Come together? The unusual combination of precariat materialist and educated post-materialist support for an Australian Universal Basic Income

Publication Name

Journal of Sociology


International studies using the European Social Survey (ESS) reveal higher support for Universal Basic Income (UBI) in poorer countries with less generous welfare systems, and among individuals with lower income and education, and leftist political leanings. We present data from the 2019−20 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes mirroring the ESS question. Australia falls in the middle of European opinion, with 51% supporting a UBI, increasing slightly during the onset of Covid-19. We also find higher support among two different groups: (1) those facing greater ‘material’ precarity, including younger, low-income, unemployed, suburban renters, and (2) those who have more post-materialist concerns, including Green-left voters and those favouring redistributive values. Unlike in other countries, higher education predicts more support, while homeownership predicts less. The article concludes with challenges to introducing UBI to Australia, including potentially contradictory strategies for different support bases (material vs post-material), ongoing commitments to means-testing, and negative framing in the media.

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