Taxes and social spending: the shifting demands of the Australian public

Shaun Wilson*, Trevor Breusch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses data from the Australian Election Studies (1987-2001) to investigate the preference for lower taxes or higher social spending among Australian voters. We offer some explanations for the increased support for higher social spending, especially after the election of the Howard Government in 1996. Regression models allow us to distinguish various factors that predict support for higher social spending. The main conclusions of the paper are that support for social spending is higher among voters with 'social-democratic' attitudes and voting preferences but significantly, is also higher among voters who think health and Medicare services have declined since 1998. These findings are discussed in the context of various possible explanations for declining support for tax cuts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


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