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August 11, 2021

Universal basic income supported by most Australians

Universal basic income supported by most Australians

According to a survey commissioned by Anglicare Australia, a social welfare advocacy charity, 77% of Australians back a basic income above the poverty line.

The study explored the impact that a basic income would have on the work, life, and finances of Australians through a quantitative survey. Data from a representative sample of 1,000 respondents was collected in early May 2021.

Participants were given a summary of a basic income proposal that would be universal, unconditional, and adequate. The survey was split into three parts, and participants were asked about: (1) how they would change the way they spend their time or organize their life; (2) their own experiences of work and income insecurity; and (3) their overall support for a basic income.

The results showed that just under 40% of respondents felt that a permanent basic income would help them reduce debt or save more. Over a fifth would spend time volunteering, or caring for friends or family. In all, 39% of participants had experienced income insecurity in the past year, with young people being the worst affected. Support for a basic income was at 77%, with 51% strongly supporting such a policy, and 3% strongly opposing it. Men were more likely to oppose a basic income than women.

The report recommends the adoption of a permanent basic income and the development of a social security system that supports prevailing labor market trends, such as the desire to work in a more responsive workforce.

IZA World of Labor author, Ugo Colombino, has argued in his opinion piece, that there are misperceptions of universal basic income which can often prevent adopting such a policy, for example expense, when compared with other income support approaches; and it would decrease labor supply.

Read Ugo Colombino’s opinion piece “Four mistaken theses about universal basic incomes,” and his article “Is unconditional basic income a viable alternative to other social welfare measures?