As in previous surveys of recent years, the 2019 Survey finds a high level of public support for increased spending on public services, particularly in health and aged care, education and social security.
Consistently throughout the Survey’s history, respondents have reported feeling that high-income earners and big business do not pay their fair share of tax, and that tax avoidance by large corporations undermines the fairness of our tax and transfer system. These findings are repeated in 2019.
The proportion of Australians who believe they pay too much tax has increased by almost ten percent over the last five years. At the same time, we have seen a decrease in the proportion of respondents who said they were personally willing to pay more tax to fund services in health and education. These changes in attitudes have occurred during a period when wage growth has stagnated across the economy and revelations of tax avoidance and minimisation by wealthy individuals and companies have increased markedly.
The strong sense in successive Tax Surveys that the wealthy are not paying their fair share of tax is again reflected in overwhelming support for the so-called “Buffet rule”. Australians strongly support measures that will see tax minimisation by high-income earners reduced. This also applies to measures that will close existing tax loopholes, such as the abolition or restriction of negative gearing, which continues to enjoy a high level of support amongst respondents to the survey.
For the first time, we asked Survey participants this year whether they supported an increase in the rate of Newstart, the unemployment benefit, and found that a majority did so. Views on this measure differ considerably according to voting intention, with Labor voters and supporters of other parties and Independents far more likely to support raising the rate than Coalition voters.