Political Australia

Compare the Policies & Positions of Labor, Liberal and The Greens




The Greens



Democratic Socialism

Green Politics (socialism and environment)

Place on Political Spectrum




Economic Ideas

Minimal government involvement in the economy where possible

Minimum wages, Increased taxes for high income earners

Increased business taxes & environment-related taxes. Favours regular wage increases and welfare system

Position on gay marriage

Against. Potentially open to conscience vote.

For. To be introduced via a conscience vote.


Views on asylum seekers 

Turning vessels away, otherwise mandatory detention of asylum seekers

Deny settlement to asylum seekers who paid smugglers for passage

Opposes mandatory detention

Policy on Education

Community approach to education. Increased student exchange between Australian and Asian universities

Increased public school funding, partly funded via cuts to spending on universities

Increased public school funding. Scrapping of university fees. Scrapping of public funding to private schools

Policy on Broadband

National Broadband Network to provide a ‘Fibre To The Node’ network to households

National Broadband Network to provide a ‘Fibre To The Home’ network to households

Supports Labor’s National Broadband Network policy

Policy on Climate Change

Target for 23% of Australia’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2020. Repealed Labor's carbon tax.

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Replace carbon tax with Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme.

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero within ‘a generation’. Increased development of renewable resources.

Policy on Health

Incentives for medical staff to practice in regional areas. Fund more hospital beds. Increased resources for mental health

Rebates for people who obtain private health insurance. Work with states to fund hospitals

Increased mental health funding

Medicare to be universal health insurance system. Dental care to be part of Medicare. Increased mental health funding

Strong support in

Middle/high income urban areas

Middle/low income and ‘blue collar’ urban areas

Inner city areas






Malcolm Turnbull

Bill Shorten

Richard Di Natale

Notable Leaders

John Howard, Robert Menzies, Harold Holt

Paul Keating, Julia Gillard, Bob Hawke, Gough Whitlam

Bob Brown






Liberal_Party logo



Transport and Infrastructure

The Labor Party formed Infrastructure Australia, whose purpose is to provide advice on national infrastructure needs and priorities. A number of programs, such as the Building Australia Fund, have been introduced with the aim of upgrading public transport, rail and road networks.

The existence of Infrastructure Australia is supported by the Liberal Party, and it aims to strengthen and enhance the body’s role. The party also aims to finance the construction of numerous freeways, but has indicated it will not finance urban rail projects.

An infrastructure policy based on sustainable planning is a major Greens objective. The Greens also wish to drastically expand the country’s transport infrastructure, which it describes as coming under “decades of neglect”. 


A National Broadband Network (NBN) ‘Fibre To The Home’ network to Australian homes formed Labor’s core broadband policy. The intent was to provide high-speed broadband to approximately 93 per cent of premises in Australia. 

A ‘Fibre To The Node’ network is the Liberal Party’s policy. This would provide broadband via existing copper lines that are owned by Telstra, which would result in slower speed’s than Labor’s network, and implementaton to date has been more expensive and slower than expected.

Although Labor began implementation prior to the 2013 federal election when Liberal won the election, work on Labor's implementation was ceased with the NBN is now implementing Liberal's Fibre To The Node network.

The Greens support Labor’s Fibre To The Home NBN.

Gay Marriage

With support from prominent Labor politicians, Labor have committed their support for same-sex marriage. Shortly after a re-elected Labor Government, a Bill will be introduced to Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage via a conscience vote. This is where Members of Parliament vote on their personal conscience rather than on party lines.

Under Malcolm Turnbull's leadership, a re-elected Liberal party aims to hold a plebiscite by late 2016. A plebiscite is effectivly a non-binding referrendum where the public votes on a subject. 

The Greens are for same-sex marriage as well as equal rights for homosexuals (such as, for example, parenting rights). 

Climate Change

All parties acknowledge the existence of climate change. Labor introduced a carbon tax with the aim of encouraging businesses to use fewer hydrocarbons, which have contributed to climate change.

The Liberal Party repealed the carbon tax and instead offer investment via an Emission Reduction Fund. The fund benefits companies and landowners for the purpose of reducing emissions via adopting energy efficient resources and storing carbon dioxide in soil.

The Greens support the carbon tax. The party also aims to establish a national system of energy efficiency targets and a detailed strategy to reduce emissions from all major sectors.


Labor aims to focus largely on investment in primary and secondary schools. The current Labor Government supports implementing the reforms suggested in the Gonski Report, which include spending $5 billion per year on education, with 75 per cent of that funding going to public schools. However, some funding for the reforms has come from cuts to university spending.

The Liberal Party supports a greater grassroots emphasis on education, including giving greater autonomy to school principals on how to best direct funding. The party also supports implementing higher teaching standards in primary and secondary schools as well as allowing universities to offer full-fee paying places to students.

The Greens wish to increase public funding of public schools while significantly reducing public funding of private schools. The party also aims to scrap TAFE and university fees and increase public school teachers’ pay.


A private health insurance rebate is favoured by Labor, although Labor introduced an income test for the rebate in 2012. Labor also favours a funding model that directly provides money to individual hospitals rather than to other government entities.

Providing greater health services to regional areas is a major Liberal Party health priority. It aims to provide financial incentives for medical staff to relocate to and practice in regional areas. The party also aims to devote more resources to mental health.

A universal publicly-funded health care system is at the core of the Greens’ health policy. It also aims to put a greater emphasis on mental health, with increased support services and the prevention and early detection of mental illness and suicide being major aspects of Greens’ health policy.

Asylum Seekers

Labor introduced mandatory detention for asylum seekers in 1992 and continues the practice today. It originally opposed, but now supports the offshore detention of asylum seekers in areas such as Nauru and Manus Island. In recent months, this stance has escalated to deny settlement in Australia to all asylum seekers who paid people smugglers for unauthorised passage.

The Liberal Party supports mandatory detention and introduced offshore detention in 2001 as a way to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming to Australia. The party also wants the navy to turn back all boats carrying suspected asylum seekers where circumstances allow.

The Greens oppose all mandatory detention and offshore processing of asylum seekers and believe all asylum seekers are entitled to work rights, social security, education, health services and legal representation while their refugee applications are processed.  

Indigenous Affairs

All three parties support the recognition of Indigenous people in the Australia’s federal constitution.

Support of the Closing The Gap program is a core Labor policy. The program is a joint federal and state initiative that aims to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians in various areas. Labor also aims for investment in health care and better access to housing, education and employment for indigenous people.

The Liberal Party aims to put indigenous affairs at the highest level of government by establishing a Director-General of Indigenous Policy Implementation post in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Like the other parties, the Liberal Party also aim to invest in initiatives that aim to improve education, health and employment among indigenous people.

Greens policies on Indigenous affairs include the financial compensation of members of the stolen generation and a treaty recognising the colonisation of indigenous lands. The Greens also wish to introduce tailor-made initiatives to reduce gaps in health, education, employment, housing and living standards to the indigenous community.

Social Services

Labor supports a social welfare system but has made some contentious changes to some social services. In 2012, the Labor Government announced that those on a single parent payment will be moved to the dole once their child turns eight. The Labor Government also introduced the Paid Maternity Scheme and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Social services and welfare are also supported by the Liberal Party, albeit in a smaller form. The party aims to abolish the schoolkids bonus and overhaul a number of social service agencies including Centrelink and Medicare. The Liberal Party are looking to introduce tighter constraints on the Paid Maternity Scheme, with many concerned this will impact low income earners most. Labor strongly oppose these cuts.

The eradication of poverty in Australia is the key driver of the Greens’ social services policy. It aims to lead a shift in community and government perceptions of those accessing welfare and support, who the party views as being unfairly blamed.

Defence and Security

Labor supports the close defence and security relationship between Australia and the US. It also supports stronger defence and strategic ties with Southeast Asia as part of growing relations between Australia and that region.

The Liberal Party favours increased spending on defence and security, and also supports Australia’s close defence relations with the US. There is also greater support within the Liberal Party for international military intervention, as seen in East Timor, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands.

The Greens wish to take an active role in eliminating weapons of mass destruction. The party also stands for the closure of all foreign defence bases in Australia and an end to Australia’s participation in the US Missile Defence program.


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