Poll wrap: Here's what Gladstone readers are thinking

GLADSTONE Observer readers have had their say on a range of issues over the past week, from paid parental leave and government debt to university study and health care costs.

Readers were overwhelmingly against new taxes suggested to tackle the nation's growing debt, after the news broke that Treasurer Joe Hockey was considering a deficit levy ranging from $800 to $8000 a year.

Thirty-three per cent of people voting in our poll said the government should handle taxpayers' money better, and 38 per cent said we paid enough tax already.

Of those in favour of the move, 21 per cent said people on higher incomes could afford it, while six per cent would support the move if the income level it started at was raised.

Readers also were overwhelmingly against Tony Abbott's generous paid parental leave scheme, with 94 per cent saying it should be ditched.

Of those, 55 per cent said the country couldn't afford it, and 39 per cent said the present parental leave scheme was sufficient.

Of those in favour of going ahead with the scheme, two per cent said parental leave should be paid at a person's full wage, while another two per cent said parents in the workforce needed to be supported as much as possible.

Heading into state politics, 81 per cent of voters in our poll on whether Campbell Newman should call an early election were in favour of a vote being brought forward.

Independent Peter Wellington last week suggested the Premier was considering an early poll, an idea that was later refuted by Mr Newman.

People keen for an election voted for the sentiment that "the earlier we have the chance to get rid of the LNP, the better".

Eleven per cent of poll voters said the LNP needed more time to clean up Labor's mess, while six per cent wanted the minor parties to have more time to gain ground.

In another poll showing Gladstone people aren't keen on government proposals at any level, 88 per cent voted against calls for university students to pay more for their study.

Federal Education Mininster Christopher Pyne recently backed US-style moves for a heavier burden on students to pay their way.

But 45 per cent of readers said university education should be low-cost so everyone could benefit, while 43 per cent said graduates were our future and should be encouraged.

Six per cent voted for that idea that graduates would earn more and so should pay more, while five per cent supported a fee increase because "nothing is free these days".

There was less agreement between readers over the suggestion that smokers and other people who made 'poor lifestyle choices' should pay more for access to the health system.

The Federal Government's Commission of Audit this week suggested such people could be charged more for private health insurance, while those with poor health would pay more under 'risk equalisation'.

Fifty-one per cent of people voting in the poll voted against the proposal, with 43 per cent saying smokers paid their taxes like everyone else and should be covered.

Eight per cent voted against the proposal because it would mainly impact the poor.

Forty-seven per cent of respondents voted in favour of the suggestion, with 44 per cent saying smokers and people who made poor lifestyle choices were making choices that cost the health system a lot, and three per cent saying everyone should know how to stay healthy by now.



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