Labor's 2019 budget reply: 'a fully funded fair go action plan'
Bill Shorten presented the Labor Party’s budget reply last night, tracing out the battle lines for the upcoming May election. This budget, like the Morrison government’s version on Tuesday, is as much a political and campaigning document as it is an economic one, in which it outlines Labor’s vision for Australia as, in their words, “a fair go for all Australians.”
The plan includes tax cuts for low- and middle-income workers, fully funded health and education, and a plan to boost wages for working Australians.
In his speech to Parliament, Bill Shorten clearly laid out this vision when he stated,
“Tonight, and at this election, Labor is offering the Australian people a fully funded fair go action plan.
Building an economy that works for everyone.
Investing in an education system that creates opportunity for everyone.
Fixing the wages system so it delivers for everyone.
Reforming the tax system so it is fair for everyone.
And funding a health system that is there for everyone.”
This involves rejecting the second and third stages of the Morrison government’s income tax cuts while backing the proposed tax offset - worth up to $1080 for 10 million workers from July 1. This equates to about $140 of the $158 billion in tax cuts from Tuesday’s Morrison government budget being rejected, leaving Labor a substantial purse from which to fund their own alternative tax relief and funding commitments.
Labor has pledged to:
Guarantee universal access to preschool and kinder for 3 and 4 year old’s; 15 hours a week, 40 weeks a year. This will bring Australia back into line with the early education policies of global leaders in educational outcomes like South Korea, Norway, and New Zealand
Re-invigorate wage growth through new directives to the Fair Work Commission and by reforming and repairing the awards and bargaining systems in Australia
Give 10 million working Australians the same or bigger tax cuts than they’ll get under the Liberal proposal
Invest an extra $2.3 billion into a Medicare Cancer Plan, including investing $600 million towards reducing out-of-pocket costs for life-saving scans, and provide three million free consultations with oncologists and surgeons for cancer patients
Commit Australia to 50% renewable energy by 2030, make Australia a global leader in clean and battery technology, and deliver real action on climate change
Restore penalty rates within their first 100 days in office
Fully restore funding to public schools and public hospitals, which have faced sustained funding cuts and attacks
Guarantee that every drug recommended by independent experts will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Deliver a $1 billion plan for TAFE, with $200 million earmarked to rebuild and upgrade TAFE campuses across the country, especially in regional and outer suburban Australia, and
Fully restore funding to the ABC and increase funding for regional and rural news.
Labor is looking to draw a distinction between themselves and the current government, framing this election as a referendum on wages, health and education. As part of their budget and economic plan, the Labor Party have made key commitments relating to the ACTU’s ‘Change the Rules’ campaign, aimed at increasing job security, winning fair pay rises for workers, and guaranteeing gender equity across the society and workforce.