Adam Bandt reveals balance of power asks at Greens national campaign launch in QLD
Greens Leader Adam Bandt will address the Greens official national campaign launch in the Brisbane seat of Griffith today, which the party is hoping to win, and outline the Greens ‘balance of power’ shortlist for negotiations in the likely event of a minority Parliament.
The Greens have said they will put on the table a pared-back version of their comprehensive platform - a 7 point balance of power shortlist - comprised of no new coal and gas mines, cost of living measures like dental into Medicare, and action for First Nations’ people.
The party has also suggested revenue proposals to pay for its measures which it believes Labor could adopt, with all measures focused on making big corporations and billionaires pay their fair share of tax and none on lifting revenue on everyday people.
With support for the Greens surging and a minority parliament increasingly likely, Mr Bandt will say that:
- no new coal and gas;
- dental and mental health into Medicare;
- building 1 million affordable homes and better renters rights;
- free childcare;
- wiping student debt;
- lifting income support; and
- progress on all elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart;
will be priorities for the party. (Details of each element are set out in the table below.)
The Party would still campaign on its comprehensive plan that includes other measures (such as free education) and would seek to progress those during the life of the next Parliament, but that the fully-funded shortlist represented a starting point for discussions in a minority Parliament and also signalled the party’s priorities when exercising Senate balance of power in either a minority or majority parliament.
Addressing a crowd of Party supporters at the BlackHops Brewery in the electorate of Griffith, Mr Bandt will say it is important that all voters know what the Greens would be pushing for with Labor in a minority parliament after kicking the Liberals out.
Recent polling shows the Greens vote is surging in Queensland with all three inner Brisbane seats on the cusp of falling to the Greens.
Mr Bandt will be joined at the launch by Greens Senate Leader Larissa Waters, Greens QLD Senate candidate and school teacher Penny Allman-Payne, Greens candidate for the Labor seat of Griffith, Max Chandler-Mather, Greens candidate for the Liberal seat of Ryan, Elizabeth Watson-Brown, and Stephen Bates, Greens candidate for Liberal seat of Brisbane, as well as many other lower house and Senate candidates from around the country via videolink.
The launch will be live streamed on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
The Greens are on track to be the most powerful third party in the next Parliament, with balance of power in the House and Senate very likely.
Quotes attributable [Excerpts from speech] to Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP:
“In balance of power, the Greens will kick the Liberals out and push for urgent action on the climate crisis, the cost of living crisis and justice for First Nations people.
“Voters deserve to know what will be on the negotiating table. Of course we want to see all our policies implemented, but these will be at the top of the list.
“The Greens will kick the Liberals out and tackle the climate crisis by stopping new coal and gas mines, and we’ll address the rising cost of living by getting dental and mental health into Medicare, building affordable housing and making childcare free.
“The Greens also want action for First Nations people, including a Truth and Justice Commission to begin acknowledging the violence and dispossession of this land’s first peoples, as well as progress towards a Treaty, to complement Labor’s commitment to progress the Voice to Parliament.
“We’ll also tackle inequality and cost of living pressures by pushing to wipe student debt and increase income support above the poverty line.
“By making big corporations and billionaires pay their fair share of tax, we can build a better future for all of us.
“This election has become a narrow contest between a terrible government that’s got to go and a visionless opposition that keeps agreeing with them. The Greens will kick the Liberals out and keep Labor on track.”
Minority government - background
Adam Bandt and the Greens were central to the Gillard minority government securing a major investment of $13 billion into clean energy and dental into Medicare for kids, reforms that continue today and now are supported across the Parliament.
For the last decade Mr Bandt has worked across the Parliament, especially with the crossbench, and is an experienced negotiator. Within the first year of the last minority Parliament, Mr Bandt secured cross-party support for legislation addressing high rates of cancer amongst firefighters because of their work, and worked on several hundreds of pieces of legislation in the minority Parliament. Anthony Albanese was the government Leader of the House during this period.
About the priorities
The following policies have been publicly announced and have been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office.
No new coal and gas
The Greens will push for no new coal and gas mines to be opened, something climate scientists, the International Energy Agency and the UN have all said is vital to meeting climate goals.
Research indicates that if the 114 currently proposed coal, oil, and gas projects are allowed to continue, they will emit pollution equivalent to 2.5 times Australia’s annual carbon emissions.
The Beetaloo project alone will increase Australia’s emissions by an estimated 13%, something not accounted for in Government or Labor climate modelling.
The proposal includes the Greens’ ‘Looking After Coal Workers’ plan, including wage subsidies for coal workers as coal is exited.
One million new public homes, to be built over 20 years, will clear public housing waiting lists, make housing more affordable, end homelessness, and ensure everyone has a roof over their head. As part of this plan, people can buy into some of these dwellings for $300,000 or rent them for 25% of their income.
Dental and mental health into Medicare
Under the Greens’ plan, everyone eligible for Medicare will be entitled to access clinically relevant dental services with Medicare rebates, including general dental, orthodontics, and restorative services.
The Greens will also expand the Better Access Initiative to unlimited psychology or psychiatric therapy sessions and raise their Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rebates for patients with a diagnosed mental illness. The rebates would be offered at two levels to give mental health care providers a real avenue to providing no-gap mental health care.
The Greens will make early childhood education and care free for everyone, including by expanding universal access to preschool for 3 and 4 year olds
Wiping Student Debt
Nearly three million people owed an average of $23,685 in study debt in 2020-21, and the Greens will ensure young people are provided with relief from their debt sentence and money is put back into the pockets of those who need it most. The Greens plan will abolish all student debt.
Lifting income support
The Liveable Income Guarantee would see all government income support payments raised above the poverty line, mutual obligations abolished, and unfair restrictions on who can access the payment removed, to ensure that everyone has the means to cover their basic essential needs.
Progress on all elements of the Uluru statement will be priorities for the party
The Greens will work with the next government to pass major reforms to improve First Nations rights and lives, including the establishment of a Truth and Justice Commission and a Treaty Commission.