Guide to Seven Core Australian Federal Election Policies with Differences between Labor and Coalition for Voters to Consider
While many claim that the two major political parties in Australia are too alike, there are significant differences in policy between them. Here are seven issues to consider when deciding who to vote for in the 2022 Australian election.
The Labor Party will require registered nurses to be present 24/7 in every residential aged care facility. They will also mandate that each resident receives at least 215 minutes of care per day and support aged care workers in their case for a 25% pay rise. Labor aims to improve the quality of food in aged care facilities and promote transparency in the sector by enabling providers to publicly report their use of government funds.
Following the aged care royal commission, the Coalition has announced a $19.1bn plan over five years that will increase home care packages, personal care workers, and training. They will provide bonuses of up to 0 to aged care staff and embed pharmacy services in aged care facilities. While they also support pay rises for aged care workers, the Coalition has not yet committed to funding the proposed pay rise.
Federal integrity commission
The Coalition's federal anti-corruption commission proposal was criticised as insufficient, as it lacked public hearings, public tip-offs, and the ability to make findings of corruption. It also required suspicions of a criminal offence before starting an investigation, which critics deemed too restrictive.
Labor vows to establish an integrity commission with the powers and resources of a standing royal commission, which will have the discretion to investigate MPs and ministers with full retroactive and corruption finding abilities.
The Coalition recently increased subsidies for the second and subsequent children in care. They removed the annual income cap for families earning over $190,000, which had previously reduced incentives for women to return to work.
Labor aims to increase the maximum subsidies for all children in care and lower the income taper so that households can receive higher subsidies while earning more. They will also work to regulate childcare prices and implement a universal 90% subsidy for all families.
According to experts at the Grattan Institute, the new child care policies proposed by the major political parties could have different outcomes for the commonwealth. While the Labor scheme's high cost could be offset by an increase in workforce participation, the Coalition's policies might affect some families negatively by forcing them to switch to alternative forms of child care.
When it comes to climate change, the Coalition has not changed its initial 2030 target for reducing emissions. Instead, it has allocated funds towards low-emissions technology, including gas, which environmentalists view as harmful. The Coalition plans to curb emissions gradually with the help of new technology and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Labor proposes a more ambitious plan that includes creating an organization dedicated to accelerating the implementation of transmission links for renewables. Labor also aims to gradually reduce emissions with the help of an existing Coalition policy. Both parties agree on continuing fossil fuel exports.
Despite swaying voters with their promising campaigns, the outcome of the upcoming elections will ultimately depend on how these policies will affect the economy, the community, and the environment in the long run.
During his campaign, Scott Morrison made a visit to the Alpha Homes display home in Darwin. The Coalition's main housing policy, revealed late in the campaign, allows first home buyers to access up to 40% or $50,000 of their super for their initial home purchase, as long as they repay their retirement fund. The scheme also offers over-55s the opportunity to put as much as 0,000 into their super to encourage downsizing and increase market supply. Critics argue that this plan could raise prices and younger buyers, who usually have little super, may not benefit from it. The Labor party's help to buy plan, in contrast, is means-tested and offers a 40% government contribution towards a new home or 30% towards an existing one for buyers with at least a 2% deposit. Although the plan may push up prices, it is capped at 10,000 a year, limiting its scope.
The Coalition's senior MPs, including the Prime Minister, do not support the Uluru Statement from the Heart's key reform, which enshrines a voice to parliament in the constitution. The minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, has been trying to develop a consensus position towards a referendum, but his attempts have been criticised as not conforming to the central demands of the Uluru dialogues. Labor, on the other hand, has pledged to implement the Uluru Statement in full, including a referendum to enshrine the voice to parliament in the constitution. It has also committed to a Makarrata Commission that will support and fund local truth-telling efforts in conjunction with First Nations groups and local communities.
Despite rising out-of-pocket healthcare costs and pressure on emergency services and hospitals, neither party has announced significant health reforms. Anthony Albanese has stated his willingness to work with state premiers on the issue of financial support for hospitals, but has ruled out making ambitious funding promises before the election. Lastly, the Housing Australia Future Fund to create 30,000 affordable houses over five years, has been proposed, but its impact is considered modest.
Despite concerns raised by experts about the Australian healthcare system, Labor has committed to funding urgent care clinics, although some argue that this is just a temporary solution. In the run-up to the election, Labor has announced a 0m investment for primary healthcare that will go towards infrastructure upgrades for GP practices. The Coalition has also pledged to invest in rural and remote healthcare, including reducing the cost of medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. However, experts remain concerned about the lack of funding for ongoing pandemic impact. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has welcomed Labor's investment commitment while highlighting concerns about Medicare rebates. Health economist Prof Stephen Duckett has described the pandemic as an "elephant in the room" that is missing from the election health policies of both parties.
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