Returning to budget surplus

Feb 11, 2020

Q. Before the 2019 Federal election, the Government promised the 2019-2020 budget would return to surplus. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about achieving a budget surplus?

  NET: Agree NET: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Unsure
It’s more important to spend money on bushfire recovery than fund the surplus 79% 11% 50% 30% 7% 5% 9%
It’s understandable with the coronavirus impacting trade with China that the surplus won’t be achieved 65% 18% 25% 40% 12% 6% 17%
The government was wrong to announce the budget ‘was back in the black’ before the last election 57% 24% 25% 32% 17% 7% 19%
  • Four in five (79%) agree that it’s more important to spend money on bushfire recovery than fund the surplus; 65% agree that it’s understandable with the coronavirus impacting trade on China that the surplus won’t be achieved; and over half (57%) agree that the government was wrong to announce the budget ‘was back in the black’ before the last election.
  • Coalition voters are least likely to agree that the government was wrong to announce the budget ‘was back in the black’ before the last election (44%); while Labor (70%) and Greens (68%) voters are most likely to agree.

Return to Surplus

Nov 28, 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?

April 4 Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Return to surplus by 2012/13, cut services, raise taxes 14% 13% 13% 19% 7%
Delay return to surplus, maintain services, invest in infrastructure 69% 71% 76% 68% 82%
Don’t know 17% 15% 11% 13% 11%

13% support the return to surplus by 2012/13 if it means cutting services and raising taxes and 69% think the Government should delay the return to surplus and maintain services and investment. Opinions are unchanged since this question was asked in April.

No more than 19% of any demographic or voter group supported the return to surplus by 2012/13.

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Measures Government should take to Return to Surplus

Nov 28, 2011

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

April 4 Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Increase taxes for big corporations 63% 72% 81% 65% 86%
Reduce tax breaks for high income earners 51% 59% 63% 57% 64%
Reduce defence spending 32% 37% 32% 37% 67%
Cut “middle class welfare” such as the Baby Bonus, first home buyers grant and Family Tax Benefit payments 36% 35% 31% 40% 29%
Cut spending on unemployment and disability benefits 21% 21% 15% 28% 13%
It does not need to return to surplus so quickly 38% 58% 65% 56% 61%

The most favoured measures for returning the budget to surplus were increasing taxes for big corporations (72%) and reducing tax breaks for high-income earners (59%).

Labor voters were more likely to support increasing taxes for big corporations (81%).

Liberal/National voters were more likely to support cutting spending on unemployment and welfare benefits (28%), and cutting “middle class welfare” (40%).

Since this question was last asked in April, support has increased for increasing taxes for big corporations (+9%) and reducing tax breaks for high income earners (+8%).

However, the major change since April has been a substantial increase in support for the position that the Government does not need to return to surplus so quickly – up 20% to 58%. This position is supported by 65% of Labor voters and 56% of Liberal/National voters.

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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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