Labor voters in battleground seats want Jobseeker boost: new polling

The ALP Conference will bolster its income support policy today as new polling shows voters in three key battleground seats want JobSeeker to be substantially increased.

66 per cent of Labor voters in Cooper, Wills, and Macnamara believe the rate of JobSeeker – which will be just $54 a day from September 2023 – is too low, according to an Ipsos poll released by ACOSS.

48 per cent of Labor voters across the three seats said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate if their party was committed to increasing the Jobseeker rate above the poverty line of $76 per day.

The polling also found, across the three seats:

  • 50 per cent of Labor voters don’t believe the current government is doing enough to financially support people living on income support.
  • 79 per cent of Labor voters believe the rate of income support provided by the government should be adequate for people to afford basic daily essentials.
  • 82 per cent of Labor voters agree that the rate of income support should be above the poverty line.

This afternoon, the Australian Services Union will move an amendment to Clause 85 of the ALP National Platform to specify that “keeping people out of poverty will be central to future changes in the social security system”. ACOSS understands conference delegates will support the amendment to strengthen the Party’s commitment to increasing income support payments to an adequate level.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said: “The Government must increase income support payments including JobSeeker to at least $76 a day.”

“Despite being one of the wealthiest nations on earth, one in eight people and one in six children in Australia are living in poverty.

“The cost of living crisis is putting enormous pressure on people on low incomes, many of whom are unable to heat their homes and are going without essentials like food and medication to
afford their bills.

“The Government has the capacity to alleviate poverty by raising income support payments including JobSeeker which is among the lowest unemployment payments in wealthy nations.

“This polling shows that many voters would support income support payments that are sufficient to sustain an adequate standard of living. It’s now time for the Government to make this a reality.

“The cost of living crisis is dire for people living on poverty level income support payments and urgent action is required.”

ACOSS urges that the rate of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and related payments be lifted to match the pension rate, currently $76 a day. The recommendation of its Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee was to substantially increase working-age income support payments.

Cooper is held on a margin of 8.7 per cent from the Greens, Wills is held on a margin of 8.5 per cent from the Greens, Macnamara is held on a margin of 12.3 per cent from the LNP, but with
the Greens coming a close second in 2022 with 27,000 votes.

Methodology: Ipsos undertook polling of 635 Australian citizens aged 18 years and over across the electorates of Cooper, Wills, and MacNamara.