on air now

Australian population not working for a living, but voting for it

New research suggests a big chunk of the Australian population is now “voting for a living,” rather than working for it.

With ABS figures suggesting half of all Australian households receive more in government benefits then they pay in taxes, it seems the beneficiaries of government largesse now collectively constitute a political force that’s big enough to bias policy outcomes.

And it seems they’re biasing them in favour of the existing welfare-orientated status quo, doing away with fiscal responsibility and budget surpluses.

“This is sort of distorting the system, skewing it in favour of the protection of existing benefits or the creation of new benefits,” says Robert Carling from the Centre for Independent Studies.

“There is a strong resistance to any withdrawal of existing benefits.”

It’s thought this voter aversion to having benefits removed is making paying back the debt a harder task, with government now using money as a way to win votes, especially in key marginal seats.

“The political parties know this political force is there and policies increasingly are catered towards this group.”

“So we have political parties behaving as if the dollars spent on something is the most important thing and a measure of their commitment to it, rather than trying to make the existing amount of expenditure more effective.”

Michael McLaren says this begs the question of whether it’s government who is responsible for the deficit, or whether we should be laying the blame on ourselves.

“So is this the political classes fault, or is it our fault as voters?”

Click PLAY below to listen to the full interview