Guardian Essential poll: any changes to negative gearing get lukewarm support

guardian essential poll: any changes to negative gearing get lukewarm support

Anthony Albanese has said the government had ‘no intention’ of changing negative gearing, with the Guardian Essential poll finding there was no majority support for broader tax reform. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Voters have given a tick of approval to the Albanese government’s changes to income tax cuts, but are lukewarm on broader tax reform, including negative gearing.

These are the findings of the latest Guardian Essential poll of 1,148 voters, which found 56% support for providing more benefit to low- and middle-income earners by trimming tax cuts for high-income earners, but less than majority support for other measures reducing tax concessions.

The poll was conducted last week as the Coalition claimed that Labor’s broken promise on stage-three tax cuts sets the scene for further tax changes on negative gearing and capital gains tax (CGT), despite the government insisting these are not on its agenda.

The Greens and crossbench independents have urged Labor to go further to rebalance the housing system in favour of owner-occupiers and address the $50bn cost of rental tax deductions to the federal budget.

The poll found that half (50%) of respondents were in favour of preventing “wealthy families from using family trusts to split their assets to minimise tax”, down four points since the question was last asked in November.

Almost half (44%) support only allowing people to claim negative gearing tax concessions on one investment property, more than double the proportion who oppose the measure (21%), but down three points since November.

A similar proportion (42%) want to “reduce the capital gains tax discount for assets held longer than a year from 50% to 25%”, roughly double the proportion who oppose it (20%).

A little over a third (37%) want to “tax deceased estates worth more than $5m”, down four points since November.

The Liberal senator Maria Kovacic has suggested capping the number of properties investors can negatively gear, thereby deducting rental losses from their wage income, but the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, said on Sunday the government had no plans to do so.

On Monday Anthony Albanese said the government had “no intention” of changing negative gearing and its only tax change on housing had been its “incentive for build-to-rent”.

In its prebudget submission, the Everybody’s Home campaign is calling on the government to abolish negative gearing and the capital gains discount altogether.

Maiy Azize, the campaign spokesperson, said the forgone revenue could build half a million social homes within the next decade.

“Housing in Australia has been rigged against average Australians because the government has chosen to prop up the private market,” she said.

“Handouts like negative gearing and the CGT discount are pushing up the cost of buying and renting, and they’re making Australia more unfair and more unequal.”

In the Essential poll, support was more solid for income tax changes: 30% strongly support the revised tax cuts, 26% “somewhat support”, 28% “neither support nor oppose” and about one in six oppose either strongly (6%) or somewhat (10%).

Despite that, the majority of voters (53%) said it is “never acceptable to break an election promise”, compared with 47% who said “it is acceptable to break an election promise if circumstances change”.

Labor appears to be more trusted than the Coalition on tax. On which political party is trusted to “create a fair taxation system”, Labor leads 31% to 29%, while 41% say there is “no difference”.

On the aim of keeping taxes low, Labor is ahead of the Coalition by 29% to 27%, while 43% say there is “no difference”.

However, the Coalition leads Labor 31% to 27% on the measure of most trusted to “use the money from taxes effectively”.

The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, recorded a four-point boost in his favourability rating, with 32% of responders giving him a positive score of 7-10 on a 10-point scale.

In the week the Coalition agreed to wave through Labor’s tax cuts changes, the proportion giving Dutton a negative score of 0 to 3 fell by three points, with just a third (33%) now rating him unfavourably.

Albanese’s approval ratings were steady with 33% giving the prime minister a positive score, up one point, and 35% a negative score, down one.

The poll found strong support for the right to disconnect, with 59% saying employers should be legally prevented from contacting employees after hours compared with just 15% who oppose the right. On Sunday Dutton vowed to repeal the new right.

The poll showed a deterioration in respondents’ economic wellbeing, with just 30% describing themselves as “secure” because they are “able to pay bills and usually have money spare for savings or buying luxuries”, down eight points since January.

The proportion saying they are “struggling” was up five points to 44% and “in serious difficulty” up two points to 13%. Just 13% describe themselves as “comfortable”.

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