The Coalition's proposed changes to superannuation, which include capping concessional contributions at A$25,000 and the introduction of a $500,000 lifetime cap, have angered many Liberal Party supporters.
The proposed company tax was another strong point of debate in the campaign. But the Coalition, which will give small businesses a tax cut that would be expanded to all companies within ten years, is holding firm about its long-term economic benefits.
The Coalition will raise the tobacco excise by 12.5% a year for four years. It has definitively ruled out any reform of negative gearing.
Finally, the Coalition will bring in a "Google Tax" designed to tackle multinational companies structured to avoid tax.
The Coalition's PaTH program, announced in the May budget, offers companies A$1,000 to take on young, unemployed people as interns for up to 12 weeks and a further payment of between $6,500 and $10,000 if they hire them full time. Interns will receive $100 per week on top of their welfare payments.
The Coalition offered $49.2 million to save 2,700 South Australian jobs, matching a Labor promise.
More broadly, the Coalition argues its company tax cuts will help create jobs and growth.
The economic credentials of each party were under the campaign microscope. The Coalition campaigned strongly that Labor was at war with business.
In the final week of the campaign, the Coalition has also announced $2.3 billion in savings through a welfare crackdown.
As expected, the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) released on May 20 did not reflect any major changes to Australia's economic indicators following on the federal budget on May 3. However, the optimistic nature of the underlying assumptions endorsed by Treasury – particularly around economic growth – have been questioned.
The secretaries of Treasury and Finance have warned it is “crucial” for Australia to retain its AAA credit rating, and said surpluses won’t be possible without tax rises unless there is a “considerable effort” to reduce spending growth.
The Coalition has proposed a A$3 billion childcare package that aims to save families around $30 a week for those with incomes between $65,000 and $170,000. It also aims to ensure all children receive 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before school.
Under the Coalition, conditions will be placed on funding for schools, which include introducing literacy and numeracy tests for students in Year 1; minimum literacy and numeracy standards for Year 12 school-leavers; and basing teachers’ pay on performance. Malcolm Turnbull has also called for maths and science to be made compulsory for all students finishing high school.
The Coalition has put all major reforms for higher education on hold for at least a year. All reform ideas being considered – including deregulating fees for some courses – have been outlined in an "options" paper. But the Coalition has confirmed that the Office for Learning and Teaching will be cut – only the teaching awards would remain. And it will cut 22% from the Higher Education Participation Program.
The Coalition plans to reduce the threshold for paying back student loans to between $40,000 and $45,000. However, it has said it would abolish HELP debt reductions for some teaching and nursing graduates.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared Australia’s universal health system, Medicare, "will never, ever be privatised".
Under a Coalition-run Medicare, GPs will be paid the same for consultations in 2020 as they were in 2014. Pathologists and radiologists will no longer receive an incentive to bulk bill patients. If providers pass these cuts on, consumers could face lower rates of bulk-billing rates and higher co-payments.
The Coalition has focused on making private health insurance easier to navigate. It will introduce reforms to simplify billing, standardise definitions for procedures, and introduce gold, silver and bronze categories of cover so consumers know what they are buying.
The Coalition's A$21 million Health Care Homes trial aims to strengthen primary care to keep patients out of hospitals. But it has not funded a full roll-out, and the trial is therefore unlikely to make a difference to many Australians living with chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
The Coalition's $2.9 billion pre-election hospital funding deal with the states ensured public hospital waiting times and elective surgery were largely kept out of the campaign.
The 26-28% cut to greenhouse emissions, announced by Tony Abbott last year ahead of the Paris climate summit, remains the Coalition's policy.
It also remains committed to its A$2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), which offers public funding to carbon-reduction projects, despite persistent concerns that the scheme is still not ambitious enough to get the job done.
Carbon pricing remains anathema to the Coalition, as shown by Treasurer Scott Morrison's hailing of the carbon tax repeal in a budget speech that otherwise steered well clear of climate issues. Yet the ERF could be easily tweaked to become a carbon market, suggesting the biggest hurdle would be political rather than practical.
The Coalition joined with the other major parties and pledged significant funding to safeguard the reef from fertiliser run-off and other environmental problems. It pledged to provide $1 billion in loans from existing clean energy funding over the next ten years.
Finally, the Liberals’ environment platform promises to plant ten million trees over the next three years while also cutting environmental red tape.
There was scarce mention of asylum-seeker policy during the campaign. The Coalition failed to put forward a long-term solution for those men, women and children stranded in detention on Nauru and Manus Island.
The Coalition is steadfast: no asylum seekers who arrive by boat will ever be resettled in Australia. It claims this is in place to act as a deterrent to the people-smuggling trade from restarting.
In 2015, the federal government cut Australia Council funding by around A$104 million to create its National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA). After a widespread outcry, and a Senate inquiry into the impact of the arts budget cuts, it later returned $32 million to the Australia Council. It also renamed and revised the NPEA, establishing the Catalyst fund to distribute $12 million annually in “innovative projects”.
The Turnbull government announced further cuts, in December, of $52.5 million to the arts sector over the next four years – as part of the process of increasing its “efficiency dividend”. These have targeted national cultural institutions such as the National Library of Australia, and the Australian film industry.
In an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull, the federation of national peak arts organisations, Arts Peak, called on him to stem the tide of relentless funding cuts to arts groups, with small artist-run collectives in particular facing a struggle to survive.
Early in his prime ministership, Malcolm Turnbull announced his desire to update Australia's urban infrastructure. He spoke of cities as hubs of innovation, with digital connectivity transforming how cities work.
Turnbull has advocated 30-minute cities, using value capture models to finance public transport. Currently, most of the big projects the Coalition is funding are road-based, such as WestConnex in Sydney and the Monash and M80 upgrades in Melbourne. The Sydney Metro is a notable exception.
The Coalition is committed to funding WestConnex, the M1 and Ipswich Motorway upgrades in Brisbane and the Gold Coast Light Rail. In Perth, the Coalition is funding the Perth Freight Link.
During the campaign, the Liberal Party leaned on the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), announced in December last year, which promised A$1.1 billion for a range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives.
It also gave a little extra certainty to the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (NCRIS) – which funds scientific infrastructure, such as telescopes and supercomputers – with a ten-year assurance of continued funding.
Yet this still follows years of budget cuts that have forced universities, research institutions and the CSIRO to tighten their belts and trim staff. This has sometimes compromised their ability to conduct top-tier research.