Australian politics can be vague and confusing at the best of times. Add five prime ministers in as many years to the mix and an upcoming federal election is enough to make anyone want to pull the covers over their head until it goes away.
But never fear – we’ve done the hard work for you! See our breakdown of some of the key issues of the Labor Party and the Liberal Party in the upcoming election.
Looking to reduce the time it takes for you to get to work in the morning? Both Liberal and Labor have plans to invest and expand on infrastructure over the next four years. Both aim to improve maintenance and congestion on major roads, the efficiency of our public transport system, as well as driver safety. Both plan to expand the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program that focuses on the safety of truck drivers, as well as the Bridges Renewal Program that oversees the upgrade and maintenance of major bridges. Liberal is looking to invest in a fast rail between Melbourne and Geelong, as well as starting work on the long planned Western Sydney Airport. Alternatively, Labor is focusing on the development of a high-speed rail between Brisbane and Melbourne, going via Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra.
Both Liberal and Labor plan to strengthen primary care services, offering increased support to doctors, nurses, midwives and specialists. They both plan to strengthen rural access to the healthcare system. Liberal’s Stronger Rural Health Strategy will invest $550 million to deliver an additional 3000 doctors and more than 3000 additional nurses and GPs to rural areas over the next decade. Labor will offer an incentivised program for primary care professionals to work in regional, rural and remote areas and will work to ensure that primary care remains affordable by supporting Medicare patient rebates that preserve universal access.
To offset rising house prices, the Liberal Party plans to reduce the cost of living for everyday Australians through offering affordable healthcare, reducing electricity prices and by banning excessive credit card surcharges. They also plan to support First Home Super Savers Accounts to help first home buyers save at least 30% faster by salary sacrificing up to $30,000 per person for a home deposit.
Labor plans to reform negative gearing and the capital gains tax on residential investment housing. They plan to do this by limiting negative gearing to only investments on new housing and halving the capital gains tax discount to 25%, as well as by restoring a limit on borrowing from Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs). Labor also plans to implement a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process to coordinate and facilitate a vacant property tax across all of Australia’s major cities and plans to double the application fees that apply to foreign investment in new residential properties.
The Liberal Party plans to deliver long term structural reform by lowering the 32.5% tax rate to 30% from 1 July 2024. This will cover all taxpayers earning between $45,000 and $200,000, which means that 94% of taxpayers will pay no more than 30c on the dollar.
Labor will offer tax reforms by removing barriers to investment and workforce participation, supporting families and making superannuation fairer. Labor plans to minimise marginal tax rates, particularly on those moving from welfare to work and on second income earners in low- to middle-income families. Labor also plans to remove opportunities for tax avoidance by high income earners, including better targeting of tax concessions and reducing loopholes that wealthier people use to reduce their tax liabilities.
Climate Change 🌿
In the area of renewable energy, Liberal plans to construct Snowy Hydro 2.0, which will be the world’s second largest pumped hydro renewable power station and will provide 175 hours of storage – enough to power 500,000 homes. Liberal also plans to implement a Climate Solutions Fund that will assist farmers, small businesses and Indigenous communities to reduce emissions, lower energy costs and improve the natural environment. They plan to instigate the Cleaner, Greener Local Communities Initiative to support community-led environmental projects to restore the natural environment and protect native flora and fauna. Liberal also has the Environmental Restoration Fund, which will support practical action on waste and recycling, preserving waterways and supporting native species.
Labor plans to reassert Australia’s support for the Paris Accord Agreements to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Labor plans to grow the renewable energy sector beyond 2020, through policies that plan to deliver at least 50% of our electricity generation from renewable resources by 2030. In line with the Accords, they plan to adopt post-2020 pollution reduction targets, including reducing national carbon emissions by 45% off 2005 levels by 2030. Labor also plans to work in partnership with businesses to develop industry specific goals and targets. By liaising with unions and transport authorities on these issues, Labor aims to ensure that workers aren’t unfairly impacted by these policies.