A majority of Australians support the introduction of universal basic income, according to a new study by the Green Insitute and YouGov, so… can we make it a thing already?
After the absolutely hellish year we’ve had, its hard to see why anyone would be opposed to the system, which would see all Australians (regardless of their income) receive a flat cash payment every month with no strings attached.
More than just being free money to spend on whatever the heck you feel like, universal basic income (UBI) aims to alleviate poverty and allow people to spend time volunteering and contributing to society in ways outside of their 9-5 job. Australians would then, in theory, be free to work jobs for additional income to improve their way of life and live more luxuriously, but wouldn’t need this to fund their bare minimum living costs.
Over 1000 Australians were surveyed for the research and were asked the following question:
“Unconditional income support is sometimes called a Guaranteed Living Wage or a Universal Basic Income. This means that just as we can rely on basic health care and education, everyone in a society has a guaranteed minimum amount of money that they can rely on. Would you support or oppose a guaranteed living wage being introduced in Australia?”
Interestingly, only 18% of survey participants opposed the idea, with only 8% of those “strongly opposing” it.
Meanwhile, a whopping 29% were strongly in favour of the idea, with an additional 20% “somewhat supporting” it.
The results are hardly surprising considering the huge spike in Australians who have found themselves reliant on welfare payments this year, through no fault of their own.
Although UBI is an amazing concept that would, in my opinion, make life exponentially better for most Australians, it’s not something we’ll likely ever see in Australia.
However, the same group of people were also quizzed on the conditions of our current JobSeeker program, which is much more likely to see changes.
“Given this information, to what extent do you agree or disagree that we should provide unconditional income support to those out of work (i.e. without the requirement to apply for a certain number of jobs or to complete a specified number of hours of designated work activities)?” the participants were asked.
Unsurprisingly, the results were pretty similar, with 50% of participants agreeing that we should provide unconditional support to the unemployed, while only 23% disagreed.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, ‘mutual obligations’ for income support were suspended, and their reintroduction is already causing great hardship, with payments suspended to 234,000 people, including 9,100 homeless people and over 12,000 First Nations people,” Tim Hollo, the executive director of the Green Institute, told the ABC.
“It’s clear that Australians recognise that these conditions are pointless, and it’s time to leave them in our past and move on together.”
A study found a UBI of $18.5K would slash poverty in Australia, here’s how it would work.
At this stage, there is no proposal by the Federal Government to actually implement UBI but hey, a gal can dream.