Bandt to smash Labor over ideologies

Bandt to smash Labor over ideologies

Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt will use a speech to the National Press Club to argue the Greens are the only remaining social democratic party left in Australia, claiming Labor has deserted his side of politics.

In a speech on “The Greens and the 47th Parliament”, Mr Bandt on Wednesday will drive home his message that the major parties are abandoning the left by claiming that “Labor is now the party of the centre-right”.

“Since Keating and Hawke, Labor has adopted neoliberalism, which has privatised public services, cut taxes for the wealthy and adopted more and more austerity,” he will say.

After being called “irrelevant” by Nationals leader David Littleproud on Monday, Mr Bandt is set to pass on the title to the Liberals, suggesting the party as a whole is “irrelevant” and that “with Peter Dutton as their leader … they will go backwards.”

“Our working presumption is that Australia will end this three-year term of parliament with Labor the country’s centre-right party, the Liberals a far right irrelevance and the Greens the dominant social democratic party in a country that still has a big, beating progressive heart,” he is expected to say.

“The Greens are now the only social democratic party in Australia.”

Housing affordability for all, free education and extra healthcare benefits will also be on the cards, as well as a push to end stage three tax cuts.

He will also use his time in the spotlight to offer solutions the Albanese government could take on in the October Budget to address the wages and cost of living crisis.

“First, the government should bring forward changes to childcare: make childcare free and support the workforce,” he is expected to say.

“We don’t need to wait for another review to tell us that childcare is in crisis.”

Mr Bandt is also set to push for the government to include dental in Medicare to deliver “real cost of living relief to everyone in the country”.

“This could be funded by a tax on billionaires and by making tax-dodging gas corporations start to pay tax,” he will add.

“Getting dental into Medicare and making childcare free could save a family of four up to nearly $7,000 a year.”

Mr Bandt is set to dig into the former government about cutting the fuel excise, arguing the attempt at easing the pressure “can be wiped out by a profiteering petrol corporation”.

“We can pay for this by making the billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share of tax,” the Greens leader will say.

Mr Bandt, whose party is seeking an extra 6 per cent wealth tax on billionaires annually, will claim Australia’s wealthiest people “made out like bandits” during the pandemic, “growing their wealth faster than billionaires anywhere else in the world”.

“Regular people are struggling with years of no wage increases, while the obscene wealth of Australia’s 50 richest billionaires has increased by 86 per cent since the pandemic,” the Melbourne MP will say, labelling the annual extra tax for the top dogs a “reasonable response”.

The Greens leader will also put pressure on big corporations, particularly the gas industry, calling them the “poster child tax avoiders”.

“They’re not just profiteering off a Russian dictator’s invasion of Ukraine, they’re driving up energy costs in Australia as well, all while giving next to nothing to the public purse,” Mr Bandt will claim, insisting they pay no tax.

“When a nurse pays more tax than a billionaire corporation, something is seriously wrong,” Mr Bandt will say.

The Greens leader, who is also the party’s spokesperson for the Climate Emergency and Energy, Employment and Industrial Relations, will be speaking at 12:30pm on Wednesday.

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