The Labor party has officially launched its Federal Election campaign in Perth with a focus on childcare, the cost of living, housing and manufacturing and infrastructure.
Leader Anthony Albanese recovered from COVID-19 and left isolation in time for the launch, which he used to outline his ‘better future plan’ for Australia.
Mr Albanese pledged more electric car charging stations, a boost for domestic manufacturing, to make gender pay equity an objective of the Fair Work Act and make medicines cheaper and homes easier to buy. There was also a focus on childcare.
Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating, men Mr Albanese hopes to join as a Labor Prime Minister, were also in attendance. Julia Gillard was unable to make it across from London because of other commitments.
“I stand before you today, seeking to leave without government, and asking for your support to have the honour of serving as Prime Minister of the greatest country on earth,” said Mr Albanese.
“In the past three years, through the devastation of bushfires, floods, and a once-in-a century shock of a global pandemic, Australians have been a simply magnificent.
“In the toughest of times people have stepped up, but the Government has elected them down. I know Labor can do better, and I know Australians deserve better.”
Mr Albanese said his time in isolation had given his team time to shine.
“It also gave me a moment of sympathy for Scott Morrison,” he said.
“Do not worry, it passed quickly. You see, I know I can count on Penny [Wong] and Richard [Marles] and so many others to make the argument for Labor. But who has he got? Alan Tudge and Peter Dutton. The unspeakable and the unthinkable. And then of course, there is Barnaby Joyce, the inexplicable.”
After expanding on Labor’s key election pledges (which you can read more about at the bottom of the page), Mr Albanese close by taking aim at Scott Morrison and insisting ‘Australia deserves better’.
“Australians understand that we cannot bet our future on the three more years of a Prime Minister who looks at every challenge facing our country and says that is not my job,” Mr Albanese said.
“As your Prime Minister, I will not shirk from responsibility. I wouldn’t treat every crisis as a chance to blame someone else. I will show up and I will bring people together. I will lead with integrity, and I will treat you with the respect that you deserve.”
“Vote for hope and optimism, not fear and division.”
Crowe introduces Albanese but McGowan gets rockstar reception
Mr Albanese was introduced via a special video narrated by Russell Crowe.
But it was WA Premier Mark McGowan who got the huge reception when he took to his seat. WA is a key battleground for Labor, with three seats in their sights.
Zaneta Mascarenhas, Labor candidate for Swan, introduced the campaign launch before handing over to Labor Senate leader Penny Wong.
“It’s a choice between a united, focused Labor team, or the Liberals and Nationals, a rebel group that masquerades as a Coalition. Whose own members warn Australians that Scott Morrison is not fit to be the Prime Minister,” said Ms Wong.
Jason Clare, who took front and centre this week with Mr Albanese isolated through COVID-19, was quick to blast Scott Morrison.
“[You deserve] better than a Government wrapping around the planet,” Mr Clare said.
“A government that thinks all you need to do to win the trust of a Pacific nations is play the ukulele. And thinks climate change is what happens when you check out the April Sun in Cuba!
“And a Prime Minister who thinks that there’s problem with corruption in his Government. While sitting there in his Cabinet are more smoking guns than a Clint Eastwood movie.”
Mr McGowan was met with rapturous applause when he took to the stage.
“I have known Anthony for a long time,” Mr McGowan said.
“He is one of the most senior and experienced figures in the nation. He is resilient. He is authentic. He is the real deal. He has boundless energy. He is a fundamentally decent person, driven by empathy and a deeper sense of civic responsibility, and I have every confidence he will make a fine Prime Minister, and a great partner for Western Australia.”
Albanese’s campaign pledges
Electric car charging stations: “Today I announce that Labor will build more electric vehicle charging stations across Australia so we can close the gaps that there are in the network. Together with Labor’s already announced electric vehicle discount, it will make it easier and cheaper for your next car to be an electric one.”
National resources: “As part of our national reconstruction plan, Labor will invest $1 billion in developing value-added products from Australian resources. We will take resources like lithium and nickel, essential elements and the batteries that will power the vehicles of the future and instead of shipping them to another country to make batteries we will have what we need to make them right here and then we can sell them to the world.”
Infrastructure: “We will invest in infrastructure to boost productivity and create jobs. We will improve regional roads and major highways and will invest in better roads for freight and commuters and Labor will ensure that more Australians have access to high-speed broadband.”
Jobs, training and gender equality: “A Labor government will ensure a fair go of work extends to every Australian. I believe that one of Australia’s greatest untapped resources is full and respectful economic participation of women. Today, I announce that Labor will make a gender pay equity an objective of the fair work act. We will set up expert panels on a pay equity and the care and community sector to help improve paying conditions for women in those sectors.”
Medicare, childcare and aged care: “Labor will make medicines cheaper for millions of Australians. We will reduce the cost of medications on the PBS by $12.50, making them cheaper for general patients. This means the maximum price for PBS medicines will be just $30.”
Housing: “Help to buy will assist Australians buy a home with a smaller deposit, a smaller mortgage and smaller mortgage repayments. An Australian Labor government will help you achieve the great Australian dream of homeownership.”
Under the policy, a Labor government would pay for up to 40 per cent on a new home and 30 per cent on an existing home for couples earning up to $120,000 and singles earning up to $90,000.
The policy, called Help to Buy, will be available for up to 10,000 households a year.
The Reserve Bank is expected to increase interest rates for the first time in more than a decade on Tuesday, further raising pressures on homeowners which have seen the cost of basic items soar in recent years.