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Poll finds widespread support for cigarette tax

Australians overwhelmingly support the federal government’s decision to increase the tax on cigarettes, a new poll has found.

Treasurer Scott Morrison’s first budget handed down on May 3 included the plan to increase the tobacco excise by 12.5 per cent every year from 2017 to 2020.

It will see the cost of a packet of 25 cigarettes rise to roughly $40 within the decade.

An Essential Research poll has revealed 72 per cent of voters approve of the policy, compared to 21 per cent against.

The policy is expected to raise $4.7 billion over four years.

“If you want to have less of something, you increase the tax on it. That is how health organisations justify and urge governments, as we are doing, to increase the tax on tobacco,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Sunday.

Labor first flagged the idea last year, but the party is now facing criticism from the Coalition over how much it believes will be raised through the tax.

Treasury forecasts the tobacco excise will raise $28.2 billion over a decade, rather than the $47.7
billion the Opposition said it would reap.

“In terms of the cost of this we stand by our independent Parliamentary Budget Office; that’s an organisation who assess the policies of Oppositions and cost their ideas,” Opposition leader Bill Shorten said over the weekend.

“The Government has taken our policy, and that’s fair enough, because I think when you’ve got a good idea they should be bipartisan.”


The poll conducted between the 5th and 8th of May of more than 1000 voters shows while the budget has not been the Coalition’s most popular, some of its measures are welcomed.

More than 80 per cent of voters support the government’s decision to address tax avoidance by multinationals, and close to 70 per cent support the plan to offer internships for young unemployed adults.

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