Nanny State policy is bad politics too

Yesterday Julie Novak warned the Rudd government that using Nanny State taxes to fix his budget deficit was a bad idea.

Today at a press conference Kevin Rudd has given a strong hint he’s planning to do exactly that.

He would do well to read this August 2012 IPA Review article by Christian Kerr:

It only rated a brief mention at the start of the 2010 Victorian state election campaign, but a leaked Labor strategy document revealed fears the party was vulnerable to a backlash on Nanny State issues.

‘White males aged between 30 and 50′, along with farmers and regional city residents-the voters who so unexpectedly tipped Jeff Kennett out in 1999-were angry at speed camera fines and a perception that they lived under excessive government regulation.

Galaxy polling taken for the Institute of Public Affairs last year found a majority of Australians-55 per cent-believe the country is becoming a Nanny State with too much government intervention and control of people’s day to day lives. The figure was unchanged from 18 months before, when the question had last been asked.

What had changed, however, was the vehemence with which voters agreed with the proposition. ‘In the latest study, 29 per cent strongly agreed that Australia is becoming a Nanny State, up from 24 per cent last year,’ Galaxy reported.

The increase appeared to reflect policy debates over tobacco plain packaging, alcopops and preventive health measures that had left respondents unimpressed.

‘The majority of Australians do not believe that plain packaging will be effective in reducing consumption for a range of products,’ Galaxy found. ‘Overall, 66 per cent do not believe that plain packaging will be effective in reducing consumption of cigarettes, little different to fast food (68 per cent) and alcohol (74 per cent).’

Nanny State tax increases are not just bad policy – they’re bad politics too.


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