Almost half of Australian voters are actively considering or have already given up on the major political parties, new Labor research has found.
Labor strategist Bruce Hawker will outline the study in a public lecture to the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers in Sydney on Tuesday night.
Mr Hawker commissioned the Online Research Unit survey of 527 adults in April, after becoming concerned about populist political movements worldwide.
"To me, Australian populism isn't so much a response to a cataclysmic event," he will say.
"It's more like metal fatigue - the slow reactive process of breaking down resistance until something gives."
The poll found 47 per cent of Australian voters fell into one of three categories: previously supported a major party but a "fair chance" they will vote for someone else; planning on supporting a minor party, including the Greens; and not tied to supporting any one party.
Of this group, almost a third were unemployed, most were aged 30-59 and two-thirds lived in a major city.
Their top four issues were cost-of-living, health/Medicare, housing affordability and jobs.
Mr Hawker said there were some strongly held views about the state of politics among the group of disenfranchised voters.
The most commonly-held belief was the need for a "strong leader who will govern for everyone", with which 87 per cent of voters agreed.
Eighty-one per cent believed the rich were getting richer while others were being left behind, while 78 per cent said the Labor and Liberal parties were "failing Australia".
Most wanted the government to spend more on health, pensions and education, while being highly critical of big business.
Asked what it would take to draw them back to a major party, the voters most highly rated "acting first in the interests of the broad public", "greater vision and leadership" and "more honesty and accountability".
Mr Hawker suggested three solutions, the first of which was for parties to provide strong leaders who speak their minds.
"I think that Labor can renew its engagement with many of the disconnected voters ... by turning their attention much more heavily towards local issues," he said.
"(And) we must always avoid the temptation to ignore, demonise or patronise any part of society."
Mr Hawker's speech will be given in honour of the late Labor minister and judge Frank Walker, whose reforms were "aimed at improving the lot of the men, women and children in our society who are least able to defend themselves".