The main political promises of the Labor Party and the Coalition during the 2022 federal election campaign

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Politicians make promises, promises and all kinds of persuasive offers during election campaigns.

But it is not easy to follow the flow of announcements from the main parties.

Before heading to your local polling station, find out about the key promises – or lack thereof – on five key issues.

child care

Childcare fee relief during the COVID pandemic has brought the question to mind for many families. The prospect of easing the financial burden on parents, as well as encouraging primary carers to return to work, has seen major parties propose significant changes.

Earlier this year, the Coalition increased childcare subsidies by 30% for families with two or more children (to a maximum of 95%) and promised to remove the annual cap at the end of the year. ‘year. The policy costs $1.7 billion over three years.

Labor responded to this pledge and offered to extend the subsidy to families with only one child in childcare, but at a cap of 90%. The work also proposes extending subsidies to more affluent families.

Major parties are proposing significant changes to child care subsidies.(ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach)

Currently, grants are means-tested and removed when parents earn a total of $354,305 a year, but this amount would be increased to $530,000 under a Labor government. It is one of Labor’s most expensive pledges, costing $5.4 billion over 4 years.

The Greens want to make childcare free and universal, offering up to 100 hours a fortnight of fully subsidized childcare, at a cost of $19 billion over 4 years.

Health care

After two years of life dominated by the ravages of a global pandemic, health has not been the electoral contest one might have expected.

The Coalition and the Labor Party have battled to bring down the cost of drugs.

The Coalition’s promise to cut the cost of prescription drugs by $10 per script was delivered and lifted by the Labor Party with a promise to cut them by $12.50. The Coalition has a few other policies to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for older Australians and those who need a lot of drugs.

Labor has pledged to set up 50 urgent care clinics by giving existing medical facilities more funding to extend their hours and range of treatments in a bid to keep patients with minor injuries and illnesses off the wards. emergency. This pledge is worth $135 million over 4 years.

But neither major party has promised to tackle what state premiers – Labor and Liberals – desperately want, namely permanent and equal cost-sharing of public hospitals.

Politician Adam Bandt stands inside a building, speaking into two microphones while wearing a suit and glasses
The Greens’ Adam Bandt will launch a policy to bring dental services into Medicare.(ABC News: Nicholas Haggarty)

Currently, the Commonwealth pays 45% of the annual increase in the cost of providing services in public hospitals, capped at 6.5% per year.

But with health care costs rising far more than the cap each year, states are having to pay an increasingly larger share of the costs.

They called on the Commonwealth to remove the annual cap and split the costs equally. But Scott Morrison rejected their appeal and Anthony Albanese only offered to sit down and negotiate the matter.

Debt and deficit

Economic management was at the heart of this electoral campaign, as in every national election. But despite all the rhetorical questioning about who can be more trusted to run the economy, the Coalition and Labor have broadly the same approach to reducing Australia’s trillion dollar debt.

Both eschew spending cuts, other than variations on civil service spending crunch (with the Coalition increasing the “efficiency dividend” for government departments and the Labor Party pledging to reduce reliance on consultants in the public sector).

Both also avoid raising taxes or passing new ones, with the limited exception of the Labor Party’s promise to plug loopholes that multinational corporations exploit to avoid paying taxes.

Office workers silhouetted against daylight, crossing a street
The three major parties have different approaches to managing the government workforce.(Ezra Bailey/Getty Images)

Instead, both sides promise to improve economic growth to the point that revenue gradually exceeds spending so that the budget will eventually return to balance and debt will be repaid over time.

But the Greens are proposing a tax increase, or rather, seeking to reverse a planned tax cut. The so-called ‘Phase 3’ income tax cuts have already been legislated by the coalition and agreed to by Labour. These are changes that will remove the 37% tax bracket entirely, benefiting Australians earning more than $120,000 a year.

Climate change

The climate policy contest has been characterized by both internal strife and partisan debate. But the main parties decided on their climate policies long before the official election campaign and settled for focusing on other issues.

The Coalition and Labor both support the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, while the Greens want that milestone to be reached by 2035.

The Coalition is not budging from its Abbott-era goal of cutting emissions by 26-28% by 2030, though it projects it will comfortably exceed it.

Labour’s target of 43% by 2030 has been backed by business groups, but not by environmentalists, who say it should be in the region of 60-75%.

But it’s not just a question of how quickly emissions should be reduced: how to do so is equally contested. Labor’s approach centers on a $20 billion government intervention to accelerate upgrades to the national power grid to meet the influx of renewable energy, which has different demands from a system dominated by coal energy.

It also intends to make better use of the “safeguard mechanism”, to gradually tighten the limits of pollution by the largest industrial emitters.

Aerial view of sheep roaming among solar panels at Numurkah Solar Farm
The Coalition and Labor both support the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, while the Greens want that milestone to be reached by 2035.(ABC News)

The Coalition’s ‘tech, not taxes’ approach involves funding the development of low-emission technologies – ranging from carbon capture and storage to ultra-low-cost solar power – based only on affordable alternatives. must be developed in order to achieve an overall objective. reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Greens pledge to use all the levers at their disposal in the next parliament to push for a faster transition to renewable energy generation and for an immediate halt to new coal, oil and some gas.

They also proposed renationalizing the power grid and 10-year wage subsidies for coal workers leaving the industry to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the rapidly decarbonizing economy.

Housing and home ownership

Affordability for buyers and availability for renters are twin crises across the country. While the Coalition and Labor pledge to address both, the struggle to buy a house has received more attention in this election campaign.

The Coalition is encouraging older Australians to downsize by offering them more tax relief, to increase the supply of family homes on the market. More controversially, it would also allow Australians to use up to $50,000 of their retirement savings to bolster their loan deposits.

Labor is emphasizing its ‘equity sharing’ proposal, which would see the Commonwealth buy up to 40% of a house.

Both major parties support an expansion of existing guarantee schemes, where people only need a 5 or 2% deposit to avoid mortgage insurance from the lender.

Without initiatives to stimulate supply, some economists have suggested that many of these policies will lead to further house price inflation. But it comes down to planning and regulation, requiring complementary action by state and local governments.

For tenants, immediate relief is not in sight. Labor has pledged to build 20,000 social housing units over five years through a Housing Australia Future Fund.

The Coalition promotes the maintenance of the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation, which underwrites loans for community housing organizations. While increasing the housing stock in the coming years is vital, it will not help families who are struggling to find affordable housing right now.

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