The Government is suffering a huge public opinion crisis, as the result of the Centrelink debt-recovery debacle and misuse of political entitlements.
A ReachTEL poll commissioned by GetUp! has revealed increased support for the Opposition, with Labor now leading the Coalition 54 points to 46 in two-party preferred voting.
Primary support for the two major parties may be deadlocked, but most respondents who are ‘undecided’ said they would vote Labor, to the tune of 33.3 per cent versus 19.4 per cent. Even those who are still making up their minds (58.5 per cent) have said they would preference Labor higher than the Coalition.
The poll also revealed that One Nation ranks above the Greens in popular support, with 9.7 per cent supporting Pauline Hanson’s party compared to 8.9 per cent for the Greens.
The ReachTEL poll focused mainly on the Centrelink issue, which is under fire for sending 200,000 notices of potential overpayment, many of which have been found to be incorrect.
Still, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge maintains that the debt-recovery system is working and has no plans to scrap or suspend the program, even while it is under investigation by the Commonwealth Ombudsman. However, Mr Tudge has instructed Centrelink staff to amend the debt-recovery process, possibly as a result of the Government’s slip in the polls.
GetUp! Campaigns Director, Mark Connelly, questions the ethics of the new system, saying it is unfair that individuals who have received incorrect notices are innocent until proven guilty.
“Centrelink staff used to check and correct these errors, before sending out threatening letters,” he said.
“Now thanks to the Turnbull Government’s incompetence and heartlessness, everyday Australians are being forced to find years-old employment records, or get handed over to ruthless, private-sector debt collectors.
“…When these Government ministers are living such a lavish life on the public purse, they can’t possibly understand how a false $3000 debt can send your whole world crashing down.
“But that’s what’s happening to thousands of Australians each week, from a man with autism, to a single mother at Christmas, to a school teacher taking time off to care for her sick father.”
In an attempt to quash public outcry over the misuse of political entitlements, the PM has accepted a begrudging resignation from his former Health Minister Sussan Ley and has announced a monthly reporting system and an independent body to oversee parliamentarian travel claims.
Read more at The Age
What is your opinion of the Coalition now? Has the Centrelink debacle dampened your view of the Government? Are you surprised that Labor is ahead of the Coalition?