The agonising within the Turnbull’s government over taxation reform appears to be costing it some electoral skin.
The Newspoll published in today’s edition of The Australian shows the Coalition level with the ALP. It erases a six-point lead the government held late last year.
Malcolm Turnbull remains overwhelmingly the preferred prime minister but the 50-50 result on the two-party preferred measure will inevitably start discussions about the political impact of the past few months of discussing the importance of reshaping the tax system without, as yet, settling on any clear reform pathway.
The key developments over the past fortnight have been the Coalition’s clear abandonment of a GST increase (with income tax and welfare compensation), and Labor announcing a significant proposal for changes to the negative gearing regime, aimed at increasing the stock of available housing. Treasurer Scott Morrison gave an address last week which, while showing a detailed command of the challenges for the Australian economy, did not provide any further clarity on the government’s preferences for taxation reform, widely accepted as increasingly necessary given the pressures on the economy and on middle-income workers.
Turnbull remains by far the preferred prime minister at 55-21 over opposition leader Bill Shorten, but the PM’s approval rating has fallen further and now sits at 48%.