Opposition leader Bill Shorten says he has a 3-point plan to lift Australian confidence, which he says has been tarnished by the “political class”.
Speaking at the National Press Club on Tuesday, Shorten said the economy was not heading in the right direction.
“The growth rate is too low. Productivity growth is too low. Wages growth is at historic lows, and even though interest rates are low – they’re not stimulating sufficient economic activity,” he said.
“Put simply – families are under pressure.”
He said there is a need to grow the economy by lifting infrastructure investment – public and private, encouraging new industries and helping existing industries modernise, while boosting productivity by investing in the skills of our people – from schools, to TAFE and higher education, and keeping medicare strong.
“Increasing confidence isn’t just about the economy, it’s about Australia,” he said.
“There is one certainty in 2017: people are disengage in politics and distrustful of politicians. Too many Australians think the political system is broken – and more than a few don’t trust us to fix it.”
He said the rejection of the “political class” is a global phenomenon.
“This year I am going to remind myself to put people first, politics last,” he said.
“Australian are sick to their core of what they perceive to be schoolyard politics.”
He said Labor will work towards restoring Australians’ faith politics, ruined by political expense scandals.
“That’s the nub of the damage done by Sussan Ley – not just to the Coalition, to politics in general,” he said.
“These scandals make it easy for Australians to assume that politicians are all about themselves.
“We need to collectively lift our game.”
He revealed Labor’s three-point plan for better transparency and integrity in the political system:
1. Tighten the expenses system and support the establishment of an independent body like in UK.
2. Clamp down on foreign donations, impose stricter standards for gifts, greater accountability for public funding and enforce these new rules with tougher penalties.
3. Seek a Senate inquiry into the creation of a National Integrity Commission.
“We must listen to Australians and deliver what matters to them,” he said.
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