Opposition leader Anthony Albanese laid out a desire to get Australia back to being a country that made things in his Budget reply on Thursday night.
The Labor leader’s visionary speech also said that his party’s plan for a recovery from the pandemic-induced recession would deliver “a stronger, fairer and more secure future for all Australians”
Mr Albanese said there was an opportunity to “make this once-in-a-century crisis the beginning of a new era of Australian prosperity and Australian fairness”.
“We can beat this recession, we can launch a recovery and we can build a future where no one is held back and no one is left behind,” he said.
Mr Albanese attacked Tuesday’s Federal Budget for failing to take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen the country.
His budget reply also condemned how the government had treated older Australians in the wake of the deaths that had taken place in aged care facilities as a result of COVID-19.
“Too many older Australians who built this country are being treated without the respect and dignity they deserve,” Mr Albanese said.
“Too many older Australians are lonely prisoners of a broken aged care system. Facilities run for the highest profits at the lowest standards.”
Should Labor be voted into government at the next election, Mr Albanese would focus on local manufacturing by developing a national rail manufacturing plan and establishing a $20 billion “rewiring the nation” corporation to rebuild electricity transmission infrastructure to prepare Australia’s power grid for renewables.
Labor also promised a massive $6 billion childcare funding boost.
Plans announced ahead of Thursday night’s speech included funding an Australian Centre for Disease Control and a funding boost for the construction or repair of public housing.
Perhaps one of the more important announcements was a commitment to establishing a national anti-corruption commission, with Mr Albanese highlighting that the Australian National Audit Office was cut in Tuesday night’s Budget as “payback” for exposing the Sports Rorts scandal and the $30 million paid to Liberal Party donors for airport land that was worth just $3 million.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison framed Labor’s political strategy as divisive.
“There will be voices that will try and set young people against older people, women against men, jobs in one sector versus jobs in another sector,” the prime minister told reporters.
“They are the voices of division that will undermine the future economic prosperity of all Australians.”
Parliament will debate the government’s Budget bills on Friday, with Labor expected to support the plans to accelerate income tax cuts and most of the other measures that were proposed on Saturday night.
Did you watch Labor’s Budget reply on Thursday night? What do you think of Labor’s plan? Who would you prefer was governing Australia through this pandemic?
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