Albanian unveils old school Labor platform and stark choice for Coalition

Despite the presence of Paul Keating and numerous invocations from Bob Hawke, the labor of the Hawke-Keating years was little visible at the launch of the Labor election campaign. Anthony Albanese presented a platform strongly focused on production, nation building, better wages and conditions and an extension of the concept of universal care to elderly care and childcare. This was old-fashioned Labor stuff, much of which was heard in the 1970s, but with two crucial modern twists.

Above all, there was a return to state banking – right in front of the Prime Minister who had sold the Commonwealth Bank, Keating himself.

The Labor Buying Housing Assistance Program — under which the government would fund partial equity in new homes (40%) and existing homes (30%) for up to 10,000 low- and middle-income applicants per year — will effectively turn the federal government into mortgage financing. , albeit through equity and not through loans, and in a limited form (in 2021 there were about 140-50,000 loans for first-time homebuyers). Applicants would be able to buy out Commonwealth equity if they so choose. Proceeds from the scheme – under which the Commonwealth would co-own a significant stock of real estate – would be spent on building social housing.

The scheme will only add more Commonwealth-funded housing demand without adding supply, although the only positive design element is that it significantly boosts the purchase of new housing rather than existing housing stock, meaning applicants will receive 10% of the purchase price of a home if they opt for new construction.

To tackle the supply side, Albanians also announced a state-local-Commonwealth housing council, which was thought to promise little more than talk about land provision.

It’s an old-fashioned, economically irrational solution – and will probably be popular for that very reason. It also fitted the Albanian tone for a nation that, as he incessantly reminded us, “can do better.”

His five-part pitch focused on energy investments, including a new commitment to expand electric vehicle charging stations across the country; increased investment in manufacturing – including $1 billion to be spent on value-added manufacturing in areas such as lithium and nickel; increasingly independent investment in infrastructure; addressing the gender pay gap and improving tertiary education, including by using local procurement in investing in Commonwealth infrastructure; and the Labor “care” package that includes already announced support for aged care and childcare, plus a higher government bid to cut PBS costs, capping all PBS scripts at $30.

Albanian also started at the very beginning with a commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart. When he kicked off his launch with a commitment to Indigenous reconciliation, recognition and treaty, it turned out that, while economically old-fashioned, this was not the 20th-century Labor party on display.

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