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Dissecting party policies: An essential guide

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Dissecting party policies: An essential guide

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Christian Haugen

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Kate Purnell, Reporter

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced last week that the federal election will be held on 18 May 2019. Following the announcement, the ABC released a voting compass which takes users through a series of questions, placing them on the Australian political spectrum.

It can be overwhelming figuring out each party’s policies, who you align with, and sifting through the political rhetoric. The ABC’s compass is a helpful start, measuring your opinion on big political issues including the environment, taxes and immigration, as well as the main parties’ leaders Richard Di NataleGreens, Pauline HansonOne Nation, Bill ShortenAustralian Labor Party and Scott MorrisonLiberal National Coalition.

On completion, a comprehensive and interactive page of personalised results is available where you can see your overall position and your position for each question you have answered, in comparison to the main parties.

What the voting compass lacks is a breakdown specifying each party’s policies and how they affect younger voters by state. The remainder of this article will breakdown the five main parties in WA and how each of their policies affect you, providing further clarity as you head to the polls. Keep in mind it’s important to question and analyse each party’s policies.

 

 

Graph illustrating the responses of 65 young Western Australians on what election issue is most important to them. Data collected by Kate Purnell.

 

ENVIRONMENT

Liberal Party:
The Liberal Party intends to remain on track to meet designated Paris Agreements, designed to lower carbon emissions by 26-28% by 2030. Morrison said: “It is important to have a balance in your emissions policies,” referring to the Liberals’ slower approach to using renewables widely. The party is vocal about potential damage to the economy if a renewable approach is acted on too fast. However, data shows emissions are rising in Australia as a whole, which some attribute to the party cutting the Carbon Tax.

Current renewable energy projects include Snowy 2.0.

Adani coal mines are in the spotlight as the election approaches. Generally, the party has been in support of Adani and allowing coal mining to continue. Liberals support the jobs coal mines provide and the economic prosperity achieved through trade.

Electricity prices have been a key election issue as they continue to rise alongside gas prices. The three reasons prices increase are “whole sale costs, network charges and the retail margin”.  The Liberals work on lowering prices from the retailer.

Disparity between moderates and conservatives in the party can lead to clashing perspectives on environmental policies, as we have seen before with two former PMs Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.

Nationals:
The Nationals’ philosophy of working to combat climate change stems from wanting to protect the natural beauty of regional Australia. The party is focused on maintaining jobs and industry (particularly agricultural) and is prepared to take slower steps that don’t disrupt this.
Financially protecting farmers from droughts and natural disasters is a key issue for The Nationals.

Australian Labor Party:
The ALP wants to cut pollution by 45% by 2030 and net zero by 2050 based on 2005 levels. The party aims to have 50% renewable energy by 2050 and will offer rebates for households switching to solar. The party is set to introduce an electric vehicle initiative which would see 50% of new cars being sold in Australia in 2030 being electric.

Pollution caps are on the agenda for Australia’s biggest industries, excluding the agricultural sector.

The party has had mixed opinions on the proposed Adani coal mine set to open in Queensland. ‘Stop Adani’ critics scrutinize Shorten’s unclear stance. Conflicting opinions between Queensland MPs and MPs in Victoria and New South Wales have arisen and Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek said despite feeling sceptical over the development it is most important that the mine meets legal requirements.

The Greens:
The party aims to achieve 100% renewable energy. However, a time frame to achieve this isn’t given.

Phasing out current coal mines and legislating to ban the development of new ones is a key policy for The Greens. The party aims to create public electricity companies to drive down prices and also to ban fracking. A big investment in electric vehicles to lower emissions is one of The Greens’ targets.

This party completely supports stopping Adani.

One Nation:
The party want to retract Australia from the Paris Agreement due to a perceived lack of evidence of man-made global warming.

One Nation want to keep using and mining coal and to expand the sector. They don’t agree with tax payer subsidies to assist with renewable energy as they don’t believe renewable energy alone can power Australia. They would like to see a nuclear power plant established in Australia.

 

HEALTH

Liberal Party:
This party has named cancer, mental health and drug and alcohol treatment as key areas receiving funding. They are working towards increasing bulk billing and lowering prices for private health care. Liberals are pro-vaccine and limit government funding to parents who don’t vaccinate their children, they are also adding to the list of free vaccines for high school students.

Nationals:
The Nationals are prioritising guaranteed Medicare services in regional areas and looking to increase bulk billing. A push to see better mental health services regionally are also key.

Australian Labor Party:
Labor is campaigning to save Medicare against privatisation. Cancer care has been their biggest pledge for funding. They have announced if elected there is a plan to establish a Health Reform Commission which will prioritise aged care, chronic diseases and public hospitals. Additionally, Labor are pushing for more affordable dental care.

Greens:
The Greens believe in free public health care for all and want a complete shift from privatisation. The party plans to introduce an Independent Preventive Health Commission which will focus on tackling obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Improving mental health services and lowering dentistry costs are also on the Greens’ agenda.

One Nation:
The party want to focus on hospital maintenance and removing management positions and replacing them with doctors and nurses. One Nation supports the use and legalisation of medicinal marijuana in Australia, as well as building specified drug rehab centres and giving parents the power to institutionalise drug addicted children, regardless of age.

 

TAXES / ECONOMY

Liberal Party:
The Liberals are introducing a tax offset for middle income earners that will see 94% of taxpayers pay less than 30 cents on the dollar. They have said the top 5% of earners will still pay one third of personal income tax. The party is introducing further tax relief for small businesses with a turnover less than $50 million.

The party has pledged financial assistance to Perth’s METRONET development.

Nationals:
As part of the Coalition, The Nationals tax and economic policies are aligned with the Liberal Party’s.

Australian Labor Party:
The ALP supports lowering taxes for low-to-middle income earners and increasing taxes for top bracket earners. A key election issue the party has pushed is amending negative gearing, and lowering capital gains tax reducing the tax benefits enjoyed by multiple property owners.

Greens:
The Greens’ economic philosophy is that all essential care should come free or at a very low price for communities. To achieve this this party has stated they would introduce taxes on mining companies’ super profits, pollution taxes and minimum taxes for top earners.

One Nation:
The party supports changing taxation laws so that multinational companies must pay taxes on profits made in Australia. One Nation opposes any rise to the G.S.T due to perceived spending damage and harm to small businesses.

One Nation is open to removing Australia from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Here is a useful article which explains the economic jargon the political parties throw around.

 

IMMIGRATION / SECURITY

Liberal Party:
The party takes a non-compromising stance when it comes to border security. Liberals support offshore processing in detention centres such as Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island, as well as turning back boats if it is safe to do so.

The party support the continued use of Temporary Protection Visas. 

Liberal Ministers have been given more power to revoke visas if non-citizens commit a “serious” crime in Australia.

Liberals support revoking Australian citizenship for dual-citizen terrorists.

Reducing the migration cap and incentivising settling regionally is also on the Liberals’ agenda.

Nationals:
The Nationals take a stance against stopping illicit drugs at the border. Regionally they plan to combat drug dealing and alcohol misuse. Additionally, they want to invest in more CCTV in public areas.

Australian Labor Party:
The ALP supports offshore processing and boat turn backs when safe to do so. However, the party want to increase the number of refugees settling in Australia annually and work on international resettlement options to make detention centres temporary.

The party supports abolishing the Temporary Protection Visa.

Greens:
The Greens believe in limiting armed forces and their philosophy states it is only justified to use force if it is to prevent a major violation of human rights.

The party wants to increase the number of refugees Australia accepts annually.

The Greens support closing all offshore detentions centres and want to instate onshore processing.

They agree with abolishing Temporary Protection Visas and want to introduce permanent visas.

One Nation:
One Nation supports removing Australia from the UN Refugee Convention and placing a travel ban on countries with alleged extremists. One Nation disagrees with permanent visas for refugees.

The introduction of a permanent firearms amnesty is also supported by One Nation.

 

PENALTY RATES/ JOBS

Liberal Party:
The Liberal Party supports cutting penalty rates, which stems from their loyalty and belief in small businesses. High penalty rates on weekends and public holidays can make it difficult for small businesses to turn a profit.

Nationals:
The Nationals’ strong support of small regional businesses aligns their views with the Liberal Party. Therefore, they support cutting penalty rates to assist small businesses.

Australian Labor Party:
Are pro-penalty rates. If they are elected the ALP want to revert penalty rate cuts introduced by the Liberal party. The party believes that many Australian workers don’t earn enough to survive without generous penalty rates.

Greens:
The Greens are big believers in penalty rates and wish to legislate so that they are protected. The party pays particular attention to younger Australians who rely on casual jobs with no guaranteed hours.

One Nation:
Pauline Hanson has changed her party’s position on penalty rates. Initially Hanson supported the cuts, however after backlash from her electorate she backtracked and took a stance against the cuts.

 

EDUCATION

Liberal Party:
You can see how much funding your school is receiving from the Coalition here. The party is in support of a ‘Choice and Affordability Fund’ to assist families financially who are wanting to send their children to Catholic or independent schools. Further funding has been pledged to assist 17 to 24-year-olds get jobs.

Nationals:
The Nationals want to better equip regional students for TAFE and university, as well as increase apprenticeships.

Australian Labor Party:
The ALP is looking to increase funding to TAFE. Generally, the party has been in support of increasing funding to all public schools and universities.

Greens:
The Greens support free TAFE and undergraduate university education for all Australians. They aim to increase university funding by 10% and to fully fund public schools by 2023.

One Nation:
The party believes citizens should take priority over foreign students when it comes to university placements. They are in opposition to the privatisation of universities and believe parents’ income shouldn’t be taken into account when providing students with funding.

 

UNIONS

Liberal Party:
The Liberals aim to limit the power of unions. The party has particularly targeted the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) and have ended the union’s ability to veto new infrastructure deemed essential by the government.

Steps have been taken to reduce the occurrence of strikes.

Parties who lean towards the conservative side tend to oppose trade unions as they are pro-business.

Nationals:
The Nationals have a similar stance to the Liberal party. Advocating strongly for small regional businesses means they aim to limit the power of unions.

Limiting the unions’ power protects small business owners from union-backed wage increases and strikes.

Australian Labor Party:
The ALP supports of giving unions power. Shorten has left parameters for collective bargaining open in all sectors, meaning unions can negotiate wages and working conditions with employers and strikes can be organised. This gives union members power over businesses to negotiate terms of employment.

Greens:
Are extremely pro-union. Their party policy actively encourages all voters to join a union, dubbing them “the single most powerful and largest global movement of people to ever exist”. The Greens philosophy states union membership is a right to be protected and that collective bargaining is the most effective way to achieve a positive outcome between employers and employees.

One Nation:
Unions haven’t been a significant election point for One Nation. However, as a conservative party they traditionally align with legislating to limit the power on unions.

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About the Writer
Kate Purnell, Reporter

Kate is a passionate young journalist with an acute interest in politics and foreign affairs. She is particularly focused on the local impacts of national...

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Dissecting party policies: An essential guide