Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s budget gamble falls flat
Australians overwhelmingly support a new tax on banks and lifting the Medicare levy to pay for disability services, according to two major post-budget polls.
More than half of respondents to the latest Newspoll supported the 0.5 per cent Medicare levy hike from 2019 to cover the funding gap for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
And 68 per cent approved of a new $6.2 billion tax on Australia’s big five banks.
But 71 per cent of respondents said they did not believe the banks were justified in passing the cost of the levy to customers.
But the Turnbull Government has not gained a lift in support with its 2017 ’reset’ budget.
The Coalition is still losing ground against Labor to trail by 47 to 53 per cent, according to the latest Newspoll.
The Australian reports that voters have moved to Labor and the Greens to give Bill Shorten a bigger lead in two-party terms, compared to the last poll three weeks ago, which showed Labor ahead by 52 to 48 per cent.
The blow to the Coalition came despite an improvement in Malcolm Turnbull’s personal satisfaction ratings and a lift in his results as preferred prime minister, where he widened the gap against Mr Shorten with 44 per cent approval compared with 31 per cent.
The Greens primary vote grew from nine to 10 per cent and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation slipped from 10 to nine per cent.
Health Minister Greg Hunt would not be drawn on whether the Government was disappointed by the results but welcomed the "very strong" support for the Medicare levy hike.
Mr Hunt told ABC radio today Australians understood it was about helping those with the greatest need.
He did not rule out a compromise to push the Medicare levy hike through the senate but slammed Labor for only supporting the 0.5 per cent increase for workers earning more than $87,000.
"Bill Shorten has always believed until this moment that it was fair; he said anybody who didn’t support a universal NDIS half a per cent levy was dumb," Mr Hunt said.
"I think that was a bit rude and a little bit over the top but they whole point is he didn’t just believe in this, this was a fundamental principal he believed in which he seems to have walked away from."
The Newspoll survey of 1716 voters was taken from Thursday to Sunday. A Fairfax-Ipsos poll also published on Monday morning similarly puts Labor support at 53 per cent to the Coalition’s 47 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, but Labor’s lead slipped eight points from last month’s reading of 55 per cent.
Fairfax puts the decline in Labor support down to those surveyed overall satisfied with the Turnbull government’s budget plans.
According to The Australian, the latest Newspoll suggests the Turnbull government has failed to generate a swift reward from its dramatic move to "reset the budget" by using tax hikes to replace divisive spending cuts.
A key finding was that 45 per cent of voters believed they would be worse off from the budget, a result that is better than the record 69 per cent finding on the divisive May 2014 budget but the second-worst for a federal government since 2000.
Another 19 per cent said they would be better off from last week’s measures, a level that is higher than the response to the May 2014 budget and in line with the reaction to the past two Coalition budgets, The Australian reports.
Read more at The Australian.
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