Where the parties stand on major issues

11_Where parties stand on major issues

(Australian Associated Press)

WHERE THE PARTIES STAND ON BIG ISSUES

HEADLINE MESSAGE

* Coalition: Jobs and growth as the economy transitions from the mining boom.

* Labor: Putting people first with a focus on health and education.

BUDGET REPAIR

* Coalition:

– Return the budget to surplus by 2020/21 by “living within its means”.

– Aims to cut spending, while lifting economic growth.

* Labor:

– Yet to put a timetable on a surplus.

– A combination of saving more than they spend, but increasing taxes.

INCOME TAX CUTS

* Coalition:

– Raise the threshold for the second-highest tax rate (37 per cent) from $80,001 to $87,000

– End as legislated the temporary 2 per cent budget repair levy on high-income earners ($180,00 and above) on July 1, 2017.

– Delay introduction of so-called backpacker tax until January 1, 2017 pending a ministerial review.

* Labor:

– Supports coalition plan to increase $80,000 threshold.

– Retain budget repair levy on high-income earners.

– Scrap plan for backpacker tax.

COMPANY TAX CUTS

* Coalition:

– The May 3 budget reduced the small business tax rate to 27.5 per cent and the revenue threshold increased from $2 million to $10 million.

– Flagged timetable to reduce company tax rate to 25 per cent over 10 years.

* Labor:

– Backs cut in tax rate to 27.5 per cent, but not the increase threshold.

– Does not support cutting company tax rate to 25 per cent.

SUPERANNUATION TAX CONCESSIONS

* Coalition:

– Increase tax on contributions for those earning more than $250,000 a year, from 15 to 30 per cent.

– Tax at 15 per cent earnings of people over 60 transitioning to retirement. Previously tax-free.

– Tax at 15 per cent earnings on account balances over $1.6 million. Previously tax-free.

– A $500,000 lifetime cap on after-tax contributions, backdated to 2007.

* Labor:

– Tax annual earnings above $75,000 at 15 per cent.

– Critical of retrospectivity of cap on after-tax contributions.

NEGATIVE GEARING

* Coalition:

– Maintain century-old practice that allows taxpayers to claim the net-losses of an income-producing asset, such as a rental property or shares, against other income such as salary.

* Labor:

– From July 1, 2017 limit the practice to newly-constructed homes.

– End 50 per cent capital gains tax discount.

HOSPITALS FUNDING

* Coalition: Agreement with states and territories to provide an additional $2.9 billion between 2017-2020 with growth in funding capped at 6.5 per cent annually.

* Labor: Critical of cuts in coalition’s 2014 budget, but yet to outline its commitment.

MEDICARE REBATES

* Coalition: The May 3 budget extended the freeze on indexed Medicare rebates to 2020.

* Labor: Lift the freeze from January 1, 2017.

TAXPAYER-SUBSIDISED MEDICINES

* Coalition: Increase by $5 the co-payment for each prescription; 80 cents for concessional card holders; increase safety net threshold.

* Labor: Maintain annual inflation-indexed increases.

SCHOOLS FUNDING

* Coalition:

– Commitment to fully-fund first four years of the Gonski model.

– Provide another $1.2 billion from 2018-2020, but tied to programs to improve student performance and results.

* Labor:

– Fully-fund Gonski at a cost of $4.5 billion for final two years funded by increase to tobacco tax, superannuation tax concession changes and targeting multi-national tax avoidance.

HIGHER EDUCATION

* Coalition:

– Canvassing alternatives to fully deregulate university fees.

– Review of vocational education, especially private colleges.

* Labor: Cap VET loans to $8000 per student.

FAMILY TAX BENEFITS

* Coalition:

– From July 1, Family Tax Benefit B will be scrapped for couples when their youngest child turns 13. Single parents over the age of 60 and grandparent carers will continue to get this payment until their youngest child turns 18.

– Promise to increase the maximum rate payment by $10 a fortnight on Family Tax Benefit A if parliament passes legislation to scrap the annual supplements, which are top-up payments sent out at the end of every financial year, once parents have lodged tax returns.

* Labor: Maintain annual supplements; oppose changes to Family Tax Benefit A, but agreed to scrap Family Tax Benefit B.

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE

* Coalition: Cut back existing scheme that allows some parents, especially public servants, to double dip entitlements. Instead it will top up the difference an employer pays and what the taxpayer-funded scheme provides for eligible parent earning less than $150,000 per year.

* Labor: No change to existing scheme.

CLIMATE CHANGE

* Coalition:

– Direct Action scheme pays polluters grants to reduce carbon pollution from a $2.55 billion emissions reduction fund expected to be exhausted by end of 2016.

– No long-term renewable energy goal.

– 2030 reduction goal 26-28 per cent.

– Keep the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (which lends dollars for renewable projects and runs at a profit) and ARENA.

* Labor:

– More ambitious plan for emissions cuts and renewable energy, but the details on how they will achieve it longer term are vague.

– A 45 per cent reduction target by 2030 and a goal of net zero by 2050.

– 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

BORDER PROTECTION

* Coalition: Maintain turn-back-the-boats policy; offshore processing of asylum seekers who arrive by boat; pursue third country resettlement options for refugees processed on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

* Labor: Turning back boats where necessary; continued offshore processing but with more emphasis on resettlement including discussions with UN refugee agency.

WORKPLACE RELATIONS

* Coalition:

– Restore the building and construction industry watchdog.

– Tougher governance rules on trade union officials, bringing penalties into line with company directors.

* Labor:

– Opposes return of Australian Building and Construction Commission.

– Yet to outline how it will address illegal behaviour of union officials.

PENALTY RATES

* Coalition: Won’t legislate for any changes, opting to leave the issue to the Fair Work Commission.

* Labor: Won’t legislate to preserve weekend penalty rates; will respect independence of commission and any decision it makes; intervene with a government submission if it wins July 2 election.

* Greens: Enshrine penalty rates in law.

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