With the news during the week that a boat with 21 Vietnamese asylum seekers had been shoved back to sea came the solemn warning from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton that:
“People smugglers in Indonesia are watching very closely and they believe if there’s a change of government on July 2, the people smugglers will be back in business and people will be back on boats coming to our country”.
How convenient. In the shadow of an election . . . along comes a boat. All very juicy stuff for Peter Dutton who seized the moment to remind us of the fearful prospect: a Labor Government will not stop the boats.
If Minister Dutton is so eager to inform the electorate of what they will ‘get’ under a Labor Government perhaps he should have mentioned that a Labor Government would also:
- Provide $570 million in additional support for students with disability and additional learning needs.
- Increase the Child Care Benefit by 15% for low and middle income families. Every one of the 813,000 families that rely on the Child Care Benefit will be better off – an increase up to $31 per child per week, or up to $1,627 per year.
- See that an additional $96 million go towards improving outcomes for Indigenous students around Australia over school years 2018 and 2019. In addition, Labor will provide $4.8 million over the forward estimates to fund 100 scholarships per year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers.
- Invest $6 million over three years from 2017-18 to continue the Safe Schools program and support the Foundation for Young Australians to keep working with school communities to reduce bullying and discrimination.
- Restore indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1 January 2017.
- Scrap the Liberals’ cuts to the PBS, ensuring there will be no increase to the co-payments or safety net thresholds on top of regular indexation.
- Reverse Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging.
- Deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
- Scale up the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises and phase out the rollout of fibre-to-the-node.
- [To] achieve a target of net zero pollution by 2050, set a target at 2030 for a 45% reduction in carbon pollution on 2005 levels.
- Will ensure that 50% of the nation’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy by 2030
- Introduce a domestic emissions trading scheme that will have two distinct phases. The first phase is designed to get Australia’s pollution levels back under control and to establish the architecture for an enduring ETS. The second phase will then drive the long-term transition in our economy.
- Protect Weekend Penalty Rates.
- Will shut down loopholes which allow big multinational companies to send profits overseas, ensuring they pay their fair share of tax just like everyone else has to. Labor’s plan has been fully costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office, and will bring at least $7.2 billion back to Australia in tax from big multinationals over the next decade.
- Reform negative gearing effective from 1 July 2017.
- Restore CSIRO’s capacity to drive the national science, research and innovation agenda that will grow new industries and build a smarter Australia.
- Deliver more than $70 million over three years in targeted funding to ensure those suffering from family violence can access critical services when they need them.
- Commit almost $50 million to frontline legal services, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, to ensure women suffering from family violence get legal support. The aim of this is to ensure, at least, that women facing court have access to appropriate legal services.
- Make an initial investment of $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home.
- Will legislate for marriage equality within the first 100 days of the next parliament.
- Will hold a Royal Commission into misconduct in the banking and financial services industry.
- Appoint a full-time LGBTI Discrimination Commissioner to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), to ensure the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians are protected, and they are free to live their lives without discrimination.
- Will renew investment in Australian multiculturalism, with $28.3 million of new funding to support social cohesion and economic inclusion.
Well, no wonder Peter Dutton just wants to talk about boats.
If is this is what we’ll get (plus more) with a Labor Government . . . I’ll have the boats please.