Ensuring “open and honest government” ranks in third place, with 28 per cent of respondents nominating it in their top three, followed by concern about global warming and climate change, with 25 per cent putting this in their top three.
“The overarching conclusion we can draw from the data is Australians are largely focused on their own personal wellbeing,” Ralph Ashton, the executive director of the Australian Futures Project, said.
The Australian Futures Project is a not-for-profit charitable organisation with an expressed goal of ending “short-termism” in Australia. It has launched The Perfect Candidate website to allow Australians to compare their top areas of concern to the priorities of Australia’s politicians.
“Beyond these two inward focused concerns, there are broader societal concerns that come through,” Mr Ashton said.
A desire for more open and honest government was an increasing feature of the Australian political landscape, he said.
“The increasing vote going to minor parties and independents is a desire to see change to the political landscape in Australia to ‘try something different’ and penalise the existing two-party duopoly for their perceived failures in providing open and honest government.”
A quarter of voters in the 2016 election cast a vote for a party other than the major three – Labor, Liberal and National parties – up from 15 per cent in the 2007 election.
“Minor parties have increased their share of the vote at every election since the change election of 2007,” Mr Ashton said.
Voters in the western Sydney electorate of McMahon, held by opposition treasury spokesman Chris Bowen, expressed the highest concern in the country about day-to-day living costs – 84 per cent ranking it in their top three.
Residents of inner west seat of Grayndler, held by Labor’s Anthony Albanese, expressed the lowest concern in the country – with just 11 per cent putting it in their top three.
Country dwellers are more concerned about cost of living than city dwellers at 55 per cent versus 50 per cent.
Voters in South Australia are the most concerned at 60 per cent, followed by Queenslanders on 57 per cent.
Women were more likely to express concerned about the cost of living, with 54 per cent putting it in their top three, versus 51 per cent for men.
By age group, cost of living concerns rises to hit a peak among those aged 35 to 49, before falling away again with older age groups.
Jessica Irvine is a senior economics writer with The Sydney Morning Herald.