Poll: Australian voters believe jobseeker is too low

Australian Council of Social Service

A new national poll shows an overwhelming majority of people believe jobseeker should be increased, with close to half of people polled willing to support candidates who are commit to doing so.

ACOSS commissioned Ipsos to poll 1,000 adults across the country and found over 76% said they could not live on the current rate of Jobseeker, which is a mere $46 a day. 55% of respondents said they believed the current rate of Jobseeker is too low.

68% said they agreed that the rate of income support should be above the poverty line of $70 a day. This is the bare minimum required to cover the cost of the basics.

Over a third of those polled (38%) either somewhat or strongly disagreed that the Federal Government was doing enough to financially support people living on jobseeker.

There would be little political risk for politicians who commit to supporting a Jobseeker increase with the poll showing 46% of adults interviewed would be more likely to vote for a politician if their party was committed to increasing Jobseeker above the poverty line of $70 per day.

Only 11% said they’d be less likely to do so.

ACOSS Acting CEO Edwina MacDonald said the results showed people want the next government to act and lift the Jobseeker Payment, so everyone has enough to put food on the table and a roof over their head.

“For too long, politicians have tried to justify their inaction on political grounds, but this poll shows they are not justified in that reasoning, the public want to see an increase in the rate of Jobseeker,” Ms MacDonald said.

“This poll sends the next Federal Government a very clear message from the public, the current rate of Jobseeker is too low – it’s time to change course and support people doing it tough.”

“People in Australia are fair minded. They want to see their community get the support they need during tough times. Since the pandemic, more people know what it’s like to have recently lost paid work. Many had a brush with fate during the pandemic, either losing a job or seeing it happen to someone they care about.”

“Poverty is not a natural occurrence in society, it’s a policy choice. The Federal Government could, with the stroke of a pen, lift millions of people out of poverty and they would have strong support from the public in doing so” Ms MacDonald said.

The research was conducted between 28 April and 6 May 2022. An online, self-completion survey was presented to 1,000 Australians aged 18 years and over. All respondents who completed the survey were drawn from a panel of willing research participants. The results were adjusted to reflect the Australian population on characteristics like age, gender, and location. The research is compliant with the Australian Polling Council Quality Mark standards. F

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