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Here's what could decide Australia's vote

Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten will go head to head. Images: Getty
Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten will go head to head. Images: Getty

Scott Morrison will call the federal election this morning, with speculators tipping 18 May to be the date.

As he prepares for the announcement, these are the key issues for the upcoming election.

Tax. The coalition says Labor has a plan for an extra $200 billion in taxes, including a ‘retiree tax’. Labor says the coalition wants to give the big banks a tax cut, while people on lower incomes struggle. Expect a joust over who has the biggest and fairest personal income tax cut.

Power prices. The coalition says it has a multi-pronged plan to reduce power and gas prices, while ensuring reliability during peak periods. Labor has adopted the coalition’s former National Energy Guarantee, which government research showed would cut prices by $550 a year on average.

Climate change. The coalition is sticking with its Paris target of reducing emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, but has no specific climate policy. Labor has set a 45 per cent emissions reduction target, by delivering 50 per cent of power by renewables by 2030, and wants all industries to play their part, not just the electricity sector.

Borders. The coalition says Labor’s “soft” stance on border protection will reopen the people smuggling trade and result in deaths at sea and a major cost blowout on detention centres. Labor says it supports boat turnbacks and offshore processing but will do so in a more humane way.

Health. The coalition has boosted funding for the states and territories following the badly-received 2014 budget savings. Labor says it will restore funding to the system and the coalition can’t be trusted with Medicare.

Education. The coalition insists schools funding will continue to rise over time as the Gonski 2.0 reforms are rolled out. Labor says schools funding remains uncertain and has offered sweeteners to the church and independent sector.

National security. The coalition says it is best placed to handle terrorism and other threats to national security and is willing to promote legislation to give greater powers to police and intelligence agencies. Labor says national security is a priority, but wants to ensure there are proper checks and balances in any new powers.

Industrial relations. The coalition is taking a hands-off approach when it comes to the Fair Work Commission’s decision-making, which now has more employer-focused personnel over the term. It also warns of Labor being dictated to by the unions. Labor says the existing system needs reform as workers are not benefiting from economic growth and casuals are being exploited.

– Paul Osborne, AAP.

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