OTR’s political editor, Dani Bozoski, answers your top questions about the 2022 federal election. (Image via The Chaser)
By Dani Bozoski | @danibozoski
The 2022 federal election is fast approaching and if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of political information out there, we can relate.
OTR asked readers for their burning questions about the election and we have explained the top three, so you can go to the polls prepared.
How will the election result affect cost of living?
Since 2013, the cost of most household items has increased by 4 per cent more than overall Australian inflation.
The cost of beef has gone up 81 per cent, secondary education by 45 per cent, and Adelaide alone is seeing its highest petrol prices since 2009 at 220 cents per litre.
Wages, however, are only growing by 2.3 per cent per year, compared to 4 per cent yearly growth during the early 2000s.
Labor’s policies on decreasing the cost of living include reducing national debt and then filtering that money into things like wages, more detailed auditing of the budget, and improving Medicare.
The current Coalition Government has halved fuel excise for six months, continued tax relief schemes, and promised lower medicine costs across the nation.
What about housing prices?
Only some areas of Australia will see a significant drop in housing prices after the election.
Some of the more expensive cities like Melbourne and Sydney will see a decrease, but prices in cities like Adelaide and Brisbane are predicted to stay relatively the same.
However, the Reserve Bank predicts that, only weeks after the election, interest rates for mortgage holders will increase.
If they rise by even 2 per cent, housing prices will decrease by 15 per cent.
Despite Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese publicly refusing to make changes that affect capital gains tax, Labor promises investment returns will be filtered into the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) to fund thousands of “affordable housing projects”.
Liberal has extended the Home Guarantee Scheme that offers first-time-buyers entry into the housing market with only a 5 per cent deposit.
The party also offers one-off payments of $250 and $450 to millions of low and middle income earners.
How will the election result affect climate change?
The climate has been a little-discussed issue by the main parties this election season, despite being highlighted by many Australians as a main concern.
The Liberal Party aims to achieve net zero by 2050 by cutting emissions through “preserving industries”, investing $20 billion in “low emission technology”, and by holding itself “accountable”.
Labor also plans to cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.
Their plan includes an electric vehicle strategy and investments into “green manufacturing”.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes professor and director, Andy Pitman, told the ABC that the Greens’ plans to meet net zero are “consistent with what scientists have been saying” and “would get Australia close to net-zero by 2050” if applied.
But most experts agree there is not enough discussion by two main parties, which leaves little hope that these goals will be met.
Is voting below the line worth it?
The senate ballot has two options.
The first is numbering the six boxes above the line, with your order displaying your preference of entire parties.
Below the line, you’ll find every single candidate running for senate in your state, and you number a minimum of 12 individuals.
When you vote above the line, you are saying that you’re simply happy for your preferred party to get in, and your individual candidate preferences will be made for you.
But below the line, you can vote for the candidates in your own order, without having to group the parties together.
The main benefit of voting below the line is that you can put your preferred candidate of a certain party at the top of your list; and if there is a candidate in that same party that you don’t like, you can express that in your vote.
There are some other uses to voting below the line, like if you prefer independent MPs.
For example, the It Takes 3 campaign argues that if just three independents succeed in the election, they will have enough votes to have a strong hand in issues like climate change, gender equality and political accountability – topics the main parties aren’t talking about.
So, it is worth finding out what your local independents are saying, and which causes they are supporting.
The only downside to voting below the line is the extra time it takes to know enough about the individual candidates in your electorate, and that you’ll be at the polling booth for a little while longer!