Poll: Boosting Surplus not a Priority

New research shows seven in ten Australians (72%) think that, if Australia is at risk of a recession, the Government should prioritise economic stimulus over the budget surplus.

The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,464 Australians about their economic priorities.

Key Findings:

  • 72% of Australians say that, if Australia is at risk of a recession, the government should prioritise stimulating economic growth. Just 17% say government should prioritise delivering a budget surplus’.
  • Half of Australians think an increase in Newstart is a better way to stimulate the economy, compared to three in 10 who think tax cuts for high-income earners are a better stimulus.
  • Twice as many Australians would prefer a wage increase over a tax cut.

“It’s plain to see the government’s economic priorities are not in line with the majority of Australia,” says Matt Grudnoff, senior economist at The Australia Institute.

“When thinking about the risks of recession, most voters are looking to government to stimulate the economy and that’s consistent across all parties, income groups and ages—this should be a signal to Government that it needs to re-assess its priorities and drop the surplus fetish.

“When asked if they would prefer a tax cut or a wage increase, over half of respondents preferred a wage increase, indeed a wage increase was the preference of voters for all political parties and most income groups.

“When asked which way was better to stimulate the economy, between an increased Newstart allowance or tax cuts for high-income earners, 48% of people said Newstart.

“Only among Coalition voters and high-income earners were tax cuts for high-income earners prioritised over an increase to Newstart.”

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