Shared sacrifice in the two Australias

Public service Wages Parliamentarians Politicians Australia
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To understand public sentiment toward the concept of shared sacrifice, the Institute of Public Affairs commissioned polling from the polling and data firm Dynata. The poll of 1,012 Australians aged 16 and above was undertaken between 24-26 April and posed the statement “Politicians and senior public servants on salaries of $150,000 should have their pay reduced by 20%”.

The response in support of the statement was overwhelming and widespread, with some 74 per cent of respondents agreeing and just 10 per cent disagreeing. The remainder neither agreed nor disagreed.

Support for pay cuts of politicians and senior public servants was also shared across the age spectrum. The lowest agreement rate being those aged 16-24, 63 per cent of whom agreed. Although this relatively lower rate was driven by indifference rather than opposition; only nine per cent disagreed while the remainder neither agreed nor disagreed. All other age groups had an agreement rate of above 70 per cent.

The point is not that public servants should be needlessly punished. But that it is unseemly for a small group of elites to be seen to be – or to actually be, in practice – prospering at a time of great economic and social upheaval which is devastating the lives of millions of mainstream Australians.

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