Australians don’t buy the Coalition’s argument that the government is engaging in “class warfare”, according to new polling from Essential Research.

A quarter of the electorate don’t know what to think, but a near majority believe the government is trying to ensure all Australians benefit from the mining boom and other wealth derived from Australia’s resources and economic development.

Asked if they sided with the federal opposition that criticising and increasing taxes for Australia’s richest people and companies meant the government’s approach amounted to “class warfare”, only 28% agreed. Forty-six per cent saw more validity in the government’s position.

Not that the dispute did much to shift the ALP vote. Labor is crawling back its primary and two-party preferred vote, but still faces a 12 percentage point gap with the Liberal/Nationals. All they’ve achieve is to repair some of the negative shift during the current parliamentary drama and taken their two-party preferred vote back to levels from this time last month.

Essential’s poll of 1048 respondents had trouble answering whether interest rates had gone up or down since Labor was elected in 2007. Of those who did take a guess, just 35% correctly said rates have lowered under Labor. In fact rates have dropped significantly — now 3.75% from 6.75% when Labor took power. A majority see that change as a good thing.

Essential Research asked voters who benefits most from the increasing number of casual and contract jobs. With very little difference for party alignment, a majority of voters think the trend benefits employers alone (55%) and a smaller group reckon workers and employers benefited equally (28%). Even among Liberal/National voters, no more than 8% thought workers benefited most from the trend.

Voters split over whether the trend should be left in employees’ hands or intervention was required. Nearly half (48%) thought employees should be required to provide more permanent jobs, while 41% of respondents thought employers knew best whether to offer casual or permanent jobs. Only Liberal/National voters favoured leaving it up to employers by a slight majority.

Peter Fray

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