Hello gorgeous gorgeous politically-minded youth of Australia. Labor leader Anthony Albanese dropped his response to the Government’s Budget. Let’s unpack it!
Albanese and Labor have gone hard on criticising the Coalition’s Budget as an election strategy rather than a proper national strategy.
“This is a plan for an election, not a plan for Australia’s future. And I think people will see it for what it is,” he told the ABC on Tuesday.
There wasn’t loads explicitly for young people, much like the Coalition’s Budget. But Albanese did reference establishing more uni places and 465,000 fee-free TAFE places. He didn’t make clear how exactly that would happen though.
So what’s the deal with Labor’s plan?
A long-term strategy for dealing with cost of living
One of the areas both the Coalition and Labor have focused on is the cost of living. ICYMI, the Budget included a $250 cash bonus for concession card holders. Workers earning under $126,000 will also score an extra $420 in their tax returns.
Albanese said that while Labor would support these one-off payments in Parliament, the country needed structural solutions to the cost of living. He said that the government “wants to keep your wages low”.
“Australians know the difference between structural reforms that change people’s lives for the better and cynical one-off payments designed for an election,” said Albanese.
He claimed Labor won’t make cost of living just an election issue if the party is voted in.
Albanese specifically referenced making child care and power bills cheaper in his reply. But the most significant element was wage growth.
“If you want real, permanent, meaningful help with the cost of living, you need a plan to get wages growing again,” he said.
Albanese didn’t outline the details for growing wages in his speech. But he expanded on the idea a teeny but more on ABC’s 7:30 immediately after the speech.
He told host Leigh Sales he’d make wage theft a crime and establish “proper definitions of casualisation”. He also committed to ten days paid domestic and family violence leave to help ease the gender pay gap.
But there was little clarity on who will actually experience wage growth
When Sales asked if we’d all be scoring a pay rise in the next two years, Albanese was less clear.
Aged care was another key focus
Albanese explicitly committed to pay rises in aged care.
The Coalition addressed aged care in its Budget, committing a further $468.3 million to the sector.
But Albanese promised a $2.5 billion overhaul of the sector. Part of that pledge was putting “nurses back into nursing homes” to help save necessary emergency department trips.
He told Sales wages in industries dominated by women such as aged care and childcare “simply [weren’t] high enough”.
He then claimed it wasn’t good enough to say we need to pay tribute to the heroes of the pandemic but not do anything to raise their wages after the pandemic. But he said nothing explicitly committing to raising nurses’ wages in his Budget reply.
Kind of wild to say that and then not explicitly commit to raising nurses’ wages if you ask me.
Labor reckoned it can end the climate wars
Another big point of contention with the Coalition was regarding climate change. I mean, not hard to commit more than the current Government when it comes to the climate but here we are.
Anthony Albanese said he’d stop the climate wars. A big claim there, my brother in Christ.
“Labor will end the climate wars,” he said during his Budget reply speech.
But how will it actually do that? Well, one of the core emphases is renewable energy. Labor has a Powering Australia plan which it says will created 604,000 new jobs by 2030.
That climate policy is also related to cost of living: Albanese said the plans will reduce power bills for homes and businesses.
It’s a pretty significant difference from the Government’s Budget which didn’t include any direct funding for renewable energy projects. Anthony Albanese referenced the flooding in northern NSW and south-east Queensland, which the Government has committed on spending $6 billion on.
“Families like those I met in Lismore, Ballina, Murwillumbah, Brisbane, and Maryborough deserve – and need – a government that’s ready to roll up its sleeves and tackle the challenge of climate change,” said Albanese.
“Not just create a fund and let it sit idle like a term deposit while people’s homes and livelihoods are swept away.”
What about women?
The Coalition released a seperate Women’s Budget, which primarily focused on health and a $1.3 billion spend on combatting domestic violence.
Anthony Albanese explicitly tackled the topic of women in the workforce. He said Labor would implement every single recommendation from the Respect@Work report.
“We’ll be a government that creates safe and respectful workplaces for women,” he claimed.
So there ya have it: a lot on aged care, quite a bit on cost of living and a ‘lil bit on climate change.