In discussing Australia's need to increase taxes to pay for future social security, Michael Keating worries that voters see taxes as a 'burden' and that 'the link between taxation and citizenship has been broken'. This paper deals with the problem of tax resistance (preferring lower taxes even when tax cuts risk public services) for Australia's welfare state. First, I describe how two Australian fiscal institutions - a residual welfare system and visible income taxes - promote tax resistance among voters. Second, I draw on these insights to develop several explanations for tax resistance: voter self-interest, voter hostility to minorities, voter disengagement (low trust and lack of interest in politics), and individualistic attitudes. The main conclusion is that tax resistance in Australia is institutionalised, making it easier to mobilise interests around low taxes, and harder to advocate for alternatives. Results of multivariate analysis using AES 2004 data indicate that an 'anti-tax coalition' can build on three diverse publics; one of higher and middle-income earners attuned to self-interest, another hostile to welfare beneficiaries, and another 'tuned out' of politics and willing to support any call for tax cuts. Inevitably, the debate about the welfare state is shadowed by a debate about voter willingness to pay taxes that finance it.