Essential Report

Reason for Budget Deficit

Apr 11, 2011

Q. The Federal Government is currently running a budget deficit, but intends to return to surplus in 2012-13. Which of the following do you think is most responsible for the deficit?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Poor economic management by the Government 23% 5% 43% 8%
The cost of the Government’s GFC stimulus packages 19% 19% 20% 21%
Big companies not paying their fair share of taxes 17% 29% 6% 30%
Spending on big projects like the National Broadband Network 14% 8% 18% 10%
Lower tax revenues because of the Global Financial Crisis 13% 25% 4% 19%
Don’t know 15% 14% 9% 11%

Overall, respondents believe the main reasons for the budget deficit are poor economic management by the Government (23%), the cost of the Government’s GFC stimulus (19%) and big companies not paying their fair share of taxes (17%).

Labor voters were most likely to blame big companies not paying their fair share of taxes (29%) and lower tax revenues because of the GFC (25%) while Liberal/National voters blame poor economic management by the Government (43%). Greens voters tended to blame big companies not paying their fair share of taxes (30%).

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Measures to Return to Surplus

Apr 11, 2011

Q. In order to meet their commitment to return to surplus in 2012-13, which measures should the Government take?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Increase taxes for big corporations 63% 79% 51% 77%
Reduce tax breaks for high income earners 51% 57% 46% 67%
Cut “middle class welfare” such as the Baby Bonus, first home buyers grant and Family Tax Benefit payments 36% 33% 41% 39%
Reduce defence spending 32% 36% 26% 51%
Cut spending on unemployment and disability benefits 21% 15% 31% 11%
It does not need to return to surplus so quickly 38% 39% 36% 57%

Overall, the most favoured means of returning the budget to surplus were increasing taxes for big corporations (63%) and reducing tax breaks for high income earners (51%). Both these measures were strongly favoured by Labor and Greens voters.

Although support was less strong, these two measures were also the most preferred among Liberal/National voters.

Note, although 38% thought that the budget does not need to return to surplus so quickly, some of these respondents also agreed with some of the measures listed.

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Federal Budget Surplus

Apr 4, 2011

Q. Do you think it is more important for the Government to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13 as planned – which may mean cutting services and raising taxes – OR should they delay the return to surplus and maintain services and invest in infrastructure?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Return to surplus by 2012/13 14% 16% 16% 9%
Delay return to surplus 69% 72% 70% 72%
Don’t know 17% 12% 13% 19%

69% support delaying the return to surplus if it means cutting services and raising taxes – while 14% think it is more important to return to surplus by 2012/13.

78% of those aged 45+ support delaying the return to surplus.

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