Election szn is here and major party leaders Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and Adam Bandt are making grand claims and sweeping statements left, right and centre. So how can you know what they actually care about? Look at their track records.
Each party and party leader will make many lovely announcements over the next month about oooh “jobs” creation and ahhh “saving the environment”. But don’t believe what they say, look at what they do. And what politicians “do” is vote on laws in parliament.
Let’s take a look back at the party leaders’ voting histories.
Based on bills he’s voted consistently for and against in the last 10 years, what do we know about Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese? What has he stood for?
Anthony Albanese is pro-education
As someone who benefited from Labor-introduced free university in the 1970s, Albanese has long voiced support for increasing uni funding … but has never said Labor would make university free again.
In 2020 he voted against the Higher Education Support Amendment as part of the government’s Job Ready Graduates Package. This was the one that decreased government subsidies on student fees for degrees in humanities, engineering, science and environmental studies and put the money into health, education and maths.
It pretty much exclusively hurt young people and made degrees across the board an average of 4 per cent more expensive for students. Labor voted against this bill and when it was first tabled in 2017.
Albanese said it “undermined tertiary education in Australia as we know it.”
Unfortunately it passed.
Anthony Albanese is mixed on emissions reductions
When it comes to climate change and environmental policies Albanese and the Labor party have consistently voted for a lot of good things, including ending illegal logging, increasing restrictions on over fishing, more marine conservation, a carbon tax and a tax on profits generated from mining in Australia.
But he’s failed to go the distance and commit to a coal-free future.
Labor’s climate policy revealed in 2021 proposes net zero emissions by 2050, but this would be 20 years after scientists say we have to reach net zero to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
And during this election campaign he committed a federal Labor government to supporting new coal mines, which the exact same pro-mining stance as the Coalition.
Anthony Albanese is mixed on refugees and asylum seekers
Albanese has generally voted for closing detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, for removing children from immigration detention, greater transparency on immigration detention management and for doctor’s having final say on whether offshore detainees need to come to Australia for medical treatment.
But let’s not forget it was Labor who started this whole offshore detention thing. It was only meant to be temporary, and it was the Coalition who decided to imprison people indefinitely (a violation of an international human right as set out by the United Nations). But Labor is by no means free of responsibility here.
Albo said in the first week of the election campaign his government would turn boats back and would not say if he would continue offshore detention. Yikes.
Anthony Albanese is mixed on LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights
He voted for marriage equality and against the unnecessary plebiscite: good. But in 2022 he backed the government’s Religious Discrimination Bill, which we know is not at all LGBTQIA+ friendly.
Labor also passed the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 with the help of five Liberal MPs who went against their party to vote with Labor.
The bill was introduced with the Religious Discrimination Bill in order to update to the Age Discrimination Act 2004, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and Racial Discrimination Act 1975 in order to broaden legal protections for LGBTQIA+ people, but it still didn’t protect trans people from discrimination at school.
But generally speaking Albanese has supported most pro-sexual equality bills.
Anthony Albanese is pro-workers and unions
It’s called the Labor party, so supporting workers is kinda their whole thing.
Albanese’s track record shows he has always voted for increased union powers and against increased scrutiny on unions.
Albanese voted against the government’s proposition to scrap Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for workers in 2017 and thank God it was quashed.
Labor also introduced a bill in 2020 to permanently increase JobSeeker payments that was shut down by the government. But they’ve already dropped their plan to review the JobSeeker rate so while they may be pro-workers rights, they seem to be anti-unemployed rights.
Anthony Albanese is pro-political transparency
Albanese has a track record of voting in favour of restricting donations to political parties and increasing political transparency and is well-known for supporting a federal integrity commission. But he also said in 2019 he didn’t believe there was any corruption in federal politics.
Labor will bring integrity back to politics.
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) December 15, 2021
It’s something expected Albanese to raise during the election campaign, and he did in the first week when he committed to creating an anti-corruption watchdog by end of 2022 if elected.
Read more about Albanese’s voting track record here.
Check Morrison’s track record here.
And Bandt’s here.