable to Australian cities. These would relate their levels of pollution to ours in the hope that Australians will be made aware of the global implications of pollution and that deft and concerted community and governmental action is needed to prevent a further decline in the environmental quality of life in this country.

16. The Department should investigate the feasibility of stimulating third party endorsements for a clean and better environment from different sections of the community. i) For example, it is not inconceivable that the Department should support

the organisation of a Businessmen for the Environment Lobby. It is evident from the businessmen’s groups conducted during the research that there are many, possibly thousands of, businessmen in Australia, concerned and ready to do something about cleaning up the environment. ii) Similarly, school children could be organised through the school system

or some parallel body and formed into a loose sort of environmental guerilla/watchdog group, each group charged with the responsibility of reporting environmental transgressions on the part of local industry, shopkeepers, developers, local councils or State Governments which propose, or have perpetrated, something which could damage the environment. The units could be run from schools or on a community

basis like the boy scouts. There are obvious problems with a scheme like this, but it does have practical possibilities and deserves investigation. The units would virtually cover Australia because there are schools wherever there are communities of people and industry to support these communities.

The units could be equipped, for instance, with material to test E-coli counts at beaches, in harbours and rivers, or some economical form of equipment with which to monitor air pollution. School children, if organised sensibly and realistically, could be an important grass-roots pressure group on a community basis.

iii) There are several other concepts which could be utilised to exploit the environmental awareness of school children in a socially constructive way.

17. Accordingly, we recommend that the Department invite corporate or private bodies to subsidise the publication of an Environment Advertising Kit, containing a series of ready written headlines, information, graphics and layouts which will be distributed to every school in Australia. The purpose of the kit is that it be either incorporated in an appropriate part of the syllabus, or that school children be encouraged privately to write their own advertisements or design posters aimed at increasing environmental awareness or drawing attention to a particularly topical environmental issue in their area.

The Write your own Ad competition, using the material provided by the Department, could be run on a community or national basis, with the winner winning some worthwhile prize. The winning advertisements could be shown nationally and on a State and


local basis on television, with accompanying publicity in national, metropolitan or suburban newspapers and magazines. The ads could be displayed at schools, in local libraries, galleries, on railway stations, in town halls and post offices. In this way the Department could

economically motivate an important group of the community—students— while exploiting their interest and concern in a virtually free advertising campaign which would, in turn, influence parents and other members of the public at large.

18. The Department should also consider organising an annual art competition through schools, or perhaps a national newspaper, inviting children under 18 to enter a painting on an environmental theme. Prizes would be awarded on a national. State by State or local basis.

The best paintings could be first publicised in the press and on television, thus capitalising on the stimulating and consciousness-raising effect generated by the competition. The best painting should then be displayed as widely as possible through

public outlets such as railway stations, town halls, post offices, libraries, with attendant explanatory posters.

19. The Department should investigate the feasibility of instituting some regular award for the most environmentally conscientious industry, factory, company group, council, suburb etc., to create enduring, localised and national interest in the environment.

The award should be made by Dr Cass with maximum publicity. The award would, of course, be made to a body or company which had done the most to preserve or better some aspect or part of the environment.

20. The department should also investigate making an award for the industry, factory or body which did least towards preserving or bettering the environment. The award could be given to a company, for example, which continually

ignored warnings about some infringement of good environmental behaviour, the company or industry about which the Department had had most complaints. This award should also be announced by Dr Cass with maximum publicity. The value and drawbacks are equally apparent but we believe the concept deserves some sympathetic investigation.

21. The Department should adopt some recognisable symbol and/or logo as soon as practicable. 22. The Department’s proposed pollution-testing vehicles should be utilised also as awareness-raising promotional units. The trucks and their personnel should be

given a futuristic look which would serve to glamorise the image of the Department. The units’ itineraries should be prepublicised and given local publicity to extend their educational and image-building value.

23. The Environmental Ombudsman/Hotline concept should be implemented as soon as possible, to coincide with the national awareness-raising campaign.

24. The Department should investigate the long-term possibilities of setting up the DELSAF agency concept developed during the ad concept development stage of this project. The DELSAF concept, explained in the advertising section ot this report, won a fairly wide acceptance from respondents during the group

discussions, although some had reservations about it because of its militaristic overtones.


25. The Department, in co-operation with the Minister’s office, should consider the following recommendations which deal with media aspects of the task of generating and maintaining environmental awareness in the community. a) The Department should stimulate scriptwriters on mass audience

television programs to include environmental issues in its series. For example, a character in the No. 96 series, Dorrie Evans, should get the Greenies Guidebook in the mail and become an environmental activist, organising green bans, protest marches, demonstrations, enlisting the aid of other characters in the series to stop bulldozers knocking down a building, etc. The example, however exaggerated it may be in dramatic TV terms, would communicate the possibilities of individual and group action to the largest TV audience in Australia on a level and in language which they can grasp and understand. b) The Department should regularly brief the moderators of talk-back and

current affairs shows on radio and TV on what the Department is doing and what new legislation or activities are coming up. In addition, a series on modern day heroes, the activists who win environmental battles, could be easily slotted into current affairs programs on a weekly basis.

We believe the Department can maximise exposure economically by employing a well-planned and executed approach in this area.

c) The Department should encourage all media to give air, water and noise pollution readings in each capital city as regularly as possible, preferably at the same time as weather readings. We believe that any expense involved in gathering the data and distributing would be justified in the resultant exposure of pollution dangers, the consequent stimulation to large numbers of people to think about why there is so much pollution, and then what can be done to stop it. These spots could quite feasibly be sponsored by advertisers. d) Design and circulate audio-visual presentations on the environment

featuring Dr Cass to schools, businessmen’s clubs, community, women’s, youth and religious organisations.




Defining the environment is naturally a subjective business. The environment is, in every sense, all things to all people. But overall, the Australian public see the environment as a positive, pleasant state. They identify the environment in a positive sense as open spaces, parkland, bush, trees and natural countryside.

Trees are the single, most often mentioned things associated with the word environment. Interestingly, even respondents who live in lower class suburbs where their environments are affected by industry, pollution, high density housing and high traffic circulation did not define these circumstances as their environment—they see the environment as being somewhere else, some unreal land which they never really see

from day to day and from which they are personally detached. Relatively few respondents actually define the environment in a negative way. Those who did attach negative values to the word ‘environment’ used associations like messy, disappearing, pollution, rubbish, streets, social problems. When pressed most people

see that the environment can be defined as the physical and emotional circumstances in which they live. But they attach certain emotional values to the word environment which do not truly reflect the actual circumstances of their environment, given that the bulk of Australians live in urban, non-rural areas which cannot boast any bushland

setting, nor any trees not caged in wire, nor any babbling brooks. There is no discernible age difference amongst those who declare that the environment is a green tree-stuffed place.


Environment is a word which currently enjoys great popularity with many Australians, and most associate the word generally with trees and nature. They cannot make a terribly exact distinction between environment and ecology but they are very much aware of the existence of a movement concerned with conservation and the environment generally.

Awareness of something called the environment is relatively low. The interesting thing, however, is that people do attach a positive and non-personal image to the concept of the environment which has little to do with the environmentally impaired circumstances in which many of them live.

The public is well aware, from exposure in the media, of the importance of preserving aspects of the environment; and all people, regardless of their social position or occupation, are aware of the existence of pollution of the air, water and cities.

Most concern lies with specific local issues, or with city-type issues, particularly smog. There is a general belief that Australia is better off environmentally than almost all other countries, possibly the reason why there was little urgency in their concern for environmental issues.

On a personal level, few people lamented that their immediate environment was not what it used to be, being taken over by freeways, progress and high rise. But generally their perception of their own environment is that it’s okay. No one really bagged their immediate general surroundings but rather took a more specific line, isolating particular annoyances or issues, e.g. felling of certain trees, the next door neighbour’s

noisy car exhaust, buildings being constructed that were unsuitable lor the area. Apart from these specific instances, their awareness of and concern for the environment was levelled, on a broader basis, at such things as litter and smog, even


though this concern has been and is expressed more by words than by action. These feelings were confirmed by the quantitative results which showed people in both Sydney and Melbourne to be far more satisfied with the state of their immediate environment than with that of their respective cities.

In the neighbourhood

The following table shows where different groups, on average, see their neighbourhood environment. The closer to 10 the more excellent the environment, the closer to 1 the more terrible. It is reasonable to suggest that people are fairly well satisfied with their current environment without being ecstatic about it.

Overall 5.86

Sydney 5.75 Male 5.95

Melbourne 5.97 Female 5.78

AB 6.26 14-18 5.86

Cl 6.04 19-30 5.62

C2 5.83 31-50 6.07

DE 5.49 51 + 5.90

Again, the 19-30 age group emerge as different to the other age groups, here being the group least satisfied with their immediate environment. Not surprisingly, the DE occupation group rate themselves lower on the neighbourhood environment scale than any other group. And further, the higher the occupation group the further up the scale they see themselves.

Melbourne people are slightly more satisfied with their neighbourhood environ­ ments than are Sydney people. Overall, however, people are fairly well satisfied with their immediate environment, most being neither at the base of the imaginary hill of environmental satisfaction nor at its peak.

In Sydney/Melbourne

Compared to the neighbourhood scale, there is very little difference between occupation groups on the city scale. The same applies to sex groups and age groups, although the 19-30 years group again comes out as the least satisfied. In general people are far less satisfied with the overall state o f the environment and of pollution in their cities than they are in their immediate neighbourhood.

The following table shows where different groups, on average, see their respective city environments.

Overall 3.89

Sydney 3.53 Male 3.85

Melbourne 4.25 Female 3.93

AB 3.98 14-18 3.83

Cl 3.77 19-30 3.74

C2 3.87 31-50 4.04

DE 3.95 51 + 3.91

The highlight of the table is the Sydney/Melbourne difference, with Sydney people being significantly less impressed with their overall environment than Melbourne people. This may explain the greater recognition of resident action groups in Sydney


than in Melbourne; in general it reinforces a feeling that there is greater need for concern about the environment in Sydney than there is in Melbourne.

In Australia (compared to other countries)

The exploratory research showed that while there is some definite level of awareness of environmental issues in Australia, there is also an element of belief amongst Australians that pollution is only serious overseas, in London, Los Angeles and Tokyo. Australia is seen as suffering less from environmental problems than other

comparable countries. Australians, nevertheless, identify readily with local problems such as Fraser Island or the Great Barrier Reef mining question, and some even become passionate about it. They foresee Australia’s problems as being more serious but they still believe we are

much better off than other industrialised countries. The quantitative research also showed that the state of the environment and of pollution in Australia is fairly healthy compared to other countries. This is the case regardless of people’s age, sex, or occupation class, reinforcing the above feelings.

The following table shows the mean scores attributed to each group, on a rating from excellent (10) to terrible (1).

Overall 6.47

Sydney 6.40 Male 6.43

Melbourne 6.54 Female 6.51

AB 6.34 14-18 6.48

Cl 6.24 19-30 6.46

C2 6.45 31-50 6.39

DE 6.79 51 + 6.56

It is interesting to note that those in the DE occupation group, who regard their own immediate environment lower than any other group, have a higher opinion of the Australian environment than the other occupation groups. The ‘out-of-sight, out-of­ mind’ label is probably most applicable to this group, their concern being concentrated

around their immediate neighbourhood. In the exploratory work, the blue collar unionists, who form a large section of DEs, were one of the most environmentally active groups we spoke to. All their activity, however, had been centred on their immediate surroundings. They were not concerned with the more ‘lofty’ national issues.

Information about the environment

Public knowledge of what makes the environment tick, how pollution is caused and why it happens is very limited. Despite a far-ranging but merely verbal concern for the state of the environment, there is little technical knowledge about why things are like they are. And most people cannot connect the effect of their own lifestyle with the

environment in any way. People only know what they learn through the media. If the media make a big fuss about a certain issue like the Clutha coal project or sand mining at Myall Lakes, or about PVC packaging, then people get to learn about it.

The general public is otherwise just not plugged into other information inputs like the environment centres, action groups or government department, either because they don’t know of their existence, or are not motivated to do anything except express a token interest.



The environment has only recently become an issue for Australians, and for many it is still not seen as an issue. Respondents interviewed during focus group sessions expressed far more concern in economic/money issues and in the decline of Western democracy than in the environment.

But there is probably a valid impression emerging that concern for the environment is gaining hold of the imagination of more Australians than it has in the past. Since the focus for environmental concern has previously been activist groups at whom most Australians looked askance, the movement has not received widespread support. But as more people and groups express public concern about pollution, along with the formalised and extended interest of government departments concerned with the environment and conservation, and with the growth of RAGs and the slow but increasing politicisation of Australians, the environment has become a legitimised, clean and politically acceptable movement. People can now more easily sympathise and even become involved in the environment and conservation movement.

And people are aware of it becoming worse. The following table shows how people feel about the environment compared to five years ago.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Better off 20 15 25

Worse off 50 56 44

About the same 29 29 30

Don’t know 1 * 1

*less than 0.5%

A consistent theme for the whole survey again emerges on the above question. Sydney people are consistently more pessimistic about the environment than are Melbourne people. This is true for the past, the present and the future.

A further indication of the acceptability of the environment as an issue is the breadth of activity that has been either effected or intended in both Sydney and Melbourne. While only one in eight have ever been actively involved in some environmental or resident action group, for in ten say that at some time they have wanted to do something, but haven't.

The fact that 40 per cent of people in Sydney and Melbourne have actually at some time or other wanted to do something about an environmental issue/problem indicates breadth of latent support for such concerns.

Public attitudes to the environment

There is a definite and quite discernible level of concern for the environment on the part of most Australians. The word ‘environment’, or more specifically the idea of caring for the environment, is currently very much a trend that has gained widespread approval with most sections of Australian society.

The people who care the most are, naturally, the best informed. Some university students, teachers and the conservationists see pollution as only the result of the problem, and can relate the problem to the core issues of wastage of resources, over­ consumption and the defects in Western lifestyle which contribute so much to environmental degradation.

There were no respondents who declared they had no sympathy at all with preserving the environment. But the level of concern is governed very much by the


commitment of the person involved. Most people care about the environment; the crunch comes when it is a matter of doing something about it.

The important factors here are a lack of politicisation, a lack of knowledge of what can be done, and a lack of self-confidence to effect any change as an individual.

Even on campus, where there is a lot of positive feeling towards the environment, this feeling is not being disciplined and channelled into consistently practical or logical directions.

Public protests of an environmental nature will attract public support only rarely on a mass scale. Local disputes and confrontations usually take a long while to get off the ground because Australians tend to be fairly placid and not great demonstrators. They are only usually motivated to go out on the streets and protest to prevent environmental damage if it concerns something specific and local which affects them in their own backyards.

School kids are in the vanguard

This out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude is the despair of organised environmental and conservation groups in Australia. Such groups are placing a lot of faith in future generations who are being more sensitised to the environment and being educated to be concerned for it in school, an advantage that present adult generations do not have.

Children seem genuinely more concerned about the state of the environment than members of older generations and they seem more prepared to do something about it It is probable that this concern is part of the learning process rather than a genuine commitment.

Even so, the process is having results—children are becoming aware of then- environments. School expeditions to polluted creeks and clean-up campaigns, as well as lectures and programs, are ways in which future generations of Australians are being taught to overcome a traditional reluctance and fear of taking control of a situation, to

analyse a problem, decide what should and can be done, and then do it. Environment groups report that they have increasing number of technically qualified people joining their ranks—engineers, chemists, etc. who have the scientific knowledge to put a case against a polluter or someone who is damaging the

environment. This, and the prospect of whole generations of Australians sensitised and committed to environmental protection, is the main hope of the present activist movement.

Public apathy v. activity

Most of the target public interviewed believe there was too much apathy about the environment, apparently unaware that they themselves contribute to that apathy and inaction. Everyone believes something more should be done about the environment, but no one knows who should do it, or how.

Environmental concern is universally considered to be a good and worthwhile preoccupation but people’s concern at the moment is at a fairly abstract level. The subject only becomes of any enduring interest if they are engaged in conversation about it, or stimulated by exposure to advertising or media reports, or by some

confrontation with an aspect of pollution which affects them directly.

It is a very human trait to opt out of a situation where it is easy to express concern but time and effort consuming to actually do anything about it. One in eight people in Sydney and Melbourne have at one time or other been involved with or active in a conservation, environment or resident action group.


Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Been active/involved 12 13 12

Haven’t 88 87 88

Those groups who have been most active in such matters include: — all occupation groups (14%) apart from the DEs, or lower occupations (8%) — males (15%) — 14-18s (20%) and 19-30s (15%) It is noteworthy that one in five people of school age (14-18) have been involved or active in some way.

Predictably, those who have been active are more aware of both the Department and Moss Cass than those who haven't. Even so, half o f the activists were not spontaneously aware o f the Department.

Types of activity

Of the one in eight who have been active/involved, three in four did so on a local issue, as shown by the following table.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: activists) (99) (53) (46)


% % %

Local 77 81 72

State 19 11 28

National 12 11 13

International 4 6 2

Sydney people are again seen as most concerned about their immediate neighbourhood, although by far the bulk of activity in Melbourne has also been on a local level. It is interesting to note the relatively high proportion of State-wide issues in which Melbourne activists have been involved. State-wide issues were almost totally the preoccupation of males under thirty.

It is of further interest to note the differences between male and female activists. Local issues concerned 86 per cent of female activists, compared with 70 per cent of males; while State-wide issues preoccupied 30 per cent of males compared with 5 per cent of females.

The most common types of activity involved attending meetings and/or signing petitions.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: activists) (99) (53) (46)


% % %

Took part in meeting 57 62 50

Signed a petition 57 64 46

Wrote letter to someone 26 30 22

Telephoned someone 17 25 9

Took part in demonstration 14 19 9


Obviously meetings and petitions are the most popular forms of active protest. It is notable that only 14 per cent had taken part in a demonstration, a guide to the reluctance to take part (or be seen to take part) in such overt activity that was evident from group discussions.

Potential activists or ‘patio greenies’

Four in ten people claim to have at some time wanted to do something about an environmental matter, but haven’t.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Wanted to act, but didn't 40 43 36

Have never wanted to act 60 57 64

The ‘potential activists' were more prominent among: - upper (AB) and upper middle (Cl) occupational groups (45 per cent) - 19 30s (48 per cent) and least prominent among:

- the lower (DE) occupational group (31 per cent) - and the over-50s (31 per cent) A major finding from the qualitative work was the acknowledgment that a lack of confidence on the part of members of the public in general is the biggest stumbling

block to achieving greater awareness’of the environment and involvement by ordinary people in its protection. The unsettling degree of disbelief in each person's ability to do anything to arrest the current rate of degradation of the environment is seen as extensive in the sense that it crosses all classes, ages and sexes.

Most people see the problem as too big and the people as too small to take it on and win. The causes and controls of pollution and conservation are in the hands of governments, bureaucracies and big business, agayrst which the individual is hopelessly lacking in power.

Lack of confidence

This feeling of powerlessness is expressed in the reasons people gave for not acting or becoming involved in an issue that concerned them. Powerlessness was a more important factor than either apathy or ignorance in influencing their inaction.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: concerned, not active) (361) (174) (142)

% % %

Didn’t think actions would have effect 36 43 28

I was too apathetic 21 14 29

I didn’t know what to do 17 19 16

Didn’t have enough information 12 12 12

Didn’t live in the area 9 10 8

Thought people would see me as a stirrer 2 1 4

Too scared to do anything 1 1 1

Invariably, when people in group discussions were asked how they could effect some environmental change, the stock reply was ‘join a group’. Most were too powerless and/or timid to do anything themselves, or to take the lead in forming a group of


concerned people. Only when they were directly threatened in some way by some ‘environmental degradation’ would they act, then in a sense of self or lifestyle preservation, rather than as an intellectual pursuit.

Environment concern is very much wrapped up with the general social awareness of people and as a priority it does not rate highly. But once the subject is raised people are very concerned about it. Once thcx overcome their selfishness and their lack of self-confidence there is definitely a sizeable number of people to whom environmental action groups are attractive. A big plus for them is that they are not politically grouped. Being a tree lover or an anti-expressway person does not require making a political, public statement which most Australians are loath to make lest they be drawn into discussion or examination of their own political beliefs. At the moment, the non-activists merely pay lip-service to the environment. A great deal of consciousness raising and education has to be done to raise the level of awareness and motivate people to join groups or take part in the formation of new ones.

The group discussions confirm that people are generally very ignorant of what agencies and organisations exist which they can join to help protect the environment. They are also ignorant of what they can do individually towards the same end.

There are too few examples of individual citizens having been able to do something to control some affront to the environment. The bulk of people who approved of the BLF-inspired green bans would not want to join the battle, only to enjoy it vicariously and support it in an intellectual moral way while others were actually out there protecting the environment.

This lack of confidence, of course, does not apply to environmentalists or radical activists. But the bulk of Australians are very sceptical, and for a multiplicity of reasons do not have the political/social background with which to equip themselves and take the appropriate steps. The Vietnam Moratorium remains the only recent example of a mass of Australians being brought out to demonstrate on a social/political issue of any great importance. Becoming excited and radicalised about protecting the environment, certainly for most middle-aged and older people, and also for many young Australians, is a requirement which they are not able to meet. It is too foreign to their own personal image of themselves to go and demonstrate to assert their rights, or to try and change a situation to better protect the environment. This attitude remains a stumbling block, despite the increasing acceptability of environmental issues. One factor in favour of overcoming the block is, of course, the non-political nature of many issues.


There are fairly evenly divided points of view held on how well off Australia will be environmentally in the next, say, ten years’ time. Most people believe that we will be worse off, but it must be remembered that this attitude and belief is fed by a good deal of recognisable ignorance. People do not know what is being done, what can be done, and what cannot be done. Their lack of knowledge in this area, as said previously, is pretty widespread.

While a high proportion of people do believe that conditions will get worse, they are certainly not gloom-laden about it. For most there is a widespread belief in the flexibility and resourcefulness of man to come up with answers, for example, to the energy crisis. While people are aware of the

crisis—they read about it in the papers—they don’t believe they will be touched by it, that by the time the world runs out of oil we’ll all be washing in solar-heated water and driving in electricity-driven cars.


There are certain pockets of distinct pessimism, particularly amongst uni students, parts of the media, and teachers, who can see no answer other than a total demise of the world. Their views are somewhat coloured, no doubt, by their political stance and their day-to-day preoccupations. Not so for the businessmen whose preoccupations, and

probably political stance, generate the confidence that man is not on a headlong rush to environmental suicide. Public servants form another group who are a bit dubious about the future of our environment. They see the major problems as bureaucracy getting in the way of getting

things done, and the lack of co-operation between Federal and State machinery. In general, however, most pessimism is soft-core, the feeling that it will get worse before it gets better, but it will eventually get better.

In the next ten years

There is a high degree of pessimism about Australia’s future environment and pollution situation, as shown by the following figures. As previously noted, we believe this to be mainly soft-core pessimism.

(Base: total respondents)

State o f the environment in ten years’ time Better The same Worse

Don’t know

Total Sydney Melbourne

(798) (403) (395)

% % %

32 28 37

17 17 17

49 53 45

2 2 2

Again Sydney shows itself to be more of a concern for the Department, compared to Melbourne. Throughout, the survey has revealed the need for more activity in Sydney. Their attitudes to the future are probably a reflection of their lower satisfaction with their own immediate and city environments than that of people in Melbourne.

Another sector of the community with a high concentration who believe things will get worse in the next ten years are the under-30s groups. Six in ten of those under 30 see the future pessimistically compared to four in ten of those over thirty.


Awareness of the Department amongst people generally is not high at all. A few guessed that there must be a department in charge of environmental matters. But clearly, they had no recollection if there was such a department, what it might be called, where it was, whether it was Federal, State or local and what it did.

The only respondents who knew for certain were better educated, more aware people, for example some businessmen and public servants, teachers and students, and, naturally, conservationists and activists. Some unionists were also aware.

Most respondents who did say they knew about the existence of a Federal Department of Environment did so because they thought there should or must be one. They fantasised about what it might be called, for example the Department of Environmental Concern.

Awareness was generally low, but lowest among lower class women and country people. Not surprisingly, the low awareness and recognition results revealed in the quantitative survey confirmed impressions first made during the group discussions.


Spontaneous awareness

Only one in ten people can spontaneously give the correct title of the Department, confirming results that emerged from the focus group sessions. Another 4 per cent mentioned ‘Moss Cass’s Department'.

Melbourne people are twice as likely as Sydney people to be aware of the Department, probably because Cass’s electorate is in Melbourne.

Knowledge of the Department is also highest among the AB occupation group (17 per cent) and the 19-30 years age group (15 per cent).


When shown a card listing various organisations that are concerned in some way with the protection of the environment and/or conservation, one in two people recognised the Department. The organisation with highest recognition is the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

National Parks and Wildlife

% %

0/ /o

Service 74 83 64

Your local council 67 63 70

Sydney/Melbourne City Council Fed. Dept of Environment 55 48 61

and Conservation 49 53 45

Builders Labourers Federation 48 49 48

DURD 42 40 45

State Dept of Environment 42 41 42

Aust. Conservation foundation 40 40 40

Resident Action Groups 40 44 35

Soil. Conservation Service 39 38 40

Total Environment Centre 20 21 19

None known 8 5 12

Sydney compared to Melbourne

Although Melbourne people are more aware than those in Sydney on a spontaneous awareness level, the reverse is true for recognition where the Department is recognised by 53 per cent compared to 45 per cent in Melbourne. There is also greater recognition of RAGs in Sydney than there is in Melbourne.

It is noteworthy that both people’s local councils and their city councils are more readily recognised as being concerned in some way with the environment than is the Department. This is especially the case in Melbourne, where local councils have the highest recognition of any organisation.

A comparison of recognition figures for local councils and resident action groups between Sydney and Melbourne suggests that where local councils are recognised for their concern with the environment, there is less recognition of resident action groups, and vice versa. This is probably carried over into activity.


In general

The higher the occupation class, the more likely the recognition of a particular organisation’s involvement in some way with the protection of the environment. The only organisations to which this didn’t apply were the local and city councils. The same trend applied between males and females, with males being more likely to

recognise several relevant organisations than were females. Similarly with age groups, the 19-30 and 31-50 age groups had a higher recognition of most of the organisations than did the age groups on either side.

The Department

As a summary, the following table shows where awareness and recognition of the Department is strongest. Awareness of Dept (11%) Melbourne (14%) AB (17%) and Cl (11%)

occupation groups 19-30 years (15%)

Recognition of Dept (49%) Sydney (53%) AB (63%) and Cl (57%) occupation groups Males (53%)

19-30 years (58%)


This survey was conducted during the time in which the name of the Department was changed from the Department of the Environment and Conservation to the Department of Environment. This decision is confirmed as sensible by the research—respondents, even after they had used the name all night, still found it

cumbersome and too difficult to say.

People who did not know the correct name of the Department guessed that it might be called the Department for Environmental Concern, or the Department for Environment, Conservation and Energy.

There was some confusion between the Department and DURD, and also between the Department and the Department of Minerals and Energy. Several respondents were also confused as to who was the actual Minister for the Environment once they were supplied with a multiple choice list. Some thought it was TomUren, and not M oss Cass. This confusion was further confirmed in the quantitative survey.



Very few people, top of mind, can identify Dr Moss Cass as being the Federal Minister responsible for the environment. The Minister was generally better known in Melbourne, his home city, probably because he would tend to be given greater exposure in Melbourne media than in

Sydney or other cities. The following table shows the level of awareness in Sydney and Melbourne (when people were asked if they knew who the Federal Minister for the Department of Environment and Conservation is).


Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Mentioned Moss Cass 13 9 18

Mentioned other person 5 8 2

Don’t know 82 83 80

Some, who could not recall his name, occasionally recalled that he had a heard and was ‘slightly eccentric looking’, while some school children in Melbourne recalled that he was ‘against big executive cars’. Others said Dr Cass was in favour of mud houses, was short and Jewish looking.

Of people interviewed in the quantitative survey his awareness is highest with - upper occuation groups (24 per cent) - also upper middle occupation groups (18 per cent) - and males (19 per cent) It is lowest with:

- the lower middle occupation group (4 per cent) - kids 14-18 (5 per cent) - and females (10 per cent)


When people were asked if they knew of Dr Cass, the Federal Minister, just under one in two said they did.

lo t at Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Aware of Cass unprompted 13 9 18

Recognise him as Fed. Minister 31 40 22

Total recognition 44 49 40

Don’t know of him at all 56 51 60

Note that this survey was conducted prior to the Fraser Island issue becoming prominent in the media. It is almost certain that exposure on such issues increased both the awareness and recognition of Dr Cass. Of the 31 per cent who recognised his name, only 2 per cent identified him as Minister for Environment. Added to the 13 per cent spontaneous awareness, this makes a total identification of Dr Cass as Minister 15 per cent— 12 per cent in Sydney and 19 per cent in Melbourne.


Those aware of Dr Cass regard him as a well-meaning, rather junior member of the Government who is rather radical and unorthodox. This slightly nonconformist image is reinforced by his beard which people remember more than any other physical thing about him. People remember vaguely that he has said something about cars and pollution to do with executives, and also that he has had something to do with steam cars.

But there are few, if any, other issues which people (apart from conservationists) can associate with the Minister.


He is seen, even by people who are better acquainted politically with the Canberra situation, as a lightweight. He is not seen as being successful in his job; at the same time he attracts a degree of admiration from people for what he is trying to achieve and for his obvious sincerity and commitment.

The most politically aware people, and some businessmen, teachers and unionists, are aware that he is hamstrung by the States and even somewhat by colleagues; but most of all by the apathy of the Australian public. He is seen by large numbers of Australians as a well-meaning David battling a friendly Goliath we have all learnt to

live with. People seem most aware of Dr Cass from his TV news appearances, especially children, who seem to have great recall of him from this media. There were no actual negative reactions to Dr Cass from respondents, even Liberal­

voting ones. Some Liberal-voting respondents felt a future Liberal government should even have a Moss Cass in it.

Public trust in Dr Cass

There is a degree of cautious optimism about people’s chances of getting some action on an environmental issue which concerned them by writing to Dr Cass, the Minister for Environment. Those people interviewed in the quantitative survey who have had some concern

about an environmental issue but have not acted were asked whether, if they had written to Dr Cass, they would have expected a reply or thought they would have got the normal bureaucratic non-reply. The following table shows their answers.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: concerned, not active) (316) (174) (142)

Expect a reply

% % %

Yes 57 55 59

No 38 41 33

Don’t know 5 3 8

Expectation of a reply was higher with people who had previously been active in environmental matters than those who have never been active. Expectation of a reply was fairly evenly spread through all demographic groups, but was lowest with the 14-18-year-olds and the lower middle occupational groups.

It appears, however, that people are willing to trust Dr Cass in his desire to contact people who want information or help in solving some environmental problem. This level of support augurs well for any campaign inviting public participation.


Concern and effectiveness

While most Australians believe the Federal Government is quite concerned about the environment, they do not believe the Federal Government has been very effective in translating this concern into action. The groups in the community most concerned about the environment are the

Resident Action Groups. The State Governments and local councils are seen as quite concerned but again are seen as only quite effective or not very effective when it comes to dealing with environmental and pollution problems.


Australians do not detect any heart or concern on the part of industry about the environment, and they are seen as the least effective in dealing with pollution and the environment. The following table shows how people see the relative levels of concern and effectiveness of governments and private bodies.

(The table shows average scores of a scale from very concerned/effective (4) through quite concerned (3), not very concerned (2), to not at all concerned (1).)

Concern Effectiveness

(Base: total respondents) (798) (798)

% %

Federal Government 2.71 2.25

State Government 2.1 A 2.31

Local Council 2.80 2.44

Resident Action Groups 3.47 2.62

Industry 1.83 1.67

It is worthy of note that no one group or body is believed to be as effective as they are concerned. This is particularly true for RAGs which, while almost 100 per cent concerned, come right back in the field for their effectiveness. Even so, they are still seen as the most effective of the five bodies tested. Industry is the only group that is thought to lack some concern, being rated somewhere between not very concerned and not at all concerned. The same applies, to an even greater extent, for effectiveness.

Who is responsible?

There is widespread public confusion as to who is actually responsible for environment in general and for which bits of it in particular. There is a general tendency for people to assume that, while the Federal Government might have power over such a thing as vague and nebulous as the environment—like the economy, it is probably a State responsibility.

So far as activity is concerned, it has certainly been the local councils that are actually seen as responsible, mainly because the problems that most concern people are day-to-day local issues. But it has been the State Governments that have made the promises and their lack of active follow-up has only made people more cynical about their ability or concern in the area.

There is now a widespread distrust in the promises of governments to do something as gargantuan as cleaning up the environment. People have a fairly accurate notion of the dimensions of the pollution problem through the media, and they tend to treat government environment promises with the same suspicion as they treat most election promises.

The all-talk, no-action attitude of State Governments has not helped with this problem. At the moment, therefore, people are confused, with the majority believing State Governments are responsible simply because of the noise they’ve made about it.

Who should be responsible?

The majority of respondents felt that the overall responsibility for environment should rest with the Federal Government. However, they simultaneously see a place for State and local government authorities for practical reasons, despite a growing cynicism of the promises made by the States or doubts about their effectiveness.

3 4

Respondents felt that local government had a role to play in looking after pollution on a small scale and/or a local level, like polluted creeks, tree planting, minor forestation, dumped cars, etc.

The role of State Governments was less defined and is a product of the basic confusion about the constitutional constraints upon State and Federal Governments in this area, and how they overlap. Because pollution is a big problem, however, most people felt that the Federal

Government should be left to cope with the biggest problems, and all of those with a national aspect, like oil spills and wildlife protection. So, with an imperfect knowledge of the facts, people feel that the environment is the Federal Government’s responsibility if only because of its size.

Who is responsible for current degradation of the environment?

Attitudes here are very confused. People are loath to draw the connection and point the finger at themselves as consumers and inhabitants of the planet Earth for being ultimately responsible for the current state of the environment. The question of who is to blame for the present situation is confused by the vast

public ignorance of the nature of the problem. The most commonly blamed source of pollution is industry, factories, big heavy industrial concerns, mining (especially beach miners), trucks and buses. People are not terribly willing to face the fact that they are the ones who make the quarries to build the

freeways to drive the cars which makes the pollution. Rather, they laughingly mock themselves by admitting concern as they drive through a polluted area only to forget about it when 100 metres past. There is a consistent element of criticism of government for not doing enough to

protect the environment. This is especially levelled at State Governments, probably because they are the ones who have made most of the promises. The sections of the public who are most likely to make the connection between themselves as citizens and the degree of environmental degradation are senior

businessmen, teachers, university students and of course environmentalists. Public servants tend to see this problem as clearly but they do not make the connection readily with themselves.

Who pays for the protected environment?

Once the connection between standards of living in an industrialised Western Democracy and the level of pollution and environmental damage caused achieving that standard of living is made, there is a discernible degree of shift in feeling on what should be done about the problem. People in the quantitative survey were asked:

For many years Australia has had a rising standard of living which has, more often than not, been associated with environmental change and pollution. If Australia had to make one of the choices (listed in the table below) which would you choose? People opt for improving the quality of life, even if it means dropping the standard of living.

(Base: total respondents)

Continue to encourage economic develop­ ment even if this meant further damage to the environment Limit economic development in order to

save the environment from further damage

Total Sydney Melbourne

(798) (403) (395)

% % %

7 5 10

38 41 35


Concentrate on improving the quality of life as a whole, including the environment, even if this meant a drop in the standard of living 53 53 53

Don’t know 1 1 1



There is sketchy and very minimal awareness or recognition of the EIS legislation passed late last year, and virtually none at all of TAS. A couple of businessmen and teachers and a few public servants could recall it—even committed conservationists were only vaguely aware that the legislation existed.

The reactions of most respondents was to assume and guess that any legislation which existed was State legislation—concerning noise, water and air pollution, flood damage, etc. One in live claim to know of legislation that has been passed by the Federal Government in the area of environment and conservation. The following table shows the Sydney/Melbourne split.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Know of legislation 22 25 19

Don’t know 78 75 81

The familiar pattern observed throughout the survey—knowledge and concern for the environment being highest among upper occupation groups, males and the 19-30 age groups—is again apparent on this question. Awareness of particular legislation is non-specific, alluding to types of en­ vironmental protection rather than the actual legislation. This is shown in the following table.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Air pollution fines, Clear Air Act 32 34 28

Protection/creation of parks/bushland 19 18 20

Water pollution/industrial waste 19 15 24

Mining—Myall Lakes/Barrier Reef— Beach restoration 13 10 17

Wildlife protection, ban our skin exports 13 15 11

Campaign against/fines for littering 8 11 5

Noise—fines on jets/dogs/factories 8 12 4

As can be seen, the list bears no resemblance to actual Federal legislation. Lack of awareness of environmental legislation passed by the Federal Government is probably partly a reflection of the confusion in the public’s mind as to who actually administers, or is responsible for, the environment—Federal, State or local government.



The following table shows the level of recognition of various pieces of legislation, or intended legislation, after respondents were asked if they knew of them or not.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

Federal legislation concerning

% % %

Environmental Impact Statements 12 14 10

Federal Clean Waters Act 37 35 40

National Parks and Wildlife Act Environmental Technical Assistance 85 89 80

Scheme 13 12 13

Off-shore Drilling Legislation 66 62 70

The fact that EIS and TAS received similar levels of recognition is surprising when compared to results of the group discussions. It is possible that some ‘halo’ effect operated on respondents in answering these questions. Regardless of this factor, the levels of recognition are obviously low.

Public attitudes to EIS and TAS

Once the concept of EIS was explained to respondents (along with the Technical Assistance Scheme), it was well received by all of them. There were surprisingly few complaints about the hand-out aspect of the TAS. In principle the concept was highly praised, the only negatives being associated with cynicism—mostly among businessmen—about the number of instances in which EIS

could be used to do anything about existing pollution. They felt it was laudable that the Federal Government was doing what it could to prevent the situation getting any worse, but they felt that the Government was still sufficiently hamstrung to do anything on a significant scale to restore environmentally

affected areas. The most cynical respondents, who numbered only a few out of the total interviewed, felt that it was a case of closing the stable door after the horse had bolted. However, they did feel genuine respect for the Government for having made an effort.

ENVIRONM ENTAL PROBLEM S AND ISSUES Awareness of current issues

This again is governed by an almost totally localised outlook. The only issues which people were aware of are, naturally enough, those publicised in the media, such as Fraser Island (about which Queenslanders are more aware and feel more strongly), the Barrier Reef mining question, Myall Lakes, the proposed new container terminal on

Botany Bay, and the Newport Power Station. People are most aware of problems they can see—pollution in rivers near where they live or work, air pollution which now stops them seeing a mountain range or a bridge or some other landmark.

Awareness of slightly more abstract issues such as car emission, population control and wastage of resources is considerably lower. Asked in the quantitative survey about a few current environmental issues, respondents felt overwhelmingly that restraint should be exercised in mining or

despoiling, or taking the risk of despoiling in any way, the environment near to a


proposed operation, e.g. Fraser Island. The following tables show the current state of public opinion in Sydney and Melbourne on these issues.

Barrier Reef

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Allow mining 7 6 8

Restrict mining 32 34 29

No mining 60 60 60

Don’t know 2 — 4

Obviously there is strong majority support for the Barrier Reef being declared a National Park. As evidenced in the qualitative work, Australians will take on an environmental cause if it pulls at the ‘national heartstrings’. They will react emotionally rather than intellectually to such a cause and be prepared to take action, even if only signing a petition on its behalf.

Protection of the Barrier Reef is probably the archetypal example of such a feeling. The above figures confirm this. Support for no mining at all is distributed evenly through all age, sex, and occupational groups.

Sand mining on Fraser Island, Queensland

Confirmation of the belief that a cause is only a cause if it evokes some feeling of national pride is shown below on the attitudes to mining the little known Fraser Island.

(Base: total respondents)

Preserve the whole island Mine some sandhills but not others Mine wherever there are minerals as long as sandhills are restored

Don’t know

Total Sydney Melbourne

(798) (403) (395)

% % %

34 36 32

9 9 8

54 54 54

4 1 6

People either show a lot of faith in the ability of miners to restore natural situations, or are ignorant of the implications of mining such natural structures. It is noteworthy, however, that they’re willing to give the green light to miners if they’re told that the area will be restored. Even one in two people who have been actively involved in some environmental issue came down on the side of mining.

It was notable in the qualitative work conducted in Brisbane that Fraser Island was much more of a prominent issue than it was in either Sydney or Melbourne. The island, better known and valued in Queensland, evokes a local pride rather than a national pride.

Factories with outlets into the Parramatta/Yarra River

This is a local/city-wide issue which again suggests that people will generally opt strongly for the anti-pollution side rather than that of the polluter.


Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

Should be prevented from emitting any % % %

waste into river Should have controlled emission into the 64 66 61


Are acting responsibly enough at the 34 31 36

moment 3 3 2

Don't know * : — 1

*less than 0.5%

The degree of unacted-upon concern is revealed in these figures. The issue of polluted rivers is one that rarely raises any public or individual activity, yet two in three people believe factories on the Parramatta/Yarra River should be prevented from emitting any waste at all into the river.

It suggests that there is a lot of concern in the community that is just waiting for someone to promote and co-ordinate it; that anti-pollution drives, protests, meetings and laws have moral if not active support.

To get over traffic problems

People’s preferences on this move 'universal' question are positive and clear—six in ten recommend improved public transport. This is possibly a little idealistic; people probably recognise and accept that public transport should be improved, but would still want to travel themselves one to a car.

Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

% % %

Should be more and better freeways 19 25 12

Controls on exhaust emissions 18 14 22

People should not be allowed to travel to work one person to a car 5 7 4

Public transport should be improved 58 55 62

It is noteworthy that twice as many Sydney people opted for more and better freeways than Melbourne people. It’s possible that Sydney simply does need more freeways than Melbourne.

Population of Sydney/Melbourne

There is a similar set of answers on this question to the traffic problem question—although believing in the principle of decentralisation, people would probably never think of doing it themselves.

Thus, people opt for decreasing their cities’ populations through decentralisation; in fact 52 per cent of Sydney people, and 37 per cent of Melbourne people.


Total Sydney Melbourne

(Base: total respondents) (798) (403) (395)

Should be allowed to increase at current % % %

rates 20 16 23

Should be stabilised at current levels Should be actively decreased through de-35 32 39

centralisation 45 52 37

Don’t know 1 — 1

Only one in three recommend stabilising current populations, although this included 39 per cent of Melbournians compared with 32 per cent of Sydney people. In Melbourne this was marginally the leading recommendation. The only other groups for which it was the leading recommendation were the 14-18s.

The most important issues

There are no appreciable differences, apart from local v. other, in the way in which Australian urban dwellers rate the pollution problems which face them. The most important problems identified from a list during the quantitative survey revealed that polluted water, rivers and beaches was the most commonly identified problem, said to be the most pressing in terms of action needed and effect on them.

People were given a 4-point scale on which to rate the importance of a series of pollution and conservation problems. Answers were then given value and averaged from: a very pressing problem (4), through a pressing problem (3), a bit of a worry (2), to not really important (1).

These issues are ranked in order of their importance in the table on the following page. People were also asked whether or not that particular problem affected Australia. These results (with their ranking in brackets) are shown with their respective ranking on importance.

Importance Rating Affects Australia


Doesn't Affect Australia %

Issues 1. Polluted rivers and beaches 3.66 96 4 (1)

2. Industrial waste and effluent 3.55 92 7 (2)

3. Sewerage outlets 3.45 89 10 (3)

4. Litter 3.26 87 13 (4)

5. Nuclear explosions 3.13 69 29 (6)

6. World population 3.04 35 64 (Equal 18)

7. Smog 3.03 75 25 (5)

8. Garbage disposal 2.80 64 35 (8)

9. Kangaroo and wildlife pro-tection 2.76 69 29 (Equal 6)

10. World energy consumption 2.75 49 44 (Equal 15)

11. Lack of trees 2.59 60 39 (9)

12. Plastic packages 2.51 55 44 (12)

13. Development of National Parks 2.50 56 43 (ID

4 0

14. R e s o u r c e s a n d f o o d c o n -

sumption 2.42 35 62 (Equal 18)

15. Freeways 2.40 57 42 (10)

16. Oil exploration 17. Australia’s suggested nuclear 2.38 53 44 (Equal 13)

power stations 2.34 49 45 (Equal 15)

18. Jet airliners 2.28 53 45 (Equal 13)

19. Uranium mining 1.91 39 50 (17)


The image of and public attitudes to environmental activists

Activists are looked on by most Australians as being a bit strange. However this attitude seems to be giving way to a less sceptical one, doubtless the result of several successful activist campaigns. People do not like to join losing sides and as environmental activists win a battle here and there people seem to look on them as

being less ratbaggy and more legitimate. This legitimacy is emphasised by the lack of political content of most protests. The rise of the Resident Action Groups has also augmented public attitudes to the ‘greenies’. Environmental activists are still regarded by many people as being stirrers

and troublemakers, holding up vast constructions and something called ‘progress' just to save a tree. While they may appear ridiculous to some they are nevertheless seen as important, principled and sincere fighters for their cause by an increasing part of the

community. The environmentalist is seen as a bit of a do-gooder, sincere, not afraid to go out on the streets and demonstrate, or on TV speak his or her mind on an issue; something most Australians would be loath to do.

How do you make an activist?

Most activists recount that they became involved in one group or another as a result of a concern for one single issue, usually local, which attracted their interest and support. Thereafter they maintained contact with the group and became interested in other issues and disputes of an environmental nature. There is no clear profile of an

environmental activist which requires him or her to come from one social class, background, occupation or income group, or particular political allegiance. Teachers, however, are often well represented among their ranks, as are some school kids and younger people.

The incidence of environmental activists who attend council meetings before they become activists was quite high. Other activists hear about a particular group or demonstration through the media or by word of mouth and just come along.

Politicisation and environment groups

It is evident from talking to environmental activists that they are fairly politicised members of the community. The political significance of the environmental question is not lost to them. They realise full well why things are like they are and why more isn’t being done. They are aware of who profits from environmental pollution and who

suffers, who pays for it and who doesn’t. Those who belong to environmental activist groups tend to be political animals as opposed to apolitical animals. They are aware of what the odds are against them as individuals but equally aware and positive of the influence they wield as important

social pressure groups. They have achieved a great deal in terms of influencing


government, industry and public opinion in the past five to ten years with relatively little financial or numerical backing.

Morale in the environmental movement

Despite their triumphs in the past the movement appears to be in the doldrums at the moment in terms of morale and public support. They believe there is an untapped committed body of public support for them but they are depressed because they can’t get people to join their organisation, or to go to meetings, or demonstrate. They feel however that the increasing number of technically competent (scientists, engineers, chemists, etc.) people joining their ranks will really turn the tables in years ahead in the battle with industry to put a clear case on projects with pollution potential

Attitudes of environmental activists

The attitudes of the activists bring more sharply into foctis the generally felt fears and hopes of the public. They are fairly scathing in their condemnation of the efforts of State Government and councils and wary of the Federal Government, even the Labor supporters amongst them.

They would like very much to see the Federal Government take the lead in environmental protection, but they are still overcoming the effects of a Government which ruled for 23 years and did virtually nothing, rating environment as a low priority.

They were heartened that the Federal Government formed a ministry exclusively to look after the environment, but they are waiting sceptically for something of substance to happen. Conservationists tend to be politically cynical. Clearly they believe that the Federal Government and government agencies should take control of the environment in the public interest, but they do not believe that the job can necessarily be trusted to governments, which they do not believe to be necessarily capable.

They are also in doubt as to whether the Government really does care. They are a group of people who have become embittered by neglect and politically frustrated. They don’t like being a minority, but have become used to being one and thereby exhibit all the symptoms of a frustrated minority.

They want very much to have their own way and they tend to see anyone, governments included, who are not 100 per cent on side, as obstacles and even enemies.

Attitude of environmentalists to the Federal Department of Environment

As with all special interest groups, environmentalists tend to be a little suspicious of governments; they are willing to believe that any government is only mouthing environmental concern rather than doing anything about it. This deep-seated cynicism born of long government inaction on the environmental front, however, is tempered by more realistic appreciation of the progress which has been made in the early 1970s. They would like more money to be spent, and more to be done, but they do admit and appreciate that the first steps have been taken.

4 2




Background and objectives

The major thrust of the attitude research study was to provide a basis from which would emerge various ideas, concepts and a strategy for a final communications campaign. Spectrum recommended that three separate and competing creative teams be commissioned to observe group discussions at the research stage and submit creative concepts for testing during subsequent group discussions.

The Australian Government Advertising Service acting for the Department appointed three executive teams, Murphie and Creather, Magnus Nankervis and Curl, and Paul Jones. AGAS and Spectrum co-operated to evolve a campaign strategy for the campaign.

Originally it was intended to provide the three competing advertising creative teams with a clear interpretation of feelings about the environment held by the individual publics and target groups in the community. The intention was to isolate which particular targets/groups were most likely to respond in some way to a final campaign.

In fact, the initial creative strategy recommendations were necessarily unspecific. Apart from the conservationist anti-pollution axis, no one group or target audience stood out as a particularly high priority in terms of potential communication. And there were no particular issues of great emotional moment important enough to a wide

group of people to be used as a conscience-raising catalyst. It was decided, therefore, in the first place to produce a campaign that communicated with, and was thought provoking to, all elements of the Australian society; and secondly, that the final campaign developed would not centre on any

specific conservation or environmental issue, but rather concentrate on developing awareness of Australian Government legislative action and how it could be used to protect threatened environments. The following describes the process by which the final communication campaign was conceived and developed.

1. Initial research

This consisted of 17 focus group sessions as described in the introduction. They were conducted in a number of areas with a variety of target audiences. The results of these sessions have been included in, and form the basis of, the overall discussion of results. For the purpose of explaining the ad campaign

development, however, they are worth summarising. The initial research results formed the basis of a creative brief for the three teams.

2. Summary o f initial research

The research clearly showed: i) A very low awareness of the existence of the Department and its functions, and a concomitant lack of awareness of the Minister responsible for it. ii) Generally, people show a mostly dormant level of concern for environmental

issues, especially those relating to their immediate surroundings.


Mostly people show the most concern for problems which will affect them directly; some, like uni students and teachers, can see the problem in a world sense. iii) For many there is an underlying belief that man will overcome, through his

ingenuity, the larger environmental problems. The energy crisis will be resolved by man’s resourcefulness and ability to design new forms of energy. iv) There is considerable concern for environmental issues which evoke national pride, e.g. the Great Barrier Reef.

v) For most, however, the concern is academic and passive. The only time people take action on the environment is when it affects them directly. The problem is that many express concern, and would genuinely like to do something about it, but don’t know how to go about it. They are almost totally ignorant of any channels or legislation created to help them. Thus they can take the line of least resistance and remain armchair environmental activists. vi) Another problem which inhibits activity with any sort of protest overtones is

the conformist nature of Australian society. Many people would like to protest but they don’t have the confidence to. They are afraid of being criticised, ridiculed or embarrassed in front of their friends. They are very conscious that Australians don’t like whingers, stirrers or smart alecs. Environmental activists presently enjoy a reputation amongst Australians of being all three. vii) So people would like to do something, but either don’t have the confidence to.

or don’t know how to go about it. And they’re unaware of the efforts made by Federal Government to help them.

3. The campaign strategy and creative brief In summary, the creative groups were given the following strategy. The campaign should - tell people about the Department, its Minister, and the legislation that has been

enacted - attempt to give people the confidence to do something about their environmental grievances, and channel them in the right direction - generally raise people’s awareness and consciousness of environmental issues

and problems, and induce some urgency about it The campaign should be directed at the general public.

4. The concept The three creative teams presented the following material for testing and further development. (i) Paul Jones: A radio campaign, remarkable for its dramatic use of time (2

minutes) and of sound effects. It consisted of descriptions of, and discussions about, a random grab-bag of environmental issues, topics and events and, like the other ads, talked of government legislation and the Department. It was generally serious in nature. (ii) John Nankervis & Ted Curl: Both a radio and a TV campaign. The former

concerned an individual attempting to have a wrecked car removed from his street, and encountering the usual bureaucratic buck passing. It presented the department and its legislation as a means of avoiding this. It was a humorous presentation. The TV ads were based on a defence platform—defence of the environment—as carried out by a new body named DELSAF (Department of

4 4

Environment Land Sea and Air Forces). It presented, in straight dramatic fashion, the use of DELSAF as the people’s arm to combat various anti- environmental damage and incursions. (iii) Carrie Murphy & Lindsay Creather: A press campaign consisting of five separate environmental issues, each expressed in a separate ad. Each ad was a double-page spread, one page consisting mainly of a graphic photo of the environmental ‘crime’, e.g. a traffic-jammed freeway, the other page

containing a pro forma letter addressed to the Minister, care of the Department, requesting help or advice in counteracting any particular environmental 'crime’ that concerned them. Serious in nature.

5. Concept testing The executions were put into a second phase of focus group sessions, described in this report’s introduction. It was decided, contrary to the original intention, that since the communication was being aimed at the general public, it would be okay for

all of these sessions to be conducted in Sydney. The results of these sessions also form part of the general discussion of results. Their specific intention, however, was to determine which execution was most likely to have the desired effect of establishing awareness of the Department and its

legislation, and of stimulating people’s thoughts about the environmental condition.

6. Concept selection The research showed the following: (i) Radio is the most suitable medium, based on the results of this research and the limitations imposed by the Department’s budget.

(ii) The press ads didn’t have the impact of either the radio or TV ads. People did appreciate the idea of a form letter, but doubted the capacity of the Department to respond in any way more or better than they currently do, or anyone else does. (iii) Generally the graphics communicated, but in a forced situation and in a

rational manner. There was a definite feeling that they carried less emotive impact than the radio ads. They certainly aroused less reaction. If the Department was fully set up to handle inquiries, these press ads would then be useful as an adjunct to any radio (or TV) campaign. But by themselves

they carried little weight. The TV campaign for DELSAF tended to polarise people. About half appreciated the idea of environmental defence forces, while others thought the concept overly militaristic.

Invariably they all took the concept literally and thus found the situations far-fetched. And again people disbelieved that the Government could act in a speedy manner to overcome environmental problems. (v) That left the two radio ads, both also tested in an unfinished form, the first of

about 4\ minutes’ duration (to be reduced to 2 mins), the second about 2 mins. Both were unique in their extended use of radio time; the first was also unique in the manner in which it presented its message in that time.

How not to do it As a glaring example of this how-not-to-do-it style of department, consumerists cite Chrysler’s ‘Your Man in Detroit’ program. This was centred around one Byron Nichols, a former Chrysler

marketing executive who was suddenly presented to the nation in a saturation advertising campaign as ‘Your Man in Detroit’. People were invited to send their complaints to him and


were promised swift action. The trouble was, consumer organisations claimed, Mr Nichols didn’t answer letters, could never be contacted by phone, and apparently just referred complaints to regional representatives and dealers—a similar procedure to that of many

manufacturers who laid no claim to having a special consumer spokesman. It wasn’t long before the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington based Nader organisation, was receiving more complaints about Mr Nichols than about Chrysler cars.9 In fact, the Center went on to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, charging that the Ύ our Man in Detroit’ program was deceptive promotion.

Describing the program as ‘a hoax on the public’ and ‘nothing more than a sales gimmick', the Center’s petition said flatly, ‘We know of no instance where Mr Nichols has modified or gone outside the normal chain of command to assist a customer’.10 Ford, too, ran into hot water with its ‘No Unhappy Owners’ program, which in fact produced hordes of them. As soon as Ford announced the program, the Center for Auto Safety sent them a stack of complaints they’d previously received from Ford owners. They all came back again with a letter saying that owners should contact Ford’s regional representatives—‘which proves’, says CFA’s Mrs Angevine, ‘they hadn’t even read the letters. We’d already done that’.8

8. Reported in ‘More Talk than Action on Consumer Complaints’, B usiness W e e k, 19 May, 1973, p. 66. 9. Ibid. 10. Reported in the N e w Y o rk Tim es, 18 May, 1972.

(vi) As a result of this presentation, the first ad seemed to touch some emotive chord in all who heard it. It had an emotive and dramatic effect, it demanded a hearing people couldn’t get away from. Words such as ‘provocative’, ‘striking’, ‘irritating’ and ‘scares me’ were used to describe its impact. This reaction was especially the case for the second half of the ad which included a credible and recognisably personal invitation to do something about your environment by writing to the Minister. (vii) Unlike the other ads, however, the ad suggested that the Minister would act,

but did not state or hint that he, or the Government, could fix your problem immediately. One of the dangers of any campaign for the Government would be a flood of inquiries that, because of various reasons, remained either unanswered or took too long to answer or act upon. This would place the Government

squarely with other bodies—the State Governments, the local councils—as inept and bureaucratic in their action in this area. The long-term development of the Federal Government as a credible defender of the environment could be sabotaged if this situation ever arose. We therefore urge the Department to ensure that all solicited inquiries from the public are promptly and satisfactorily answered.

We refer the Department to an account of a roughly similar solicitation campaign conducted by Chrysler in the U.S. (see page opposite)—taken from a report by John Clemenger Pty Ltd, Consumerism: The Corporate Response, page 36. (viii) The second radio ad probably had the largest number of people identifying

with it, because of two familiar situations. Firstly, people either knew personally of, or had the image of, the buck passing from authority to authority described in the ad. Secondly, most had had, at some time or another, a car dumped or left stranded in their street. People were interested and impressed by it.

People acknowledged the situation, and enjoyed the humour of the ad. But unlike the first ad, it did not strike such emotive chords in them; it was neither as urgent nor as challenging. (ix) While people identified with the second ad, it suffered from the point made

earlier about government response. It suggested that the Federal Government

4 6

could have a dumped car removed (or any other environmental problem attended to) quicker than could the police or local authorities, an improbable situation given the current set-up of the Department. It is worth repeating that this would be the quickest and easiest way for the Department to lose its credibility. Further, this would be living up to people’s expectations—another well-intentioned but bumbling bureaucracy. (x) The second ad also had the problem that it rubbished the police and local

authorities for their buck passing. While this may be true, it is hardly politic for the Federal Government to say so. (xi) Spectrum’s recommendation was therefore to use the first radio ad. The major objections were that it was too long and that some of it was trivial or hard to

understand. Both of these objections were removed by cutting it back to its intended 2-minute length accomplished in meetings between the Department, Spectrum and Paul Jones (the winning creative team). The 2-minute Paul Jones concept was used as a model for a series of radio ads in 120-second, 90- and 60-second slots.

Sydney and Melbourne were chosen as a test market for the campaign, scheduled to go to air 13 May 1975 for three weeks. The scripts of the radio commercials which comprise the pilot campaign can be found in Appendix III of this report.



Discussion Tapes


Although it was not technically possible for Spectrum to video-tape the group discussion held during phase one of the research study, most of the group discussions were tape-recorded for reference purposes and, on the Department’s instructions, for their use as an aid in reading the final report.

Accordingly, Spectrum tape-recorded all of the groups except those held in Brisbane (children and women). It should be noted that a few of the tapes are incomplete The tapes supplied with this report are raw and unedited and should be heard in that context.

4 8



This appendix contains the scripts for the radio campaign written by Paul Jones and based on the Spectrum attitude and concept research, forming the basis of a two-week intensive radio campaign conducted in Sydney and Melbourne. The campaign was run in these two main population centres as an exploratory campaign. The campaign consists of one 120-second ad, two 90-second ads and four 60-second ads.






Now weTe going to play some obscene sounds right here on your radio.

The beach looks flushed today.

Turn on your tap and get hot and cold running crud.

Each day you should take a few deep breaths of smog to wake you up . . .

It’ll make you feel rotten.

I wish 1 was born with ear lids.

What did you say?


empty tinnies. . . this beach is full.


. . . the trees don’t grow . . . and the air don’t flow no more.



Pollution, pollution . . .

Is killing my country.

More wood chips means less native trees. Why not turn the whole country into a national park.

4 9




Why not buy less packaging and more bulk food. That would save some trees. Yeah national parks don’t grow on trees you know.

Only by each man, woman and child acting individually and or collectively can these obscenities be stopped.

Acting individually. Acting individually. Acting individually.

Water pollution is obscene Air pollution is obscene Industrial waste is obscene Litter is obscene Trees are not obscene It is obscene to sit there and not act against these obscenities.

The Australian Government has re­ cently enacted environment protection legislation which you can use to help prevent these obscenities from happen­ ing. If in your considered opinion you believe that someone is planning an environmental obscenity in your neigh­ bourhood or district or anywhere else in your country, and you don’t know what to do about it, write with as many factual details as possible to:

Dr Moss Cass Minister for Environment Parliament House Canberra He will attend to your inquiry in one of two ways.

If it is a matter that can be dealt with by the Australian Government, he will start the process of investigation and action. If it is something which is a state or municipal responsibility, he will let you know exactly whom you should contact.

It is obscene not to protect the children and the future. Teach your children well.

If you think it’s un-Australian to rock a boat then think about what it might be like for your children if they end up with no boat to rock.









There she blows.

Let’s play 'W ho’s the Polluter’ game.

This is the oil that filled the ship that broke in half that spilled it out that killed the fish

that lived in the bay beside the refinery that refined it down for the man who filled

the tank of the car in the garage of the house that you built.

There’s our little conundrum: now who’s the polluter?

It’s the ship.


The drilling crew, it’s the drilling crew. No, good try, not the drilling crew. Give up . . .

The answer is . . . the polluter is you. Ahh ummm . . . I'd never have guessed that.

When you think about it, if we didn’t drive our cars as much as we did. If we took more trains we’d use less oil, and less oil means fewer tankers . . . and

fewer tankers means less risk to marine life. Now we’ll pause for a message from our sponsor.

If destruction of the environment offends you, there is something you can do about it. You could form or join an environmental action group. You can

find out about these groups by contact­ ing the New South Wales Environment Centre in Sydney.

Action through these groups in the past has been successful in preventing en­ vironmental obscenities from happen­ ing. In the future the Australian Depart­

ment of Environment will assist more groups with more grants. Let’s prevent


environmental obscenities before they happen. We can do it together.

The legislation is there and Australia is the only country we’ve got.

QUIZ ANNCR Well folks that’s the end of this show,

but you can play it at home . . .

VOICE TRAILS OFF this is the can

that was filled with beer that Johnny bought and threw away . . .








There she blows.

Let’s play ‘Who’s the Polluter’ game.

This is the oil that filled the ship that broke in half that spilled it out that killed the fish that lived in the bay

beside the refinery that refined it down for the man who filled the tank of the car in the garage of the house that you built.

There’s our little conundrum: now who’s the polluter?

It’s the ship.


The drilling crew, it’s the drilling crew. No, good try, not the drilling crew. Give up . . .

The answer is . . . the polluter is you. Ahh umnim . . . I’d never have guessed that.

When you think about it if we didn't drive our cars as much as we did. If we took more trains we’d use less oil. and less oil means fewer tankers . . . and fewer tankers means less risk to marine life.

Now we'll pause for a message from our sponsor. If destruction of the environment offends you, there is something you can


do about it. You could form or join an environmental action group. You can find out about these groups by contact­ ing the Victorian Environment Centre,

or the Australian Conservation Foun­ dation in Melbourne.

Action through these groups in the past has been successful in preventing en­ vironmental obscenities from happen­ ing. In the future the Australian Depart­

ment of Environment will assist more groups with more grants. Let’s prevent environmental obscenities before they

happen. We can do it together. The legislation is there and Australia is the only country we’ve got.

QUIZ ANNCR Well folks that’s the end of this show,

but you can play it at home . . .

VOICE TRAILS OFF this is the can

that was filled with beer that Johnny bought and threw away . . .







In the shade of the high rise apartment . . . the trees don’t grow . . . and the air don’t flow no more.

Pollution, pollution . . .

Is killing my country.

More wood chips means less native trees.

Why not turn the whole country into a national park. Why not buy less packaging and more bulk food. That would save some trees.

Yeah national parks don’t grow on trees you know.

Only by each man, woman and child acting individually and or collectively can these obscenities be stopped.

Acting individually Acting individually Acting individually Water pollution is obscene



Air pollution is obscene Industrial waste is obscene Litter is obscene Trees are not obscene It is obscene to sit there and not act against these obscenities.

The Australian Government has re­ cently enacted environment protection legislation which you can use to help prevent these obscenities from happen­

ing. If in your considered opinion you believe that someone is planning an environmental obscenity in your neigh­ bourhood or district or anywhere else in your country, and you don’t know what to do about it, write with as many

factual details as possible to:

Dr Moss Cass Minister for Environment Parliament House Canberra He will attend to your inquiry in one of two ways.

If it is a matter than can be dealt with by the Australian Government, he will start the process of investigation and action. If it is something which is a State

or municipal responsibility, he will let you know exactly whom you should contact.

It is obscene not to protect the children and the future.

Teach your children well.

If you think it’s un-Australian to rock a boat then think about what it might be like for your children if they end up with no boat to rock.



breaths of smog to wake you up . . .

COUGHING It’ll make you feel rotten.

I wish I was born with ear lids. What did you say?

5 4


empty tinnies . . . this beach is full.


. . . the trees don’t grow . . . and the air don't flow no more.

TOM LEHRER TRACK Pollution, pollution . . .

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG Is killing my country.

ELECTRONIC MUSIC VOICE ONE More wood chips means less native


VOICE TWO Why not turn the whole country into a

national park.

VOICE THREE Why not buy less packaging and more

bulk food. That would save some trees.

VOICE FOUR Yeah national parks don’t grow on trees

you know. Only by each man, woman and child acting individually and or collectively

can these obscenities be stopped.

Acting individually Acting individually Acting individually If you’d like the latest information on what the Australian Government is doing to help you protect your environ­ ment write: Dr Moss Cass Minister for Environment Parliament House Canberra Australia is the only country we’ve got. Protecting it is everyone’s responsibility.

There she blows. Let’s play 'W ho’s the Polluter' game.

This is the oil that filled the ship that broke in half that spilled it out

that killed the fish that lived in the bay beside the refinery











that refined it down for the man who filled the tank of the car in the garage of the house that you built.

There’s our little conundrum: now who’s the polluter?

It’s the ship.


The drilling crew, it’s the drilling crew. No, good try, not the drilling crew. Give up . . . The answer is . . . the polluter is you. Ahh ummm . . . I’d never have guessed that. When you think about it, if we didn't drive our cars as much as we did. If we took more trains we’d use less oil, and less oil means fewer tankers and fewer tankers means less risk to marine life.

Well folks that’s the end of this show. It was brought to you by the Australian Government Department of Environ­ ment, but you can play it at home . . .

this is the can that was filled with beer that Johnny bought and threw away . . .

Water pollution is obscene Air pollution is obscene Industrial waste is obscene Litter is obscene Trees are not obscene It is obscene to sit there and not act against these obscenities.

The Australian Government has re­ cently enacted environment protection legislation which you can use to help prevent these obscenities from happen­ ing. If in your considered opinion you believe that someone is planning an environmental obscenity in your neigh­

bourhood or district or anywhere else in your country, and you don’t know what to do about it, write with as many factual details as possible to:

Dr Moss Cass Minister for Environment


Parliament House Canberra He will attend to your inquiry in one of two ways.

If it is a matter that can be dealt with by the Australian Government, he will start the process of investigation and Action. If it is something which is a State

or municipal responsibility, he will let you know exactly whom you should contact.

It is obscene not to protect the children and the future.

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG Teach your children well.

If you think it’s un-Australian to rock a boat then think about what it might be like for your children if they end up with no boat to rock.



STRAIGHT ANNCR Do you know what would happen if you

took an eyedropper and dropped just one drop of oil into a small goldfish bowl. That one drop of oil, any oil, would kill all of the fish in the bowl.

Can you imagine then what’s happening down there in the rivers and creeks that run through some of our industrial areas. Tons of waste, oils and chemicals are being dumped every day. Does that upset you? If it does, and if you think

that there are others who feel as you do, why not form an environmental action group, or join an existing group.

You can find out about these groups by contacting the Victorian Environment Centre, or the Australian Conservation Foundation in Melbourne.

Action through these groups in the past has been successful in preventing en­ vironmental obscenities from happen­ ing. In the future the Australian Depart­

ment of Environment will assist more groups with more grants. Let’s prevent environmental obscenities before they happen. We can do it together.

The legislation is there and Australia is the only country we've got.




STRAIGHT ANNCR Do you know what would happen if you

took an eyedropper and dropped just one drop of oil into a small goldfish bowl. That one drop of oil, any oil, would kill all of the fish in the bowl. Can you imagine then what's happening down there in the rivers and creeks that run through some of our industrial areas. Tons of waste, oils and chemicals are being dumped every day. Does that upset you? If it does, and if you think that there are others who feel as you do, why not form an environmental action group, or join an existing group.

You can find out about these groups by contacting the New South Wales En­ vironment Centre.

Action through these groups in the past has been successful in preventing en­ vironmental obscenities from happen­ ing. In the future the Australian Depart­ ment of Environment will assist more groups with more grants. Let’s prevent environmental obscenities before they happen. We can do it together.

The legislation is there and Australia is the only country we’ve got.