Voters don’t just want Bronwyn Bishop to stand down as Speaker, many want her out of Parliament altogether, today’s Essential Report shows. And, in a bad sign for the government’s campaign against Labor’s 50% renewable energy goal, they’ve rejected the government’s narrative about electricity prices and the carbon price.
Just 19% of voters think Bronwyn Bishop should remain as Speaker; 25% think she should stand down while an investigation is conducted, 19% think she should simply resign as Speaker. And another 24% think she should quit Parliament entirely.
That includes 11% of Liberal voters who want her gone altogether, and another 14% who want her to quit as Speaker. Bishop is now embroiled in another scandal over her use of taxpayer funds to travel to the wedding of one-time hard-right colleague Sophie Mirabella, for which Tony Abbott himself repaid travel entitlements.
Voters have also rejected the government’s argument that the repeal of the Gillard government’s carbon pricing scheme would reduce the costs of electricity. Treasurer Joe Hockey just yesterday insisted “electricity prices have come down $550 per household” as a consequence of the removal of the carbon price. But 51% of voters say their electricity prices have increased in the last 12 months, with just 9% saying they’ve decreased; more than a fifth of voters say prices have increased a lot. And while Labor voters (58%) are slightly more likely than Liberal voters (51%) to say prices have increased, there’s minimal differences overall between voters, which must be galling for a government that has made repealing the carbon price one of its biggest boasts.
Worse, voters explicitly reject the government’s attempts to link a carbon price with electricity price rises. Only 21% of voters agree the carbon price had a big impact on electricity prices.
More than 50% of Liberal voters don’t believe the carbon price had a big impact on prices, and over 60% of all voters say it had only a small or no impact.
This spells trouble for the government’s and News Corp’s efforts — already underway, in a joint campaign in which the Prime Minister is taking his cues directly from the Murdoch media — to link Labor’s goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030 to higher electricity prices, given a carbon price is more clearly linked in voters’ minds to a direct price impact than more general government support for renewable energy.
Essential also asked about voter support of various tax reform options, following up a question last asked in March. Support for forcing multinational companies to pay a minimum tax rate on Australian earnings has strengthened marginally since March (76% to 79%); support for higher taxes on high income earners is down a fraction (65% to 63%) but removing superannuation tax concessions for high earners is now backed by 59% of voters, rather than 55%. Support for removing negative gearing is up (33% to 37%), but still well short of majority support and not well understood, and removing GST exemptions has actually gone backwards in terms of support, 36% to 33%, but 24% of voters now back raising the GST, up five points.
Voters don’t support a GST rise even if offset by income tax cuts, with 42% saying they oppose such a trade-off, and 38% saying they support it — with Liberal (for) and Labor/Greens (against) voters splitting over it. When asked whether they would prefer a rise in the GST or a rise in the Medicare levy, as proposed recently by the Victorian and Queensland premiers, voters preferred the former — raising the GST just edges increasing the levy, 35% to 33%. Again, voting intention reflected views here — Labor voters prefer raising the Medicare levy, Coalition voters prefer raising the GST. Greens voters are less divided but tend to prefer raising the levy.
On voting intention, the Coalition has lost a point on its primary vote (40%) while Labor remains on 38% and the Greens on 11%. That pushes the two-party preferred outcome out to 53%-47% in Labor’s favour.