Bill Shorten is confronted by an Adani protester as he begins his speech at the ALP’s national conference in Adelaide. (ABC News: Marco Catalano)
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised an overhaul of superannuation and environmental laws if Labor wins office, along with a multi-billion-dollar housing-affordability plan.
- Mr Shorten announced a $6.6 billion plan to subsidise low and middle-income earners
- Investors building new properties would receive a subsidy on condition they kept rent 20 per cent below the market rate
- Scott Morrison has dismissed the proposal as a reheat of a policy launched by the Rudd Government
Mr Shorten’s speech at Labor’s national conference in Adelaide was interrupted before it started, with protesters opposing the Adani coal mine and offshore detention dragged off-stage before he began speaking.
Jane Norman tweet: “”Stop Adani” protestors making some noise outside the ALP conference in Adelaide ahead of this afternoon’s debate on environmental laws.”
“I know these people are well intentioned, but the only people they are helping is the current Government of Australia,” Mr Shorten told the crowd.
Mr Shorten said the biggest challenge for the party was not the Coalition or the Greens, but restoring faith in democracy and the role of government.
“Our deeper opponents are distrust, disengagement, scepticism and cynicism,” he said.
“Our Labor mission is not just to win back government; it is to rebuild trust in our very democracy, to restore the meaning to the fair go.”
The centrepiece of Mr Shorten’s speech was a $6.6-billion plan to subsidise rents for low- and middle-income earners.
Under the 10-year plan, investors building new properties would get a subsidy of $8,500 a year on the condition they kept rent at 20 per cent below the market rate.
Mr Shorten said Labor’s housing policy would save renting families up to $92 a week. (ABC News: Marco Catalano)
“I’m proud to announce that if we are elected, a Labor government will build 250,000 new affordable homes for low-income working families, for key workers like nurses, police, carers and teachers,” Mr Shorten said.
“Our plan will mean that a family paying the national rental average would save up to $92 a week, every week of the year.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already dismissed the proposal as a reheat of a policy launched by the former Rudd government.
“We gave it the benefit of the doubt under the Rudd and Gillard governments and it proved it wasn’t worth the benefit of the doubt,” Mr Morrison said.
“It would just prove to be another failed scheme.”
Mr Shorten said Labor aimed to rebuild trust in Australian democracy. (ABC News: Marco Catalano)
Climate and superannuation key announcements
Mr Shorten revealed a Labor Government would make superannuation a part of national employment standards.
The move, according to Labor, would make it easier for staff to reclaim superannuation payments withheld by bosses, and strengthen punishment against employers.
“The retirement savings of Australian workers are a workplace right,” Mr Shorten said.
“They deserve the same strong protection as other workplace rights.
Mr Shorten continues his speech as protesters against offshore detention are dragged off the stage behind him. (ABC News: Marco Catalano)
“Bosses who rip off their staff, who don’t pay their super, who steal their super, should receive the same punishments and penalties as those who violate other workplace rights.”
In a big win for the left-faction, Mr Shorten also announced Labor would create a new environment protection agency and reaffirmed the commitment to deliver 50 per cent more renewable energy supply by 2030.
That announcement dealt with one of the unresolved issues going into the conference.
“It was only back in 2005 that a mere 7,000 Australian homes had a solar panel on their roof. Today it’s over 2 million households,” Mr Shorten said.
“More and more families are taking back control of runaway power bills, taking pressure off the energy grid, and they have the chance while lowering their cost of living, to individually take up the fight against climate change, house by house, street by street.”
Labor Environment Action Network convenor Felicity Wade has been pushing hard for an overhaul of environmental laws and said the policy was only settled this morning.
“Labor members care deeply about equality, but they also care about the environment,” she said.
“Four hundred and eighty Labor branches supported our motion that said we wanted these things.
“We were negotiating right down to the moment, but Bill has delivered for us this morning.”