2022 federal election: what are you really voting for?

2022 federal election: what are you really voting for?

Let’s get back to basics: Australia has four main parties. But what do they stand for and why should we care? (Image via SBS)

By Sophie Gauvin | @Sophgauvin

It can be difficult to mentally consolidate what each political party stands for as leaders bid to win votes in the lead up to an election.

OTR has dusted off the glitter to find out more about Australia’s four main parties and help you understand who you’re really voting for.

What is the coalition?

A coalition is an alliance of parties using their collective numbers to form government, which is the case for the Liberal Party of Australia and The Nationals.

The major party, the Liberals, are supported by the minor branches, the Nationals, that hold similar right-of-centre views.

The Coalition is strongly against the creation of a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), as proposed by the opposition, which could retrospectively investigate corruption without permission from the government.

What is the Liberal Party of Australia?

Formed to give Australians an alternative to the Labor Party in the 1940s, the Liberal Party traditionally support business owners.

As a conservative party, the Liberals seek to decrease taxes, deregulate private businesses and reduce public spending.

The Liberal Party policies aim to bolster the Australian economy as business owners continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their plans to do this include introducing tax incentives for business owners to embrace the digital economy and train employees, and increase military funding to create 1500 new jobs in the defence manufacturing industry.

Prime Minister and Liberal Party of Australia leader, Scott Morrison. (Image: National Archives of Australia)

Liberal Party leader and current PM, Scott Morrison, acknowledges that his government has had their flaws, but advocates that they are a government Australians know.

“It’s a choice between a strong economy and a Labor opposition that would weaken it,” Morrison says.

“It’s a choice between an economic recovery that is leading the world and a Labor opposition that would weaken it and risk it.”

What is The Nationals Party?

The Nationals formed federally in the 1920s to give a political voice to regional Australians, which is still reflected by the party today as country-focused conservatives.

The key policies of The Nationals involve agriculture and regional jobs related to the farming and mining industries.

They seek to remove the regulation for major resource projects and reduce the current environmental approval process time.

The Nationals plan to invest billions of tax payers money in the Roads to Recovery Program to upgrade key regional road corridors, and a further $1 billion in the National Forest Industries Plan to support the growing forestry industry.

The South Australian and Western Australian Nationals parties are not members of the Coalition.

Therefore, if they are elected federally, they may or may nor align themselves with the Coalition and could vote entirely independently.

Deputy Prime Minister and The Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce. (Image: The Australian)

The Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, is clear about the party’s goals to provide for regional Australia.

“We have the vision to utilise wealth from our soil, whether mining or farming, and combined it with strategic infrastructure to grow our nation and make it as strong as possible, as quick as possible,” Joyce says.

What is the Australian Labor Party?

Born out of the union movement, the Australian Labor Party is the country’s longest standing political player.

Historically, Labor has had a strong focus on workers’ rights and sit left of centre, appealing to progressive voters.

The Labor Party’s policies seek to reduce the cost of living by introducing support to regional first home buyers, ending wage stagnation, upgrading renewable energy technology, and reducing the cost of medicine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes.

Additionally, they seek to strengthen the availability of government support services, such as Medicare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme, that were previously created by the Labor Party by maintaining taxes.

Australian Labor Party leader, Anthony Albanese. (Image: Australian Labor Party)

Labor Party leader, Anthony Albanese, says he is humbled to put himself forward for the position of Prime Minister in the 2022 election.

“If I have the honour of serving as your prime minister, I can promise: I will lead with integrity and I will treat you with respect,” Albanese says.

“I will restore faith in our political system by getting rid of the waste and rorts, and establishing a strong anti-corruption commission.”

What is the Australian Greens Party?

The Australian Greens are the largest of the non-major parties and formed in the early 1990s with their origins being traced to the early environmental movement in Australia.

The progressively left-wing party is too small to form a government; however, their power brings the Labor Party more left of centre.

With more Greens senators in the Upper House, the Labor Party relies on the Greens’ support to pass legislation.

The Greens’ policies have a strong focus on climate change, aiming for a 75 per cent reduction of fossil fuels by 2030, and implementing job guarantees for coal miners and gas workers during a rapid phase-out with no new fossil fuel infrastructure built after 2030.

They look to upgrade the economy through renewable energy both for domestic energy production and exports to neighbouring countries to replace coal export, planning to end $11 billion per year fossil fuel subsidies.

The party support multiculturalism, LGBTQIA+ issues, and a treaty with Indigenous Australians with constitutional recognition.

The Greens look to eliminate student debt, establish free healthcare and education, and raise welfare above the poverty line to $88 per week by taxing billionaires and increasing corporate taxes from 30 per cent to 40 per cent on giant corporations with over $100 million in profits.

Australian Greens leader, Adam Bandt. (Image: National Press Club)

Greens leader, Adam Bandt, tells Australians that voting for the status quo will only make certain nothing changes.

“This election is an opportunity,” Bandt says.

“Change is closer than you think.

“If you want action on the climate crisis and policies that leave no one behind: you just need to vote for it.”

What now?

The best way to make your vote count this election is to learn as much as you can.

Ask questions and fall down rabbit holes.

Tools like Vote Compass, provided by the ABC and developed by political scientists, help you explore how your personal views align with those of the main parties discussed above.

Head to the Australian Electoral Commission to research your local candidates.

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