Mr Shorten with his wife Chloe during a Labor Party campaign rally at Box Hill Town Hall in Melbourne on Sunday. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Mr Shorten with his wife Chloe during a Labor Party campaign rally at Box Hill Town Hall in Melbourne on Sunday. Picture: AAP/Darren England

Shorten unveils his ‘Robin Hood’ plan to win votes

BILL Shorten has unveiled his plan to buy votes though billions of dollars in cash handouts to families and pensioners, as the Labor leader styles himself as a modern day Robin Hood.

It what was the most significant day of the election campaign so far, Mr Shorten made more than $6 billion in spending commitments on Sunday, drawing from Labor's sizeable war chest built on the back of $387 billion worth of tax grabs.

About three million pensioners are being promised free dental care, 370,000 families free childcare and more than 80,000 childcare workers a wages windfall as the Labor leader draws a dividing line between his battlers and the Aussies who will be footing the bill for the tax and spend agenda­.

 


If Labor is elected, Mr Shorten pledged pensioners would get $500 a year for dental care while childcare workers would be handed a 20 per cent - or $11,300 - pay rise over eight years.

ALP insiders labelled Sunday's announcements the "dividend" of "hard policy decisions" allowing Mr Shorten to fight on what his government "can do for you".

It came as both major parties made soft launches with the election campaign properly beginning after the Easter and Anzac Day holidays.

The Opposition leader and his wife Chloe Shorten after speaking to Labor Party supporters at a rally in Melbourne. Picture: Kym Smith
The Opposition leader and his wife Chloe Shorten after speaking to Labor Party supporters at a rally in Melbourne. Picture: Kym Smith

Former prime minister John Howard accused Mr Shorten of fostering "envy and division" and using class warfare to secure votes.

"We have seen emerge, for the first time in a long time, the politics of division," Mr Howard warned.

"I believe very strongly that the things that unite Australians are infinitely greater and more enduring than things that divide Australians.

"We don't want people labelled as being rich and at the big end of town. People are working hard and making money, providing they do so honestly, and they pay their fair share of tax.

"It is fundamental as that."

How Labor plans on delivering its free dental and handouts for childcare.
How Labor plans on delivering its free dental and handouts for childcare.

In front of a crowd of Labor faithful in Victoria, Mr Shorten argued Labor was offering voters a "genuine choice".

"We are closing the loopholes, we're ending the unsustainable tax giveaways, not just to make the system fairer or more efficient, but because government is about choices, and we choose to fund the investments which will make our economy stronger, make our country better," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a liberal party campaign rally in Sydney with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and former PM John Howard. Picture: Gary Ramage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a liberal party campaign rally in Sydney with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and former PM John Howard. Picture: Gary Ramage

Mr Shorten accused the Coalition of "trickle-down economics where if the rich get richer somehow there might be a few crumbs for you".

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek echoed Mr Shorten's push for a government which makes choices. She said the childcare package, which includes a boost to subsidies for families earning less than $175,00, was paid for "because we don't want to see the continuation of tax loopholes".

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Labor's spending promises were funded by higher taxes.

"So, he's giving with one hand and taking with another," Mr Frydenberg said.

"He's going to slug the Australian people with $387 billion of higher taxes. If you are a retiree, you are going to pay higher taxes.

"If you are a superannuate you will pay higher taxes. If you go to work you are going the pay higher tax.

"If you run a car or own a property or shares you will pay higher taxes. Wherever you look Bill Shorten will hit you with higher taxes, so his spending promises are not worth the paper they are written on."

The Prime Minister at a Liberal Party campaign rally in Sydney on Sunday. Picture: Gary Ramage
The Prime Minister at a Liberal Party campaign rally in Sydney on Sunday. Picture: Gary Ramage

Australian Taxpayers' Alliance policy director Satya Marar said Labor's policies pick winners and losers based on the number of votes that could be won rather than based on sound economic advice.

"They're taking money off the wealth creators," Mr Marar said.

"They are willing to hike taxes on self-funded retirees, hike rents disguised as tackling housing affordability, hit people with aspiration through hiking capital gains tax.

"The childcare subsidy is just a vote buying measure. It's good that it's means tested but it's still taking hard-earned money from people who don't have children in childcare and handing it to those who do."

 

UNION AD REVEALED AS AN ACT

They are young "workers" complaining about the cost of living while holding down jobs such as call centre operators.

But, in reality, the aggrieved stars of a new trade union advertisement complaining about their underpaid working lives are actors who actually earn their living as influencers, models and radio presenters, as well as having other part-time jobs.

The powerful Australian Council of Trade Unions paid the young female actors to appear in the advertising campaign aimed at putting Bill Shorten in The Lodge. To find talent for its commercial, which urges voters to change the government, the ACTU put out a casting call through an agency and offered $2000 for the gig.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal at least five people appearing in the ad have profiles on auditions website StarNow and, in addition to being actors, list their talents as "influencer", "model" and "radio presenter".

In the ads, which push for restoring penalty rates and an overhaul of the bargaining system, men and women describe having to work multiple jobs or struggling to pay bills even when working full-time.

The ads end with a voiceover saying: "This is not Australia. Change the government. Change the rules."

A spokesman for the ACTU confirmed the union held an "open casting call".

"Some people appearing in the ads have acting experience, others do not. All have other jobs," the spokesman said.

"All are speaking unscripted about their real-life experiences. Everybody who appeared in the ads was paid fairly.

"In our materials, release and press conference we have been clear about this process."

One of the ad's stars, Tayla Carney - who lives with her parents in Victoria - said she found out about the auditions on a Facebook call-out which urged people with more than one job to apply.

- Sheradyn Holderhead

 

$156M TO PROTECT ELDERLY, BUSINESS FROM CYBER ATTACK

A re-elected Coalition government would invest $156 million to protect older Australians, small businesses and national security assets from the risk of cyber-attacks.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said cybercrime costs the Australian economy more than $1 billion annually.

"We need to ensure Australians are protected and our defence forces and capabilities continue to get the backing they need," he said.

The $156 million cyber-resilience and workforce package will include $50 million to create a Cyber-Security National Workforce Growth Program­.