According to a survey, nearly half the Australian public supports the Howard Government’s handling of Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef’s case while 36 per cent disapprove.
With Haneef’s case dominating the political debate, the Howard Government’s standing on national security slips 5 percentage points to 45 per cent and the Labor’s rises to three points to 33 per cent.
According to a Newspoll survey conducted for The Australian newspaper last weekend, 49 per cent approve Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews’s handling of the Haneef case and 36 per cent disapprove, including 17 per cent of Coalition supporters. Of Australian Labor Party supporters, 38 per cent support Andrews’s decision to cancel Haneef’s visa.
Ever since the detention of Haneef by the Australian Federal Police because of his links with Glasgow airport bomber Kafeel Ahmed, the Howard Government has been accused of running scare tactics and racist “dog whistle” politics to lift its flagging results. But according to Newspoll, the Coalition has not received a bounce out of the withdrawal of Haneef’s work visa.
The latest Newspoll showed satisfaction with Howard at 46 per cent and dissatisfaction at 43 per cent, his best rating in that category since January. On the overall issue of national security, one of the key Coalition advantages over the ALP, support for the Government has fallen since mid-July from 50 to 45 per cent.