Election 2016: Party policy 101

To make voting on election day easier, here’s a summary of the policies put forward by the three main parties that matter to young Australians.

Australian Labor Party

The Leader of the ALP, Bill Shorten – from Bill Shorten’s Twitter feed.

The Australian Labor party is focused on health and education this election. They are looking to benefit middle and working class Australians, however, some of their policies also directly affect young adults.

Labor has promised to put funds towards making university more accessible for people and providing increased funding for universities. They hope to scrap the possibility of university fees being deregulated, which would cause degrees or even diplomas to cost up to $100,000. Labor proposes to improve funding for TAFE to avoid closures and issues in training and introduce coding as a subject in schools in order to aid in future employment opportunities.

When it comes to health, Labor planned to increase funding for Medicare and keep health care cheap and affordable. They plan to increase funding for hospitals in order to better accommodate patients. Labor is looking to make medicinal cannabis available nationally, following the lead of the Victorian state government.

Labor promised to roll out its original plan for the National Broadband Network (NBN) – fibre to the premises – which would mean a much faster NBN than the current network. The downside is that homes already connected to the current NBN won’t be upgraded until Labor’s plan is rolled out to homes that don’t have the service.

On environmental policies, Labor plans to enact an emissions trading scheme set to decrease pollution to manageable amounts, alongside a plan to utilise 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Labor also plans to aid the Great Barrier Reef to stop its further degradation. They have promised a complete ban on animal testing.

Labor also want to avoid penalty rates being cut and if elected will introduce reforms to help union governance, which could allow for better representation for workers and for a fairer workplace.

Labor promised to allow journalists into detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru if elected, which would provide insight into the reality of these centres.

If elected, Labor promises to legislate for marriage equality within the first 100 days of parliament.

The Australian Liberal Coalition

The Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal/National coalition, Malcolm Turnbull – from Malcolm Turnbull’s twitter feed.

The Australian Liberal Coalition are focused on the economy and infrastructure this election. They usually look after businesses both large and small as well as the upper class, but Liberal policy also looks to focus on middle-class families.

The Liberals promised $1.2 billion in funding for schools and are introducing schemes aimed at getting students into the workforce, with funds being put into an apprenticeship support network. $127 million has also been promised towards funding university research.

They proposed $100 million in funding towards reducing domestic violence across the country and improving support services for victims of domestic violence, on top of a further $30 million towards their ‘Stop it at the Start’ campaign.

On environmental policies, Liberal promises that Australia will use 23 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and will invest in further reducing emissions and cutting pollution. There is also $2 billion being put towards conservation of the Great Barrier Reef.

As for infrastructure, the Liberals plan to put funding towards fixing roads and bridges on top of supporting state infrastructure, such as the Sydney Metro and Westconnex.

If elected the Liberals promise to hold a plebiscite on marriage equality to let people vote on the matter, instead of passing a marriage equality law through parliament.

The Liberals say there will be no threats to Medicare and their health policy includes investing $1 billion into local health care across the nation, as well as providing $2.9 billion in funding for hospitals.

The Greens

Di Natale
The leader of the Greens, Dr Richard Di Natale – from Richard Di Natale’s twitter feed.

The Greens are always focused on the environment and social justice. They tend to be most popular with young people with a 2008 report finding the highest percentage of voters for the party were in the 18-25 age group.

On the environment, the Greens plan to achieve up to 90 per cent clean energy by 2030, in an effort to cut pollution and eventually phase out the use of ‘dirty power’ sources such as coal. As part of this, there are plans to install solar power across all Australian homes. They are also looking to take action to conserve the Great Barrier Reef with plans to cut water pollution and shipping in the area and grant $90.8 million in funding to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Overall, this is a means to combat global warming.

The Greens propose increasing rental assistance by 30 per cent up to 2020 to make renting properties more affordable and will restructure the rental system to make it easier on tenants.

There are also plans to strengthen anti-discrimination laws so religious institutions are no longer exempt from them and a free vote will be held on legalising same-sex marriage instead of the Liberal’s planned plebiscite. The Greens will defend the Safe Schools program by increasing its funding up to $8 million and will introduce qualified mental health counsellors in schools. There is a general plan in place to increase equality and freedoms for the LGBT community, including allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

The Greens would also see foreign aid increased and the closure of offshore detention centres such as those on Manus Island and Nauru. There are also plans to introduce a Multiculturalism Act in order to protect the rights of Australia’s multicultural communities. – Matthew Buchanan

Top photo from the Parliament of Australia website.

About Matthew Buchanan 25 Articles
Matthew is a budding journalist and complete sports nut with a healthy appreciation for politics and history.