Our Guide to the 2016 Federal Election
On Saturday July 2, voting for the 2016 Federal Election will open at 8am and close at 6pm.
When you go to vote, you get two pieces of paper. One is green and is used to vote for a representative of your local area (or electoral division) in the House of Representatives, and the white paper is used to choose someone to represent your state/territory in the Senate.
Australia operates on a system of preferential voting, which means even if your first choice doesn’t get the majority of votes, the remaining boxes you have marked will continue to count until there is a candidate with a majority.
There is an enormous amount of parties to vote for this election, but the main are the Liberal/National Coalition and the Australian Labor Party. We compare some of their policies.
ISSUE: Border Control
The Liberal Party is adamant on turning back the boats, with offshore detention being a priority despite the announcement of the closure of Manus Island. They have also reintroduced Temporary Protection Visas and there are no longer any children in detention, according to reports.
Supports the turn back policy, despite some speaking out against the party policy.
“We will not put the people-smugglers back into business,” said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. “We will not allow policy which sees the mass drowning of vulnerable people seeking to come to this country.”
“That’s who we are. Australians should be reassured, and people-smugglers and the criminal syndicates on notice, whatever happens after July 2, they’re not back in business,” he continued.
ISSUE: Marriage Equality
The party is currently divided over the issue, and have chosen instead to hold a plebiscite.
The Australian Electoral Commission has estimated that the plebiscite would cost $160 million and says if it were held like a referendum, with the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ cases mailed to households, it would need 29 weeks to prepare.
Prime Minister Turnbull said he was confident that the plebiscite would pass through parliament if it was successful.
Bill Shorten has said that he will pass marriage equality 100 days into his term as Prime Minister.
Last year, he stated, “Australia is trailing the world.
The debate about marriage equality has simply gone on too long.”
ISSUE: Health Care
One of the biggest issues in the 2016 Federal Election, the current government has wound back hospital funding agreements made under Kevin Rudd, which would mean a ‘saving’ of $50 million over eight years from 2017.
They have also instituted a plan to freeze Medicare rebates, which means the amount paid to doctors from Medicare has not been increasing with inflation each year. This led to GPs warning that services would be affected, including charging a larger gap to fee-paying patients, choosing to bulk bill fewer patients or asking patients to return for further appointments for follow-ups.
The Coalition has also put private health insurance under review.
$200 million was promised for mental health including headspace centres
The Opposition has spoken against the rebate and said if they win the election, they will unfreeze from January 1st 2017.
Will also stop the freeze on pathology rebates, meaning that those who cannot afford private healthcare can still get treatment
The Opposition has promised to boost hospital funding by $2 billion over four years, as well as promising $80 million to suicide prevention.
In 2014, Christopher Pyne announced the cut to Gonski.
Fee deregulation for universities was also put on the books, but was put on hold because of its unpopularity. Partial fee dereg is part of a consultation on after the election.
$2 billion in cuts to higher education remained in the 2016 budget.
The Liberal Party’s website notes its students-first approach will include the following:
• Better teaching quality
• More school autonomy
• Engaging parents in education
- Strengthening the curriculum.
Labor intends to fully fund the Gonski plan, meaning every student receives a base amount of funding, with some extra to those in need, for six years.
Labor also intends to cap vocational education loans at $8000 per student.
Repealed the carbon tax, but believes the environment is a key issue.
Liberal (and the ALP) agree climate change is a threat and have committed to cutting Australia’s emissions by 5 per cent on 2005 levels by 2020.
The Government also has the goal to cut 2005 levels by 2030 by 26–28 per cent.
The Great Barrier Reef ($1Billion over 10 years) and renewable energy are also key areas.
The 2005 carbon emission levels are to be cut by 45 per cent by 2030. The Opposition also wants zero net emissions by 2050.
Despite agreeing to scale by the renewable energy target, the party said if elected they would increase it to 50% by 2030
The Opposition also intends to ban animal testing and toughen environmental laws, which will include a budget of $10.8million over four years for Environment Defenders Offices (EDOs), as it is there role to ensure environmental laws are being followed.
Innovation is the key word used by the Liberal Party, with the hope that their plan will create 200,000 jobs.
Company tax cuts for small business to increase investment.
Labor says it would return to surplus in the same timeframe as the current Government, 2020-2021, but deficits would be about $16.4 billion bigger before then.
Restrict negative gearing to new properties only, meaning that for those who want to buy existing properties, there will be a greater opportunity to do this.
Labor also intends to protect penalty rates, as not only it helps low income earners, but the more people money earn, the more they are willing to spend on the economy
Feature image found here