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Who actually supports penalty rate cuts for workers?

Unions and workers protest to demand better wages and increased job security in Melbourne, Australia on April 10, 2019. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

We’re hurtling quickly towards the federal election, which will be fought and won over some key topical issues, with cost-of-living rating high as a key concern among voters.

Living costs outstrippping household incomes by 2.9 per cent over the last three years have plummeted us into the “biggest fall” in standards of living we’ve seen in three decades, according to a recent report by the ACTU.

And casual workers are among those who are being hit hardest: due to the 2017 public holiday penalty rate cuts, hospitality and retail workers saw an estimated $80 million in lost pay across Easter alone, according to figures from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work.

It’s clearly unpopular with workers. So who actually supports these penalty rate cuts?

While some political issues can be divisive, it appears most Australians across the political spectrum are supportive of reinstalling the penalty rates to pre-2017 levels.

According to ABC’s VoteCompass data, the vast majority of Greens and Labor voters wanted to see the rates reinstated, with 79 and 83 per cent agreeing that cuts to Sunday penalty rates should be reversed.

The majority of One Nation voters also felt the same, with 61 per cent in favour of seeing cuts reversed.

However, Liberal-National Coalition are split almost exactly down the middle, with 39 per cent agreeing and 40 per cent disagreeing that the penalty rate cuts should be reversed.

Penalty rate cuts: Who wants them? (Source: ABC/VoteCompass)

By area, its unsurprising that those living in wealthy electorates with a low percentage of technical and trade workers and a high concentration of white-collar professionals are least keen to see penalty cut back to where they were two years ago.

Penalty rate cuts: Who wants them? (Source: ABC/VoteCompass)

Only 44 per cent of voters living in the blue-ribbon seat of Curtin were supportive of reinstating penalty cuts, compared to 82 per cent of voters in the safe Labor seat of Chifley.

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