A “Vote and See” Approach in Albanese’s Labor Budget Response

A “Vote and See” Approach in Albanese’s Labor Budget Response 150 150 Viridian Advisory

With an election just around the corner all eyes were on Labor’s return serve to Frydenberg’s cash kicker.

With the center piece of the Federal Budget being cost of living relief, a short-term measure due to strike prior to the federal election, Australians could be forgiven for expecting to see strong reform touted by the Labor Leader but a “vote and see” approach has been taken as Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers previously announced plans for a second “post-election” budget if elected.

But what we did get was five pillars, one key difference and a lot of similarities to Tuesday night.

Mr Albanese’s speech outlined five pillars that would govern Labor’s plan to cut costs and boost wages:

  • A plan to drive investment and jobs in cheap, renewable energy
  • A plan to manufacture more in Australia
  • Greater investment in infrastructure
  • More opportunities in training
  • Cheaper childcare

The key point of difference was in Labor’s largest commitment, $2.5 billion to fixing an aged care sector “in crisis.” Pledging to uphold many of the recommendations to come out of the Royal Commission, including funding for a registered nurse on site at all hours, hiring more carers, improving the standard of meals and supporting aged care workers in their Fair Work Commission for higher wages.

Beyond this there was little to separate the two budgets, despite a distinctly different economic rhetoric. Cheaper child care for “almost every family” was promised, as was a commitment to enact every recommendation from the Respect@Work Report on the treatment of women in the workplace, and in a parliamentary first, Labor is set to embrace the Uluru Statement from the Heart and seek a referendum to include an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the constitution.

Albanese’s speech got up 5-1 on mentions of climate change but little in the way of tangible measures beyond a pledge to “end the climate wars”.

“After all the challenges and the sacrifices made during the pandemic, floods, and bushfires, Australians need and deserve a better Budget for a better future,” said Anthony Albanese. We will wait and see if Labor has the chance to deliver that for Australians and Viridian clients post-election and breakdown how it may impact you.

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