Campaign focuses on housing affordability, Scott Morrison promises big tech crackdown

Federal Labor says the cost of buying a home will be reduced by up to 40% for about 10,000 low-to-middle income people a year if it wins the government.

Responding to the policy on Sunday, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the recently expanded Home Guarantee Scheme was preferable to governments owning part of people’s homes.

“Our policy is to ensure Australians own their own homes, Labor Party policy is for the government to own parts of your home with you,” Mr Birmingham told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

Labour’s Purchase Assistance Scheme will provide a capital contribution of up to 40% of the purchase price of a new home and up to 30% for an existing home, with buyers required to make a minimum down payment of 2 %.


Before the last federal budget, the government announced that up to 50,000 spaces would be available each year under its program allowing first-time home buyers to enter the market with a much smaller deposit.

“It’s now helping to really drive homeownership rates up for the first time…and most importantly you get your own house, you don’t have Mr Albanese at the kitchen table,” Mr Birmingham said.

Around 160,000 new owners entered the Australian market last year, compared to a five-year average of around 100,000, he said.

Under the Labor plan, Australians will be able to buy back an additional stake in the house, held by the federal government, in 5% increments or repay the government when they sell.

The program is not exclusive to first-time home buyers, but participants must be Australian citizens and live in the home for two years.

It is expected to cost taxpayers around $329 million over four years, but the Greens say the investment “won’t even hit the sides.”

People watching a real estate auctioneer.

Under the Labor plan, Australians will be able to buy back an additional stake in the house, held by the federal government, in 5% increments or repay the government when they sell. Source: AAP / Diego Fedele

Leader Adam Bandt said housing affordability is one area the party would push for an Albanian government if Labor wins the election.

“What we want to do is work with the next government, which hopefully won’t be a Liberal government…but it’s going to have to be pushed,” Bandt told Insiders on Sunday.

“Housing affordability is a major issue in this country and they’re coming out with a policy that could help maybe 10,000 people, and could actually drive prices up.”

The Greens want to build one million homes over the next two decades, including a mix of public and community housing, condominiums and affordable rental programs.

The debate comes ahead of a Reserve Bank meeting on Tuesday to discuss the prospect of a mid-term interest rate hike.


Scott Morrison promises big changes in tech security

Big tech will need to build enhanced security controls into their devices that are easy for parents to use and hard for kids to circumvent, if the Coalition is returned to the government.

Tech companies are expected to create protections for smartphones and tablets as part of a new eSafety package.

The electronic safety commissioner would work with Apple, Samsung and others to devise device settings and a binding code under the Online Safety Act.

If the industry does not create these controls within 12 months of the election of the government, it will force companies to comply with the regulations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, campaigning in Sydney on Sunday, spoke frequently about online safety during his tenure.

“Our children should be able to learn, be entertained or connect with friends and family without suffering abuse, humiliation or online predators,” he told Nine Newspapers.

“The online world cannot be a den of cowards where real world rules don’t exist.”


In December, Mr Morrison launched a parliamentary inquiry into the effects of social media, saying at the time parents had a right to worry about whether big tech was doing enough to keep children safe.

The government’s e-safety program also includes $23 million to raise awareness in support of e-safety in schools and provide training and resources for teachers.

Some $10 million will also go to the Electronic Safety Commissioner to make it easier to report damage online, expanding coordination with other regulators and law enforcement agencies.

An additional $2 million has been earmarked for an online safety grants program to support women and girls in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The government is also renewing its commitments to push social media companies to be more responsible by legislating anti-trolling and online privacy laws, strengthening ratings, introducing tougher regulations to combat fake news and creating the Youth Advisory Council on Online Safety.

Labor launches election campaign

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Australia could do better than be “three years older”.

Mr Albanese will kick off his party’s election campaign in Perth on Sunday, as Labor continues to lead the coalition in opinion polls ahead of the May 21 election.

He said Perth was chosen because Western Australia – along with Queensland – had been key drivers of economic growth and jobs.

Asked about Sky News ahead of the launch, Mr Albanese said it had been a tough few years for Australia and people wanted more than a throwback to the past.

A vacant stadium being prepared for an event.

The Labor Party’s campaign launch will take place at the Optus Stadium in Perth on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Source: AAP / Lucas Coch

“We can do better than just having three more years of the same thing…Labour has a plan for a better future,” he said.

“We must shape the future rather than being passive and shaped by it.”

He said Australians were suffering from “conflict fatigue”, having been ruled by a Liberal-National coalition more interested in cornering the opposition than finding solutions.

To go beyond that, an Albanian government would organize a “full employment summit” to bring together unions, employers, local, state and federal governments to find ways to boost jobs and growth.

The party’s purchase assistance program will also be unveiled at the launch.

Labor finance spokeswoman Katy Gallagher also flagged an announcement on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.


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