“This does not mean that our tax system can never be changed or updated, only that changes must be justified and explained.
“This requires a lot of effort and political capital, especially if bipartisan support is absent, because high levels of voter indecision about these policy choices mean they can easily backfire.”
The survey asked voters about relative priorities at a time when the Commonwealth’s debt has reached $889 billion and the budget is expected to remain in deficit for some time, raising questions about whether to cut spending or increase tax revenue.
Asked about these priorities, 37 percent of respondents favored spending cuts, while 14 percent said spending should be maintained and taxes raised. A further 28 per cent said spending should be maintained and Australia should live with the debt and deficits for now, while 21 per cent are undecided.
Coalition voters favored spending cuts with 47 per cent favoring this option, compared to just 27 per cent of Labor voters, while Labor voters favored tax increases, with 19 per cent in favour, compared to just 10 per cent of Coalition voters.
Lowe said on September 16 that there were three main ways to pay for higher public spending on services Australians wanted, saying this meant raising more tax revenue, cutting other areas or making “tough choices on a whole host of structural reform issues” to boost economic growth.
The low level of support for higher tax revenues as the only solution to this problem was shared by the main groups surveyed. Only 6 percent of low-income voters supported this option, in line with 7 percent of middle-income voters and 5 percent of high-income voters.
Only 8 per cent of Labor voters were in favor of raising taxes to pay for things, and just 6 per cent of Coalition voters did the same.
The question was: “Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe recently proposed three ways to pay for more of the services Australians now need and want without going into further debt. What do you think is the best solution?”
Opinion was divided on the best way to cut at a time when Chalmers warns of pressure from rising interest payments on debt as well as four other areas: defence, health, aged care and the NDIS.
When asked to name one priority among those choices, 33 per cent of voters named defence, while 14 per cent chose the NDIS, 11 per cent named health and 4 per cent named aged care. A further 37 per cent were undecided.
Support for defense cuts was higher among Labor voters at 36 per cent compared to just 20 per cent among Coalition voters.
The question was: “The government has identified four areas where there is concern about where the money is being spent. If spending were to be cut by the government, which of these areas should be prioritized for reductions?”
Australians strongly favor higher taxes on businesses as a way to repair the budget, with 60 per cent of respondents backing the idea of increasing the corporate tax rate and 57 per cent supporting the idea of increasing taxes only on resource companies.
While 31 percent supported reducing tax breaks in retirement, 26 percent opposed the idea and 43 percent were undecided.
While 40 percent supported a reduction in tax relief on capital gains, 18 percent were opposed and 42 percent were undecided.
Albanese and Chalmers went to the last option and ruled out changes to capital gains tax and the negative gearing rules that give tax credits to investment properties, but the survey showed some support for those changes.
Asked about a reduction in negative gearing tax breaks, 48 percent of respondents supported the change, while 16 percent opposed and 36 percent were undecided.
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