FORMER prime minister Tony Abbott has said that the Senate is to blame for the Budget we have, and it is the best the government can do.
Mr Abbott, who is on his way to Israel to receive an honorary doctorate, said he’d had a few text messages from colleagues about the latest Ipsos and Newspoll results which show voter support for the $6.2bn bank levy and 0.5 per cent Medicare hike, but less backing of the Turnbull government.
“I’ve always said that the important thing was to get the policy right … and the polls will follow,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.
‘They don’t always follow quickly – sometimes they don’t really follow ‘til polling day – but nevertheless you cannot govern in accordance with the polls.”
The budget was the best the government could do in the circumstances after the Senate rejected many of the savings measures he and his treasurer Joe Hockey wanted, Mr Abbott said.
Meanwhile Malcolm Turnbull has welcomed the latest Newspoll results which show voters support a new tax on the big banks and even a rise in the Medicare levy – but not the government itself.
The Prime Minister said the poll results showed the 2017 budget had been given “a big tick of approval” from voters.
He brushed off other results which showed the Coalition still trailing Labor 47 to 53 per cent despite the strong support for key budget measures.
“There is only one poll that really counts, that is on election day, but I do take notice of the polls naturally,” Mr Turnbull told Sydney radio station 2SM.
“The most important thing is the polling results today, which are very emphatic and well beyond the margin of error or anything like that, show there is strong support for the budget.”
Their comments come after two major polls today showed Australians overwhelmingly supported a new tax on banks and lifting the Medicare levy to pay for disability services.
More than half the respondents to the latest Newspoll supported the 0.5 per cent Medicare levy hike from 2019 to cover the funding gap for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
And 68 per cent approved of a new $6.2 billion tax on Australia’s big five banks, even though 71 per cent of respondents said they did not believe the banks were justified in passing the cost of the levy to customers.
The Turnbull Government did not gain a lift in support with its 2017 ‘reset’ budget however.
The Australian reports that voters have moved to Labor and the Greens to give Bill Shorten a bigger lead in two-party terms, compared to the last poll three weeks ago, which showed Labor ahead by 52 to 48 per cent.
The blow to the Coalition came despite an improvement in Malcolm Turnbull’s personal satisfaction ratings and a lift in his results as preferred prime minister, where he widened the gap against Mr Shorten with 44 per cent approval compared with 31 per cent.
Mr Turnbull said the more important result was reaction to the budget.
“People think it’s fair, they support the major bank levy by a very big margin, they support the adoption of the Gonski formula and a fair, needs-based approach to schools’ funding by a big margin, they support the Medicare levy increase by a very big margin,” he told 2SM.
“What that means is the budget has got a big tick of approval and that is what it’s all about.
“We want the senators to listen to the sentiment that’s being reflected from the public and support all those measures when they come to the senate.”
The Greens primary vote grew from nine to 10 per cent and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation slipped from 10 to nine per cent.
Health Minister Greg Hunt would not be drawn on whether the Government was disappointed by the results but welcomed the “very strong” support for the Medicare levy hike.
Mr Hunt told ABC radio today Australians understood it was about helping those with the greatest need.
He did not rule out a compromise to push the Medicare levy hike through the Senate but slammed Labor for only supporting the 0.5 per cent increase for workers earning more than $87,000.
“Bill Shorten has always believed until this moment that it was fair; he said anybody who didn’t support a universal NDIS half a per cent levy was dumb,” Mr Hunt said.
“I think that was a bit rude and a little bit over the top but the whole point is he didn’t just believe in this, this was a fundamental principal he believed in which he seems to have walked away from.”
The Newspoll survey of 1716 voters was taken from Thursday to Sunday. A Fairfax-Ipsos poll also published on Monday morning similarly puts Labor support at 53 per cent to the Coalition’s 47 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, but Labor’s lead slipped eight points from last month’s reading of 55 per cent.
Fairfax puts the decline in Labor support down to those surveyed overall satisfied with the Turnbull government’s budget plans.
According to The Australian, the latest Newspoll suggests the Turnbull government has failed to generate a swift reward from its dramatic move to “reset the budget” by using tax hikes to replace divisive spending cuts.
A key finding was that 45 per cent of voters believed they would be worse off from the budget, a result that is better than the record 69 per cent finding on the divisive May 2014 budget but the second-worst for a federal government since 2000.
Another 19 per cent said they would be better off from last week’s measures, a level that is higher than the response to the May 2014 budget and in line with the reaction to the past two Coalition budgets, The Australian reports.
Online Source: news.com.au