It seems like the majority of Australians know where their mind is at with this election. By the end of Monday 6th May, nearly 1 million ballots had been cast at early voting stations, the highest number it has ever been for an election. The Roy Morgan SMS poll, which had a margin of error of 2 per cent, found 76% of voters had already decided who they would vote for when Scott Morrison called the election. Results also showed that 43.5% were paying “not much” attention, while 26.5% were switched off completely. To the person reading this, have you made up your mind? If you’re part of the minority who haven’t decided, let this article enlighten you on where Scomo and Bill’s heads are at.
The Coalition will rely heavily on its claim that Labor will damage the economy through $200billion in taxes, including the removal of negative gearing and changes to capital gains tax. However, the Coalition is vulnerable and leaning heavily towards future income tax cuts which are geared too heavily towards middle and high income earners. The Coalition is proposing a $158b 10 year income tax cut package including:
Additionally, the Coalition will make no changes to negative gearing or capital gains tax, and will continue distributing cash payments to self-funded retirees as a rebate for franking credits, even though they are not paying tax in that year. This is in clear contrast to Labor’s policy and focal point of attack against Labor’s targeting of people who have worked hard all their years.
As part of the budget week campaign, Scott Morrison has been hammering their support for mental health, remaining the centre of their health offering. Further, the Coalition plans for subsidise a range of drugs for kidney, bladder, liver and skin cancer. This includes cutting the cost of one drug from $155,000 a year to $40 per script. More than $600m will be flooded into youth mental health, suicide prevention and Headspace services, as well as targeting mental health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Coalition promises a new $585 million skills package and a further investment of around $60 million to ensure that more Australians are better equipped with the skills they need. This includes doubling the number of new apprentices to more than 80,000, which will be supported through a trial called the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy. A $4.6 billion package was also promised for Catholic and independent schools, on top of the $23.5 billion already committed over 10 years by the Turnbull government.
On the other hand, the Coalition supports a two-year freeze on funding increases for university commonwealth supported places, which will save taxpayers approximately $2 billion. Additionally, analysts suggest a possibility for vulnerability with the abandonment of a consistent funding scheme for schools, replaced by a disproportionate increase in funding for non-government schools. Although, an emphasis on skills-development is a plus for the Coalition.
The Coalition plans to regain focus on the Pacific region, with a planned $2 billion injection for Australia’s export financing agency to support infrastructure projects in the region, as well as an infrastructure financing facility. The Coalition also plans to reinstate Australia as the region’s partner of choice with plans to set up a Pacific “bank” in an attempt to head off China’s soft diplomacy.
Another priority is to reinforce Australia’s alliance with the United States, as being a part of a network of alliances is essential for the country’s regional stability, prosperity, as well as security.
With regards to the Middle East, under the Coalition government Australia recognises West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while maintaining Australia’s embassy in Tel Aviv, with a trade office to be established in West Jerusalem.
The Coalition’s strategy in the Pacific region is it to establish dominance and cut China’s growing influence. Simultaneously, attempts will be made to balance Australia’s relationship with both the United States and China.
Labor mentioned that it would reject the stage two and three of the Coalition’s tax cuts, as Labor believed that it would only benefit the higher income individuals. They also promised a $1.05 billion over the next four years in order to increase tax cuts for 3.6 million people who earn less than $48,000 and a $350 tax cut for the lower income workers with earnings up to $37,000.
Another policy is regarding the abolishment of negative gearings for investors who buy existing houses from January 2020 as well as to end cash refunds on franking credits. With the abolishment of negative gearing, Bill Shorten argued in a Q and A that he will put the money he gained from this policy to funds people who need education and health, which he believes is more important. As for the ending of cash refunds on franking credits, their aim is to prevent giving cash refunds towards people who already stopped paying taxes that is estimated to raise $10.7 billion over 4 years. In addition to the policy, Labor also add a “pensioner guarantee” to exclude pensioners as well as people with pre-existing self-managed super funds.
Labor has identified healthcare to be a major component of their campaign and has promised markedly different policies, as compared to the Coalition, to be enacted. They promise to roll out a $2.3 billion Medicare cancer plan, that strive to fund 6 million free cancer scans and 3 million free consultations with oncologists and surgeons. These are to be funded by $600 million out of pocket costs and $433 million, respectively, all through Medicare. Labor will continue their fight for cancer research and prevention by providing an expected $1 billion in future announcements.
Hospitals will also receive money in the form of $2.8 billion, including emergency departments and new wards to receive grants of $1 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. Private health insurance will also be capped at 2% as opposed to current rates of 4-5% per year. General revenue is also to fund every drug that has been recommended by practitioners to be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Ultimately, it is Labor’s tight and fierce investment in cancer research that sets it apart from the others in this year’s federal election.
Labor has focused more on providing for young families and public schools in their new educational policies. They directly challenge Liberal’s policy of providing non-government school with 80% of school resourcing standard and only 20% for public schools, by promising an additional $14 billion over 10 years to public schools. $3.3 billion is to be spent in the first three school years of a Labor government, and for the first two years for Catholic schools, they are to receive $250 million. In regards to pre-schooling, three and four years old are to be granted universal preschool access and early childhood education centres will be open 15 hours a week. These centres are to taxpayer-funded at a total cost of $1.7 billion.
Labor also promises to provide for higher education, with TAFE’s and vocational education receiving a $200 million upgrade in terms of facilities, $380 million in creating fee free places and $330 million to create 150,000 apprenticeship subsidies for areas that lack required skill. They also promise to reverse the freeze on Commonwealth grants thereby increasing university places by 200,000.
Bill Shorten mentioned that under his leadership, Australia would speak with a clear Australian accent. He mentioned that America and China’s interest will always not be aligned with Australia, and Australia must speak out of these differences when it occurs. He claimed that voicing differences is the way of friends and allies to engage, and a more independent as well as a confident approach of foreign affairs. Labor also made claims that they would establish a better relationship with the Indo-Pacific region and to provide more aid spending. In one of Bill Shorten speeches, he acknowledges the importance of making strong bonds with countries located in Asia and the business opportunity it has to offer for Australia. For example, he mentioned that most countries in Asia are searching for help in creating infrastructure and public transport to sustain their countries. What Bill Shorten hoped for is that these countries may look into Australia first as a potential business partners to look for.
The CAINZ Digest is published by CAINZ, a student society affiliated with the Faculty of Business at the University of Melbourne. Opinions published are not necessarily those of the publishers, printers or editors. CAINZ and the University of Melbourne do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in the publication.
Maggie is a first-year Commerce student who moved to Melbourne from Brisbane at the start of 2018. She first developed a keen interest in Economics during high school and now wants to pursue a career in the Financial Services industry. When she’s not monitoring the latest market news, you can find her playing cards or making short films with her friends.