Essential Report

Reflection of JobKeeper surplus

Jun 2, 2020

Q. Last Friday the Federal Government announced that, due to an accounting error, the number of people on JobKeeper is around half what the Treasury estimated it to be. The current cost of JobKeeper has consequently been reduced from $130b to $70b.

How do you think this reflects on the government’s credibility?

    Federal Voting Intention
Total Labor Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Very poorly 18% 30% 6% 24% 22%
Quite poorly 23% 28% 16% 37% 27%
Quite well 11% 12% 14% 8% 5%
Very well 5% 4% 5% 0% 10%
Does not affect the Government’s credibility 43% 26% 59% 31% 37%
TOTAL: Poorly 41% 58% 21% 61% 49%
TOTAL: Well 16% 16% 19% 8% 15%
Base (n) 1,059 299 413 95 136
  •  43% of the public do not think the error causing the re-estimation of the JobKeeper cost affects the Government’s credibility, 41% think it reflects Very or Quite poorly.
  • Most Coalition voters do not think the issue has affected the credibility of the Government (59%), while the majority of Labor (58%) and Greens (61%) voters think it reflects poorly.

Alternative spending options for JobKeeper surplus

Jun 2, 2020

Q. On which of the following would you prefer the Government use the $60B it has previously allocated to the JobKeeper program?

    Federal Voting Intention
Total Labor Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Extend financial schemes supporting those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic (JobSeeker increases, JobKeeper and free early  learning childcare) beyond their current end dates 35% 40% 28% 48% 29%
Broaden JobKeeper scheme to include universities, migrant workers and employees of companies owned by foreign governments 20% 23% 15% 25% 24%
Put money towards reducing national debt accumulate during the Covid-19 pandemic 45% 37% 57% 27% 47%
Base (n) 1,059 299 413 95 136
  •  A third of people would prefer the JobKeeper budget to be spent on extending the scheme beyond its current end date, with a further 20% preferring the scheme to be broadened to include more workers. 45% want the money to be put towards reducing the national debt.
  • Younger people (aged 18-34) are more likely to want the money extending (42%) or broadening the scheme (29%) compared to those over 55 (25% and 16%).
  • Over half of Coalition voters (57%) and retired people (58%) prefer using the money to reduce National debt, rather than providing more support for those who have lost work due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Read Essential's ongoing research on the public response to Covid-19.

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