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Voters think crossbench should pass Labor policies if Shorten wins election, poll finds

A majority of Australians say the Senate should support Labor measures including cutting emissions by 45%A majority of Australians want the incoming Senate crossbench to pass key Labor policies if Bill Shorten wins the election on 18 May, including the commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030.A new poll of 1,426 voters commissioned by the progressive think tank, the Australia Institute, finds 58% want Labor’s emissions target passed by the crossbench, including 48% of Coalition voters, 74% of Greens voters and 69% of ALP voters in the sample. Continue reading...

A majority of Australians want the incoming Senate crossbench to pass key Labor policies if Bill Shorten wins the election on 18 May, including the commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030.

A new poll of 1,426 voters commissioned by the progressive think tank, the Australia Institute, finds 58% want Labor’s emissions target passed by the crossbench, including 48% of Coalition voters, 74% of Greens voters and 69% of ALP voters in the sample.

There is also clear majority support for an increase in the tax rate for people earning over $180,000, and more people support than oppose many of Labor’s most controversial revenue measures, including abolishing excess franking credits (44% say pass and 32% say block), limiting negative gearing to new houses (39% say pass and 35% say block), and reducing capital gains tax concessions for property (41% say pass and 34% say block).

The Australia Institute funded survey, undertaken by Dynata in mid to late April, asked voters how crossbenchers should vote on various Labor policies.

The new snapshot of voter sentiment comes ahead of the release of Labor’s final campaign costings, likely Friday.

The final cut of Labor’s numbers will reveal a measure to impose a 30% tax rate on distributions from discretionary trusts in an effort to crack down on income splitting and aggressive tax minimisation by high-wealth individuals, first revealed in 2017, will save $7.69bn over the forward estimates and $26.9bn over the medium term.

The estimate when Labor first unveiled the policy was $4.1bn in revenue over the first four years and $17.2bn over the medium term.

There has been considerable debate over the course of the campaign about what Labor will do if it wins the coming election and its key revenue-raising measures, or its climate policy, are blocked by the Senate.

If Labor wins the election, it will not have a Senate majority, with the balance of power held by the Greens and a number of micro-parties. The latest Guardian Essential poll indicates support for both major parties languishing, with Labor’s primary vote at 34% and the Coalition’s primary vote at 38%.

Some Senate likely players have signalled they are opposed to the proposed overhaul of dividend imputation, negative gearing and capital gains tax, forecast to raise $157bn over the decade.

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has been insisting he will have a mandate to implement his policies if he wins, given most have been telegraphed to voters over two election cycles. But this week he toughened his line, urging voters against supporting minor parties that may block its agenda.

Labor has already committed to making substantial investments in public services as the social dividend of the crackdown on various concessions, so if the Senate blocks the various savings and revenue measures, that would blow a significant hole in the party’s fiscals.

Shorten and other frontbenchers have refused to engage with questions about what would happen in that event.

On the trusts measure – which wasn’t one of the policies surveyed by Dynata for the Australia Institute – the shadow treasurer, Chris Bowen, said the cost to the budget of income splitting through discretionary trusts had now blown out to $7.69bn over the forward estimates, and 93.2% of the value of private trusts is held by the wealthiest 20% of households.

Bowen said this made the case for change. “Labor’s reforms to tax loopholes and concessions – like with income splitting – make the budget fair and sustainable while paying for better schools and hospitals,” the shadow treasurer said.

The breakdown of the Australia Institute survey by voting intention indicates that around a third of Coalition voters want the new crossbench to pass Labor’s most contentious revenue measures despite Scott Morrison campaigning vigorously against them throughout the campaign. Almost half, 48%, want the crossbenchers to legislate Labor’s climate policy.

More Labor supporters support the various revenue-raising measures than oppose them, but the acclamation for the climate change policy is more full throated than the tax measures. Limiting negative gearing concessions is supported by 49%, reducing capital gains tax concessions 46%, dividend imputation is 52%, and the 45% emissions reduction target is 69%.

Even 35% of people identifying as One Nation voters want the 45% target passed, and 53% of voters intending to vote for someone other than the major parties.

Given estate duties made an appearance in the campaign courtesy of a fake news campaign claiming that Labor would introduce death taxes, voters were also surveyed about their attitudes to that policy.

Perhaps surprisingly, 29% of the sample supported estate duties, with 47% opposed. The idea was backed by 25% of Coalition voters, 34% of Labor voters, 41% of Green voters, 24% of Hanson voters, and 23% of voters intending to vote for someone other than the major parties.

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