Opinion pieces


October 08, 2021

There’s been a fair few discussions about footy finals over the last couple of weeks.

You’ve probably heard a few cliches thrown around about how this is what teams have been preparing for and they will be leaving everything out there on the field.

Oddly enough, there’s a very similar feeling of anticipation in politics at the moment.

Our grand final – the Federal election – could be just around the corner.

Only the Prime Minister knows exactly when it will be held, but the Australian Labor Party is ready.

There’s no doubt the 2019 election result was disappointing for us.

A comprehensive ‘warts and all’ review concluded that one of the key reasons Labor lost the election was due to a cluttered policy agenda.

We have been working hard to address this.

While it’s true that Labor won’t be going to the next election with over 250 policies, don’t for a second think that we won’t be presenting the Australian people with a bold, positive, and innovative agenda.

Let’s start with housing affordability, a huge issue in our region which has gotten worse during this pandemic.

Our $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund will build social and affordable housing now and into the future.

20,000 new social housing properties will be built, including 4,000 homes for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at-risk of homelessness.

$100 million would also be invested in crisis and transitional housing for these women and children.

The fund will also build 10,000 affordable homes for frontline workers, directly support 21,500 full-time jobs per year, provide $200 million for housing in remote Indigenous communities, and invest $30 million to build housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are homeless or are at-risk of homelessness.

All of this will happen in its first five years.

Labor’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund will help rebuild our manufacturing sector by partnering with the private sector to invest in job-creating projects.

This will benefit the Hunter’s manufacturers as the fund’s priorities match exactly what they do best: energy, defence, rail, and medical.

This will create secure jobs for Australian workers, drive regional economic development, boost our sovereign capability, and diversify the nation’s economy.

Something that I think Australians will be happy to see implemented by a Labor Government is a powerful, transparent, independent National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Some of the scandals that have occurred under Scott Morrison’s watch – from sports rorts, to commuter car park rorts, to Christian Porter’s so-called ‘blind trust’ - are simply disgraceful.

The Prime Minister promised to implement a National Anti-Corruption Commission in 2018.

Since then, all he has done is put forward draft legislation for a commission which was savaged by legal experts for being so weak, secretive, and lacking in independence that it would actually cover up corruption.

Labor’s National Anti-Corruption Commission will operate as a standing Royal Commission into serious and systemic corruption in the Federal Government.

It will have a broad jurisdiction to investigate and hold to account Commonwealth ministers, public servants, statutory office holders, government agencies, parliamentarians, personal staff of politicians, and other Commonwealth public officials.

It will be able to ‘follow the money’, meaning it can also investigate private individuals and companies involved in systemic and serious corruption by public officials.

Last but certainly not least, Labor is united in our commitment to tackling climate change.

Recent comments from members of the Morrison-Joyce Government prove why you can’t trust them to take meaningful action.

When Treasurer Josh Frydenberg finally indicated his support for net zero emissions by 2050, his National Party colleagues freaked out.

Senator Matt Canavan quickly said he is “dead-set against” it, meanwhile Cabinet Minister Bridget McKenzie said the revelation was the “worst kind of vacuousness over values”.

The Morrison-Joyce Government has been bitterly divided over climate and energy for years.

Labor, however, is committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

Our $20 billion Rewiring the Nation plan will modernise Australia’s energy grid to spur growth in cheap, renewable energy production and keep power prices down.

In addition, our Electric Car Discount will make electric vehicles more affordable, and our Community Battery Plan will connect up to 100,000 homes to 400 community batteries around Australia.

These are just some of Labor’s policies announced by Anthony Albanese.

After eight long years of a Liberal-National Government, Australians need a change.

Only Scott Morrison knows when the election will be, but whenever he’s ready, Labor is too.

This opinion piece was first published in THE NEWCASTLE HERALD on Friday, 8 October 2021.