The ALP has pledged $4.1 billion for pensioners, carers and people with disabilities, matching the Coalition’s $4 million plan but adding $140 million to allow seniors to access concessions on transport outside their home state.
The plan also promises a utilities allowance, offering quarterly payments rather than the Coalition’s bi-annual payments. Labor will also increase telephone allowances and spend money for internet access.
Blow-for-blow, Labor has labelled a $433 million Coalition promise to build 50 new family emergency medical centres for after-hours care as me-too politicking. In September, Labor promised $220 million to fund GP super-clinics to ease pressure on hospitals. The Australian Medical Association has backed the Coalition’s plan over the ALP’s.
Today’s Age/Nielsen poll shows Labor maintains a 10% lead on the Coalition. Labor’s primary vote of 48% is unchanged, while Coalition backing has slumped to 41%. With preferences, Labor leads 55% to 45%. Kevin Rudd is ahead as preferred leader at 49%, while John Howard slipped 2 points to 41%.
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Labor has released an advertising campaign claiming a re-elected Coalition would push for more radical industrial relations laws. The ads follow the Government’s delay in releasing key wages data for the June quarter, due out this week, which would show the impact of WorkChoices on pay and conditions since April.
And in North Queensland, Family First candidate Ben Jacobsen has queried Liberal candidate Charlie McKillop’s sexuality. Apologising for the accusation today, Jacobsen admitted he had downloaded internet pornography, but “not for five years”.