As politicians return to the business of running the country, the latest Newspoll results reveal that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s party is in for a tough time selling the idea of an increase to the GST, with 54 per cent of Australians opposed to the changes.
The exact question asked of the 1837 voters from 28 January to 1 February was, “If the government were to introduce tax cuts for all income earners and compensation to low-income earners and welfare recipients as part of a package of tax reform, would you be in favour of, or opposed to, the raising of the GST from 10 per cent to 15 per cent?”
Results returned with 37 per cent in favour of the change, 54 per cent opposed and nine per cent remained uncommitted.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed last week that changes to the GST were “certainly being actively considered by the government”. Treasurer Scott Morrison backed that statement this week by declaring that he will convince the Australian public of the need for an increase in the GST.
“We’ve got to do what’s right. That’s what we’re focused on, I believe that’s why the Turnbull government is getting the strong support which is also reflected in today’s survey,” he said.
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Treasurer Scott Morrison had nothing to hide when talking to journalists yesterday, with his speech all but confirming his stance and that of his party in moving towards an increase in the rate of the GST. Labor believes the GST rise from 10 per cent to 15 per cent (representing a 50 per cent rise) is the smoking gun it needs to peg back the 53-47 two-party preferred lead that Prime Minister Turnbull’s party currently holds.
It’s timely that The Australian, through its latest Newspoll, asked such a specific question with regards to a GST increase, focusing on a rise that doesn’t disadvantage low-income-earners or welfare recipients. Such a specific question tells us that the Turnbull Government may have read and agreed with the research released late last year by Grattan Institute. If the modelling is adopted, the Grattan Institute Chief Executive John Daley believes that people in the bottom 20 per cent will actually be in a better position than they are today.
What do you think? Will the Turnbull Government push through a GST increase in the May budget or will they take it with them to the next election? Is a GST increase the most logical response to a budget deficit? Will a GST increase backfire on the Turnbull Government, giving the opposition a significant opportunity heading into the next election?