SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s political parties are campaigning in a general election set for May 18, with the fight focused on tax cuts, climate change and social programmes.
Below are party policies taken mainly from campaign programmes and pre-election announcements:
Ruling Liberal-National coalition:
* Proposed total tax cuts of A$158 billion ($112.5 billion) over the period to 2029/30, in addition to A$144 billion in tax cuts passed by parliament last year. Most of the new tax cuts would take effect after 2022, when the next election is due.
* Most of the early personal income tax cuts would benefit low and middle-income earners. Tax rebate for middle-income earners to double in current financial year. Subsequent tax concessions would benefit wealthier Australians.
* Top threshold for 19 percent tax bracket rises to A$45,000 in 2022/23 from A$41,000 currently. From 2024/25, the 32.5 percent marginal tax rate would be reduced to 30 percent, and apply to income between A$45,000 and A$200,000.
* Labour has promised to match the coalition’s planned tax cuts for workers earning between A$48,000-A$126,000 a year, but also pledged a bigger rebate for people earning less than A$45,000. No changes to current tax brackets.
* The ruling coalition and opposition Labor are committed to the Paris Accord that requires member states to reduce emissions by 26 percent from 2005 levels.
* The biggest differences centre on how much electricity must be generated by renewables. The coalition has a target of 26 percent, while Labor proposes a minimum of 45 percent. Labor also says half of all new cars will be electric by 2030.
* The coalition has been divided over energy policy and climate change and remains a strong backer of traditional energy sources. The tensions over energy policy were a catalyst for Malcolm Turnbull’s ouster as prime minister in August.
* Proposed to spend more than A$80 billion on the public healthcare system in 2019/20.
* Access to cheaper medicines for cancer patients.
* Proposed A$725 million investment in residential care for elderly Australians.
* Promises to outspend the coalition on healthcare spending, including more than A$2 billion to expand free cancer treatment.
* Proposes to increase the minimum wage, but has not given specific details. The party also pledges to raise pay for people who work on weekends and public holidays.
* The coalition promises record spending on education over the next decade.
* The party pledges to outspend the government but has not given specific figures. It also plans to subsidise pre-school for children for two years.
The coalition and Labor have pledged to spend 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) on defence.
* The coalition and Labor will keep the current policy of holding refugees who arrive by boat at two remote Pacific detention facilities.
* The coalition says it will reverse a law that allows doctors to recommend transfers from the Pacific centres if they are unable to get the necessary medical treatment. Labor has promised to maintain the medical transfer policy.
Reporting by Colin Packham in SYDNEY; Editing by Darren Schuettler