PM backs budget despite lukewarm polling response

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has defended cost-of-living relief measures despite the federal budget failing to spark a major boost in the polls.

The $300 rebate for household energy bills proved popular, with 72 per cent of people supporting the measure, according to a Resolve poll conducted for Nine newspapers.

There was a similar level of support for a $1 billion package to extend and expand domestic violence programs, while revamped tax cuts received 68 per cent support.

Overall on the budget, 40 per cent believed it was good for them or their household, while 21 per cent thought it was bad.

There were similar figures for people who thought it was good or bad for the country and for the economy.

But more people thought it was bad for inflation, with support dropping to 34 per cent and disapproval up to 27 per cent.

However, the prime minister said the budget measures would not cause a rise in inflation.

“One of the things that we were determined to do was provide cost-of-living relief without putting pressure on inflation,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.

He said the government determined that every single person was worthy of the energy rebates and it was more efficient to do it across the board.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said he was unfazed by the polling numbers on the budget.

“The way that we are managing the budget and the economy responsibly, combined with the way that we’ve designed our cost-of-living help, will be part of the solution to our inflation challenge, not part of the problem,” he told reporters in Gladstone.

“I’ll leave it to others to pour over the opinion polls, I’ve been focused on a whole different set of numbers.”

Despite the budget polling, Mr Albanese also led as preferred PM in the latest Newspoll conducted for The Australian 52 to 33 per cent over Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, with 15 per cent uncommitted.

Labor leads the coalition 52-48 on the two-party preferred vote in Newspoll as well, a change from last month’s 51-49.

Newspoll put Labor’s primary vote at 34 per cent compared to the coalition’s 37.

Those who thought the budget was good and bad sat at 27 per cent a piece, while almost half of Australians remained uncommitted.

Almost 40 per cent thought it would be bad for inflation, compared to 34 per cent who thought it would make no difference and 15 per cent who thought it would make it better.

Opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume said the Reserve Bank was unlikely to change its forecasts for inflation purely based on the budget figures.

Tuesday’s budget had predicted inflation would return to the target band of between two and three per cent, a year before the Reserve Bank had foreshadowed.

“The Reserve Bank board aren’t stupid, they know that an artificial, small reduction in headline inflation isn’t enough to help sway their decision to lower interest rates sooner,” she said.

“Australians are paying a price for that.”

 

Dominic Giannini and Andrew Brown
(Australian Associated Press)

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Categories: Finance