Super, home ownership and jobs: Five initiatives from the Liberal Party launch

Liberal prime ministers Tony Abbott John Howard

Former prime ministers Tony Abbott and John Howard, and Janette Howard. Source: AAP

Six days out from the election, the Liberal Party “launched” its campaign in Brisbane on Sunday, a final opportunity for Scott Morrison, trailing in the polls, to get a much-needed jolt of momentum.

After a campaign fought largely on attacks on Labor, Morrison tried to defy criticism of his government as being “policy light” with a suite of new announcements. Here’s a few of the key points:

Reinvest super in homes

First-home buyers will be able to invest up to 40% of their superannuation, up to a maximum of $50,000, to help purchase property.

“This is about increasing the choices available to you, within your super. It’s your money!” Morrison said.

Using retirement savings to buy property has long been a policy objective of several Liberal moderates, most prominently backbencher Tim Wilson, who faces a tough battle against independent Zoe Daniel to retain the seat of Goldstein. But the idea has also faced intense opposition from many in the party since it was first floated in 2017.

Targeting older homeowners

Australians over the age of 55 who downsize their property will now be able to invest $300,000 from the proceeds of that sale into their superannuation fund.

The proceeds of the sale will be exempt from the pension assets test for two years rather than one.

“Labor always wants to put the government at the centre of everything. We want to put you and your family at the centre,” Morrison said.

Cancer centre for Queensland

The key health policy announcement of the launch was a $375 million investment in a new cancer centre in Brisbane.

“We will have established a national network of comprehensive cancer centres in government,” Morrison declared.

“This is only possible when you can deliver a strong economy. Because otherwise just talking about stuff, you can’t deliver it without that.”

Jobs, jobs jobs

No new policy announcements here, but the PM spent a lot of time talking about jobs, taking any opportunity to talk up Australia’s low unemployment numbers.

“Nothing fires up my heart more than young people getting in jobs,” he said.

The government plans to create 1.3 million more jobs, including 450,000 in the regions.

“Just think about that! We are approaching a point in this country where everyone who has the capacity and desire to work can get a job! A job!”

The missing pieces

Unsurprisingly, given the party’s bitter divisions on this issue, the words “climate change” didn’t appear once during the campaign launch. The closest we got was one sentence from Morrison spruiking the government’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050 through “technology not taxes”.

Women’s issues were only mentioned in passing. There was brief reference to “protecting women from violence and abuse” as well as money for endometriosis research and cervical cancer screening.

This article was first published by Crikey.


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