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A quick rundown on the Rooty Hill RSL ‘People’s Forum’ starring Ian the truckie!

Tonight’s debate saw some of the more diverse and interesting questions out of the three debates we’ve seen so far. Of course, the highlight of the night was Ian, the truck driver, telling us that  “The forklift driver in Mount Druitt shouldn’t be paying his taxes so the pretty little lady-lawyer on the North Shore can have a baby.”

Of course, there was also policy talk. We’ve cut through the soundbites and party lines to figure out what our leaders said.

Opening Statements

Rudd – Rudd uses his opening statement to talk about his connection to Western Sydney. He also highlights Labor’s role in bringing Australia through the GFC and what he learnt during his time on the backbench. He then goes on to attack Abbott’s paid parental scheme, which he believes favours the wealthy.

Abbott – He will build a stronger economy, scrap the carbon tax, scrap the mining tax and stop the boats. Abbott wants to be known as the “infrastructure prime minister” and wants to stop guns entering the country. He wants to build WesConnex for Western Sydney and build an NBN which is cost effective (60 billion dollars less than Labor’s) and on time.

He also flashes his Western Sydney cred (lived in Emu Plains for a year).

Costings

Rudd – Says that the costs of the Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme will hit retirees. Continues to pressure Abbott to release his full costings and outline what he will cut. He also wants to highlight that excessive cuts can move us into recession.

Abbott – Abbott says that his Paid Parental Leave scheme is fully costed and points to the $31billion of savings outlined today.

Education

Rudd – Rudd points to the Gonski reforms which Labor has committed to fund for six years while the Coalition have only committed to fund for four. He also says that there is a 8 billion dollar difference in the amount of funding provided by the Coalition and the Government.

Abbott – Both parties plan to spend the same amount on schools for the next four years and that schools will benefit if Australia has a strong economy which, he argues, the Coalition will provide. Abbott thinks that more public schools should take on some of the characteristics of the independent school system and says that Western Australia is a great example of how this can benefit schools.

Want to know more about the major party plans for education? Check out electionWIRE’s rundown 

Healthcare 

Abbott – Abbott confirms he will not shut Medicare locals

A Medicare-funded dental scheme

Rudd – Labor introduced Denticare, which they are now looking to move on from.

Abbott – Medicare-funded dental care is something they would look to in the long term but not at the moment.

Building the economy 

Rudd – Labor got us through the GFC. Will continue to build training centres, skilling up our workforce and diversifying our industries.

Abbott – Abbott will abolish the carbon and mining tax, cut red tape and restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

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Aged care 

Rudd –  Wants to be able to provide “tens of thousands” more aged care packages so that more people can be cared for at home. Rudd also says the NBN will help the elderly with healthcare technology at home.

Abbott – The aged care system needs to be improved. In broad terms, Abbott supports the improvements made by Labor over the past 12 months but rejects the recent move to take $1.6 billion dollars was removed from the general system to be allocated to specific aged care workers depending on whether they have an enterprise bargaining agreement.

Disability 

There is bipartisan support for disability care

Environment 

Rudd – We need to be part of the global solution and Labor’s past actions (ratifying Kyoto and pricing carbon).

Abbott – Again, points to a strong economy as the key to saving the environment (I don’t REALLY see the logic behind this but… okay). Abbott will also have a ‘Green Army’ of 15,000 who will directly support environmental initiatives.

For more on environment policy check out this short vid from electionWIRE. 

Foreign ownership of our land

Rudd – Rudd seems to be a bit vague on this subject but promotes a more cautious approach.

Abbott – Sometimes it’s in our national interest to let foreigners buy our land and if it is, he will not oppose it. He will reduce the threshold of land acquisitions considered by the Foreign Investment Board and

Protecting local farmers from foreign imports 

Abbott – Abbott says that we have to accept that it works both ways. Just as foreigners can sell to us, we can also sell to them. He says the Coalition will strengthen anti-dumping laws.

Rudd – Labor will look into the Coles/Woolies duopoly and how they can encourage proper competition.

Superannuation 

A questioner asks why Australians can’t have more flexible access to their superannuation.

Rudd – Rudd can’t promise anything for younger people  in terms of access to super but says we need to reconsider how older people can access super.

Abbott – Abbott thinks that the current system is good.

Unemployment and casual employment

Rudd – Rudd points to our growing economy, relatively low levels of unemployment and low interest rates. He says we need good training and apprenticeships and allowances for toolkits.

Abbott – If we have a strong economy, employers will be more prepared to take people on. The Coalition will provide this.

Closing statements 

Rudd – Rudd’s plan is to build the economy and jobs for the future, build the NBN, provide education funding and focus on health and hospitals.He wants to ease the cost of living through childcare fun dinging and the school kids bonus. He takes a final swipe at Tony Abbott’s $22billion PPL scheme.

Abbott – Abbott plays on the trust issue. He says that he also supports the NBN but the difference is he’ll actually deliver it. He points to the circus of the Labor government over the past six years and says that to end this you need to end the government.

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