There are many promises made in the lead up to an election. Figures are thrown around, consequences of future actions are debated, dirt is thrown at opponents.
It’s all speculation. So much depends on what assumptions are made or what terms of reference are set for reviews. Everyone can produce a report supporting their view.
But since no-one can predict the future, let alone trust the things we are being told are based on any sort of evidence or will actually ever happen, it is perhaps more informative to compare past performance when in government than listen to empty promises/guesses for the future.
When Labor came to power, they were immediately hit with the global financial crisis. Treasury advice was spend big and spend fast. The aim was to keep people employed.
The first step provided $10.4 billion to help support millions of Australians.
- $4.8b down payment to pensioners, payable in December.
$3.9b in support payments for families.
$1.5b for first home buyers.
$187m to create new training positions
In a plan designed to support activity in the housing sector, the Government tripled to $21,000 the previous $7,000 first-home buyers grant for people buying a newly constructed home. Those first-home buyers moving into existing properties received a doubling of the allowance to $14,000.
A second economic stimulus package worth $42 billion was announced in February 2009. It consisted of an infrastructure program worth $26 billion, $2.7 billion in small business tax breaks, and $12.7 billion for cash bonuses, including $950 for every Australian taxpayer who earned less than $80,000 during the 2007-8 financial year.
And it worked. Sure there were some problems, but nothing like what the rest of the world faced.
After almost six years in government, Labor left a net debt of $161,253 million at 31 August 2013.
After a bit over four years of Coalition government, net debt had risen to $350,578 million by the end of November 2017 without the excuse of the GFC.
Where Labor ran up a debt to keep people in Australia employed, the Coalition are borrowing to spend $400 billion on their defence white paper acquisitions – submarines, patrol boats, frigates, jet fighters, helicopters, missiles – you name it, we are getting the biggest and the…oh wait.
Then today, Malcolm Turnbull, announced we are going into the death trade. Labor spent money on foreign aid. The Coalition would rather sell them bombs.
Turnbull has unveiled a new “defence export strategy” to make Australia one of the world’s top 10 weapons exporters within the next decade.
It will set up a new Defence Export Office and a new Australian Defence Export Advocate position. A $3.8bn Defence Export Facility, to be administered by the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, will provide the finance local companies need to help them sell their defence equipment overseas.
Why on earth would you refuse to subsidise the renewable energy industry and car manufacturing yet be prepared to spend billions on subsidising an armaments industry and fossil fuels?
When Labor was in government, they raised the tax free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200. This saved many part-time workers from having to fill in a tax return not to mention saving the lowest income earners up to $1,830 in tax.
When the Coalition formed government, they imposed a temporary levy on the highest income earners which they could and did promise to remove in the lead up to the next election. They wanted credit for removing a tax they imposed which cost a few people 2c in the dollar for a few years (if their accountants weren’t creative enough).
[A bit like the Chinese who, in the middle of the free trade negotiations, slapped a new tariff on our coal. Andrew Robb could then proudly claim to have negotiated for that tariff to be removed, no doubt costing a few more concessions on our part.]
The Coalition also raised the threshold for the second highest tax bracket meaning everyone earning over $87,000 saved $2,590 in tax.
When Labor was in government, they legislated for the superannuation guarantee to gradually increase from 9 to 12%. It only got to 9.5% before the Coalition put a temporary freeze on it which seems to have turned into permafrost.
Labor began the rollout of a nationwide broadband network that would have seen 93% of properties with a fibre connection. The Coalition’s change of plan has created a digital divide in the country with some properties able to access increased speeds while others are limited by last century infrastructure.
It really doesn’t matter which area of government you look at. Labor care about the people. The Coalition care about wealth, profit, and courting favour.