Anthony Albanese has positioned Labor as better than the Coalition on climate, housing and health, as the party held its campaign launch in Perth.
The pitch came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison returned to the issue of online safety, as he sought to shore up and win Sydney seats.
Mr Albanese said the May 21 election was a choice between ‘shaping the future or being shaped by it’.
The launch at Perth’s Optus Stadium included new promises on cheaper medicines, electric vehicle charging stations and equity for first home buyers.
‘This government has had a decade in office and in another three years the problems we need to fix will be even bigger,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘We can do better.’
Before Labor’s official campaign launch, Mr Albanese posed for a photo with his son Nathan, 21, in a rare public appearance.
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese (right) posed for a photo with his son Nathan (left), 21, ahead of the Labor campaign launch at Optus Stadium, Perth
The Albanese family has played a large part in Mr Albanese’s political career over the years with the Labor candidate using his family’s tumultuous history to help his ‘open book’ image
Housing is likely to be a hot topic this week with the Reserve Bank widely expected to lift the cash rate on Tuesday, for the first time in 12 years.
Labor’s Help to Buy scheme will provide an equity contribution of as much as 40 per cent of the purchase price of a new home and up to 30 per cent for an existing dwelling for 10,000 Australians.
The scheme will enable savings up to $380,000 for new homes and $285,000 for existing ones, with price caps of between $550,000 and $950,000 depending on the state and region.
However, Mr Morrison said the approach was flawed.
‘They (the Labor government) will have equity in your home and as that your equity goes up, they’re gonna keep it,’ he said.
Mr Albanese and girlfriend of two years Jodie Haydon at the Labor Party’s official campaign launch at Optus Stadium, Perth
Labor also one-upped the coalition on medicines, announcing drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will cost a maximum of $30, with a $12.50 reduction for general patients.
Gender pay equity will become an objective in the Fair Work Act and there will be more electric-vehicle charging stations.
More broadly, Mr Albanese said Labor would bring the principles of universal, affordable and quality service to child care and aged care.
‘For too long, our youngest Australians and our oldest Australians and their families have lived with broken systems … I will make it the Labor government’s mission to fix this.’
Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong at Labor’s campain launch
Anthony Albanese greets former Labor leader Paul Keating
He stopped to embrace former Labor leader Kevin Rudd
Mr Morrison announced the coalition’s blueprint to improve online safety, an issue he also intends to take up – if re-elected – at a global level at the G20 summit in Bali later in the year.
Big tech will be required to build enhanced safety controls into their devices that are easy for parents to use and hard for children to bypass.
The eSafety Commissioner would work with Apple, Samsung and others to design device settings and a binding code under the Online Safety Act.
If the industry does not create these controls within 12 months of the government being returned, it would move to force companies to comply with regulations.
On broader economic issues, asked what the Coalition would do about rising grocery prices, Mr Morrison said he had already halved the petrol tax, provided cash payments to pensioners and implemented an income tax break to start on July 1.
He said the war on Europe and the ongoing impact on supply chains of the Covid pandemic were key pressures on inflation.
‘The Labor Party think they have some kind of Harry Potter wand that you can just raise in government and it changes the price of a lettuce – it’s ridiculous,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘That shows a complete lack of understanding of what is driving prices.’
Mr Morrison held a local campaign rally in the seat of Reid, as Liberal strategists fear the loss of a swathe of seats in Sydney to Labor and independent candidates.
An average of the most recent opinion polls puts Labor on 54 per cent of the two-party preferred vote – which if replicated on election day would deliver a comfortable majority.
Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese will take part in the second leaders’ debate on May 8.
LABOR’S CAMPAIGN LAUNCH ANNOUNCEMENTS
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has unveiled new policies on health, housing and equality as he launched the party’s campaign in Perth.
* The Help to Buy scheme will provide an equity contribution of as much as 40 per cent of the purchase price of a new home and up to 30 per cent for an existing dwelling for 10,000 Australians.
* The scheme enables savings of up to $380,000 for new homes and $285,000 for existing ones, with price caps of between $550,000 and $950,000 depending on the state and region.
* Australians will be able to buy an additional stake in the home, owned by the federal government, in five per cent increments or pay the government back when they sell.
* Homebuyers will avoid lenders mortgage insurance but still need a two per cent deposit and qualify for a standard loan.
* Australians with a taxable income of up to $90,000 for individuals and up to $120,000 for couples can access the scheme.
* The scheme will cost around $329 million over four years.
* Labor will also establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council.
* Medication on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will be cut by $12.50, bringing the maximum price of listed medicines to $30.
* Labor will build more electric vehicle charging stations across Australia through a $39.3 million investment, matched by the NRMA.
* Up to $80 million to deliver up to 16 hydrogen stations on Australia’s busiest freight routes.
* Many electric vehicles will be exempt from import tariffs and fringe benefits tax.
*Labor will double the Driving the Nation Fund to $500 million, allowing the Commonwealth to co-invest in additional EV chargers, as well as hydrogen and biofuels refuelling infrastructure.
* Labor will use $1 billion as part of its $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to develop value-added products from Australian resources.
* Minerals like lithium and nickel used in batteries will be processed in Australia.
* One in every 10 jobs on federally funded worksites will be filled by apprentices or trainees.
* Gender pay equity will become an objective of the Fair Work Act.
* The Fair Work Commission’s powers to order pay increases for workers in low paid, female-dominated industries will be increased.