Australia polls 2010: Issues that matter

Australians are all set to cast their ballot on August 21 to decide whether to re-elect the centrist Labor for a second-term or to choose a conservative government.

Australians are all set to cast their ballot on August 21 to decide whether to re-elect the centrist Labor for a second-term or to choose a conservative government.

Here are key policy differences:


  • GOVERNMENT: A proposed 30 percent tax on coal and iron ore mining profits from 2012. Company tax cut from 30 percent to 29 percent from 2012-13 for small business, and from 2013-14 for big companies. Higher employer payments into worker pension funds, from 9 percent to 12 percent, by 2019-20.
  • OPPOSITION: No new mining tax. Cut company tax to 28.5 percent from 30 percent from July 2013. But big companies pay a matching 1.5 percent levy to fund parental leave policy. To announce tax reform agenda within 12 months.
  • GREENS: Miners should pay more tax, but the money should be kept in a fund to pay for infrastructure projects.


  • GOVERNMENT: Budget to return to small surplus from 2012-13 and a 2 percent cap on new expenditure pending bigger surpluses.
  • OPPOSITION: Produce a national economic blueprint within a month. Cut 12,000 public service jobs with a two-year recruitment freeze. Faster pay-down of government debt, and return to surplus budgets from 2012-13.


  • GOVERNMENT: Build a USD 33 billion national broadband network, involving an AUD 11 billion (GBP 6.3 billion) deal to use Telstra infrastructure.
  • OPPOSITION: Scrap the national broadband network and instead spend up to AUD 6.3 billion to deliver broadband via fibre, wireless and satellite technology through private enterprise.
  • GREENS: Back Labor`s National Broadband Network but will push for it to remain in government hands.


  • GOVERNMENT: Cut carbon emissions by at least 5 percent by 2020. Carbon emissions trade scheme delayed until after 2012. An assembly of 150 people to help build consensus for a price on carbon. Rebates to trade in inefficient cars. New coal-fired power stations must have carbon capture and storage.
  • OPPOSITION: Match 5 percent emissions cut by 2020, but no carbon emissions scheme. An AUD 3.2 billion climate policy to include AUD 1 billion emissions reduction fund to help individuals and industry cut emissions. Plant 20 million trees, and an AUD 1,000 solar panel rebate.
  • GREENS: A two-year USD 23/tonne carbon tax on big polluters, with USD 5 billion returned to households, a long-term 100 percent renewable energy target, USD 4.5 billion in green loans for big renewable energy projects.


  • GOVERNMENT: Target a sustainable population rather than a big population. Net immigration to fall from around 300,000 in 2009 to around 145,000 by 2012.
  • OPPOSITION: Annual net immigration not to exceed 170,000, and population growth of no more than 1.4 percent against 2.0 percent currently.
  • GREENS: To base population policy on environmentally-sustainable levels not economic drivers.


  • GOVERNMENT: Asylum seekers to be processed at a centre in East Timor, although the plan needs that country`s backing.
  • OPPOSITION: Reintroduce "Pacific Solution" of detention of asylum seekers in the Pacific island nation of Nauru and halting refugee boats before they reach Australian waters.
  • GREENS: Increase the annual refugee intake by 20,000. Abolish detention of asylum seekers. Create a visa for refugees from Pacific islands threatened by rising sea levels.


  • GOVERNMENT: Fund 18 weeks on minimum wage from January 2011.
  • OPPOSITION: A 1.5 percent tax on companies earning more than AUD 5 million, to fund 26-week leave scheme on the mother`s wage, up to AUD 150,000. Scheme to start in 2012.
  • GREENS: 26 weeks paid parental leave at the minimum wage. Parents can split the leave.

    Compiled by: Kamna Arora