A 10-point winning strategy for Labor

Nov 29, 2021
Labor leader Anthony Albanese
Game of chicken: Anthony Albanese. (Image: AAP / Mick Tsikas)

The Albanese-led Opposition is having trouble cutting through to voters despite the Morrison government’s corruption and waste — here’s a plan to turn things around. 

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese seems caught between the fear of being wedged by the Coalition and the fear that announcing detailed innovative policies will bring on a defeat like Bill Shorten’s in 2019.

Rather than being timid, the way forward is to announce clear policy differences that most Australians will find more attractive than their experience of the Morrison government. The focus should be on policies that will resonate most with Australians in the current climate.

Two clear threads run through the eight wasted years of Coalition government: unfairness and rorting. Unfairness is exemplified by the virtual wage freeze that most Aussies have experienced since Tony Abbott came to power, while the ultra-affluent have boosted their wealth as if on steroids. The unfairness was also displayed in the Robodebt scheme on the one hand and the largesse through JobKeeper for companies that boomed during Covid on the other.

There are too many examples of rorting to detail, but to name just a few: Angus Taylor and Josh Frydenberg’s environmental case, the sports rorts of Bridget McKenzie, the railway car parks fiasco, the gifting of billions of JobKeeper money to companies that earned record profits and the gifting of billions of dollars to the government’s fossil fuel friends in the guise of meeting emission targets.

Australia now has more than a trillion dollars of debt. The question arises: what would a Morrison government do about it after an election win? Slash spending? If so, their targets would be the ABC, universities, education, the unemployed, women’s programs and more. Would they increase taxes? Possibly, but not on companies or the rich.

The media have covered these issues to a greater or lesser extent, but Labor still has trouble cutting through. We suggest the party adopt a 10-point plan as follows:

1. Trust

Everyone knows Scott Morrison is careless with the truth — the French president called him a liar. You can’t trust him or his any-way-the-wind-blows government. Whatever he says in an election campaign will not be what he does if he gets back into government. In contrast, Labor will stand by its word and commitments.

2. The economy

Labor will grow the post-Covid economy through strategic spending on infrastructure in cooperation with the states and on new green technologies. It will strengthen incentives for Australian companies to undertake research in tomorrow’s key industries and services. With electric vehicles, Labor will subsidise a national charging network and offer tax incentives to bring down EV prices.

3. Taxation

Labor will hold an independent inquiry into the tax system. Morrison and Frydenberg have incurred a trillion-dollar debt while at the same time cutting taxes. Any economist will tell you this is unsustainable and the nation has to fix it. A high-level inquiry is the only effective way to get recommendations that no one but the ultra-greedy can argue with.

4. Climate change

Labor will adopt the 2030 emissions targets to align with those of the US, the UK and almost everyone else. And state the truth that even every coal miner knows: there’s no long-term future for coal. Labor will ensure these workers are looked after as Australia transitions out of coal. They will not be left behind. The billions being spent on subsidies for fossil fuels and new gas exploration will be diverted to investment in green hydrogen plants (using solar and wind electricity to generate hydrogen).

5. Integrity commission

Labor will end corruption and waste and establish a proper independent anti-corruption commission that has the power to hold politicians to account and stop the rorting.

6. The workplace

Wages have barely increased since the Abbot/Turnbull/Morrison governments have been in power, while company profits have surged. Labor is committed to good jobs with good wages and to training all workers, especially the young, for tomorrow’s industries. For people searching for work, Labor will increase JobSeeker to $450 a week, at the poverty line.

7. Health

Labor will put a stronger focus on prevention and work with the health funds to reward people who pursue healthy lifestyles. It will fund Australia’s hospitals for their Covid costs, and raise the Medicare rebate for GPs, partly to acknowledge their selfless work during the pandemic, but also because it needs to be done. The rates have been held down for years by this incompetent government.

8. International relations

Labor will stop lying to our allies. Australia is a treaty ally of the US, and also an independent nation. Labor will always do what’s best for Australia.

9. The ABC

Labor will give the ABC proper financial support, with five-year funding rather than the present three, and stop undermining its independence. The arts will also receive proper sustainable support.

10. Innovation

Labor will make Australia the leader in green technologies. Clever investment will launch new firms and create thousands of jobs. Labor will increase funding for universities if they commit to increase the number of permanent staff. Labor will fund the NBN to fix the over-budget debacle the Coalition has created.

And the ongoing message: You simply can’t trust Scott Morrison. Time and time again he has lied, and has even lied about lying.

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