The talking points that will decide this election
THE starter's gun has been fired and the election race is on, but issues, not leaders, will determine the winner.
There are polarising issues, Adani, climate change and taxes, which will prove to be the hot button issues which will win or lose Queensland - and the keys to the lodge.
Adani will be a double-edged sword for both parties, though one that will cut Labor more deeply that the Coalition. It's a battle over 1075 construction jobs and up to 3800 jobs created by the mine, and opposition to coal mining due to climate change concerns. Fighting for the mine will help the LNP in Capricornia, Herbert, Flynn and Dawson because it means jobs where there is high unemployment. But it could hurt in inner-city seats in Brisbane and in Victoria, which is why Scott Morrison hasn't mentioned the word Adani in two years. For Labor, supporting the mine would hurt its vote in southeast Queensland, but it is needed to shore up votes in key marginal seats in central and northern Queensland.
Schools, TAFE and universities have traditionally been a Labor strength and this campaign its no different. Labor is promising an extra $14 billion for public schools over a decade, extending preschool to three-year-olds from 2021 and reversing a two-year, $2.2 billion funding freeze on universities. The Coalition is maintaining "record" funding, giving each electorate $200,000 for new school buildings and providing scholarships for students to head to regional universities.
Each side is offering tax cuts of up to $1080 in July. The Coalition has promised reform, abolishing one tax bracket and lowering rates so everyone earning between $45,000 and $200,000 will pay 30¢ in the dollar. The low income tax bracket will be increased from $37,000 to $45,000, which will save millions of workers up to $1080 a year. Labor says the $226 billion in Coalition tax cuts is irresponsible given the stormy economic headwinds. They offer higher tax cuts for lower income workers.
Negative gearing/franking credits
Labor plans to scrap negative gearing on existing houses, grandfathered so current arrangements are not impacted, and to halve the capital gains tax discount. It would also end tax refunds for dividend imputations on franking credits, exempting pensioners. Mr Shorten argues it is about making tough choices for the budget, to deliver his other campaign promises and keep the nation's finances in shape. Mr Morrison says it will take money out of people's pockets, including retirees. Dividend imputation could see taxpayers with shares lose from $1500 to more than $20,000 in refunds.
The Coalition says it can safely manage the economy to ensure more medicines can be added to the PBS and increase health funding. It has promised $1 billion for elderly patients and those with chronic conditions to have "wrap around" care, and more rebates for medical scans for all. Labor is headlining its plans with $2.3 billion to see patient costs for cancer treatments slashed or even reduced to zero. It is also promising to rebates for medical scans, $1 billion on hospital upgrades and to increase the Commonwealth's health budget.
The Coalition promises to cut emissions by 26-28 per cent by retaining an emissions cap on the top 140 polluters, spending $2 billion on a "climate solutions fund" and building Snowy Hydro 2.0. Labor wants to cut emissions by 45 per cent, extend the existing emissions cap on polluters to 250 companies, and extend Queensland's tree clearing restrictions nationwide. It's promised rebates on solar batteries, and aims for 50 per cent of new car sales to be electric by 2030.