20 September 2020

Labor launches fifth re-election campaign with pledges of more teachers, free childcare

| Dominic Giannini
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr launching Labor's re-election campaign

Chief Minister Andrew Barr officially launched Labor’s re-election campaign with his family over the weekend. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

One day a week of free early learning for three-year-olds and 400 more teachers and support staff for ACT public schools have rounded off Labor’s weekend after officially launching their re-election campaign for a record sixth term in government on Saturday (19 September).

Four-year-olds in the ACT currently have access to 15 hours of free early childhood education every week – a target Labor also wants to reach for three-year-olds.

One day a week would be the first step to reach this target, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.

“Well-established research has shown that the period from birth through to eight years – especially the first three years – sets the foundation for every child’s social, physical, emotional and cognitive development,” he said.

“In 2020, the ACT Labor Government started this work by providing 600 three-year-old children most in need with access to access 15 hours a week of free, quality early childhood education.

“A re-elected ACT Labor Government will continue to work with the early childhood and care sector in Canberra to deliver this service for all families with three-year-old children in the ACT.”

About $15 million annually will be set aside for the program’s expansion.

Education Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry said a re-elected government would also hire an extra 25 teacher-librarians by the end of 2024.

Ten of these teachers will be provided with a scholarship to complete their required qualifications while extra funding will also be given to schools to help them employ a qualified teacher-librarian.

Labor also committed to an extension of the utilities rebate in 2021 from $700 to $900.

The announcements came on the weekend when ACT Labor officially launched their fifth re-election campaign – hearing virtually from party stalwarts including leader Anthony Albanese, Senator Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek.

ACT Senator and former Chief Minister Katy Gallagher

ACT Senator and former Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at Labor’s campaign launch. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Former Chief Minister and current ACT Senator Katy Gallagher also spoke, lauding her former deputy for leading the most “progressive and experienced” government in the country while taking the opportunity to fire a few potshots at her former adversary, Zed Seselja and ACT opposition leader Alistair Coe.

Successive speakers – from Labor ACT branch president Brooke Muscat to Senator Gallagher – wasted no opportunity to brand the Liberals as an “ultra-conservative” threat to Canberra.

The Liberals used the attacks to reignite their criticisms of the government, saying “Labor demonstrated their total obsession with Alistair Coe’s active leadership in the community, talking him and the Liberals on at least 30 occasions throughout the launch while only mentioning cost of living once”.

“It is clear Labor has all the wrong priorities,” a Canberra Liberals spokesperson said.

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However, Mr Barr said Canberrans needed a continuation of the government which has led the Territory in its most tumultuous year – including its worst fire season since 2003 and an unprecedented economic threat from the pandemic.

“Now, more than ever, Canberrans need an experienced, mature government they can trust to lead the Territory,” he said.

However, despite all the advantages of incumbency, a sidelined opposition during the pandemic and a significantly larger war chest, Mr Barr said 2020 would be just as close as previous elections due to the nature of the Hare-Clark system.

“There will be a well-represented opposition in the Parliament, there are not wipeout elections in the ACT like you can get in some other jurisdictions,” he told the launch.

“We will be out campaigning for every single vote.”

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HiddenDragon6:58 pm 22 Sep 20

“Labor also committed to an extension of the utilities rebate in 2021 from $700 to $900.”

Yet another example of double-standards from ACT Labor – they squawk about a rates “freeze” being a “tax cut for the big end of town” (as if it would only be plutocrats who might benefit from a freeze) and then add another $200 to a rebate which had already been increased in the 2019 ACT Budget and which is not all that well-targeted if genuine need is the real criterion –


A working person making more than $571 p/w misses out, for a couple it’s $985 p/w –


privatepublic10:38 am 22 Sep 20

Whichever way you slice it, the fact of the matter is ACT finances are a problem. ACTPS folk will more than likely vote for the current status quo in the belief that they will not lose their position. Financial reality dictates at some point, the balance sheet must be in the black more often over a set period.

Corporate/Government Interest rates Will only go up as financial reality hits a home run as inflation will have to be reined in. As history has provided a brief overview of what happens when large economies raise rates in a hurried manner, most smaller economies must follow as to ensure investors do not dump the currency. Inaccurate information via banking rating agencies provisioned to Government and Financial Institutions at this point in time is extremely dangerous. If one were to say, “when have the means (ICT) and other governance instruments to stop issues occurring such as in 1929”, no it will just occur in real time.

Major issue, especially when a bank (one of the four pillars) goes belly up and unfortunately it looks as one will. They are currently stress testing a %40 housing drop. On the other hand, a Government collapse is not a pretty sight. With consequence of an unfavourable chaotic result.

Regardless of which party(s) win the forthcoming local election, there will be numerous redundancies involved. White collar low to mid-range across all directorates, possibly for the exception of the health directorate. Otherwise read paragraph two if some cash is not saved/overspent.

If memory serves me correct, Labor first came to power, redundancies were offered throughout the ACT blue collar workforce.

The current government should stay in power, so they can fall on their swords during the 2024 election. Thus the “educated” may recall their redundancy via the ACTPS

You seem to have overlooked the triple A credit rating of the ACT government. Doesn’t seem to suit your apocalyptic post.

privatepublic2:46 pm 22 Sep 20

One would hope that none of what I wrote comes true, however it is possible, but vivaciously not probable. I do hope that for all of us everything works out.

A small parrot expressed his feelings from his perch, that in lay-man’s terms on spreadsheets (FMIS) covering large ongoing costs do not match, only two years back. Recall the Canberra Hospital and other ACT institutions via the transparent and removed Auditor General having great concern senior officers were intently or accidentally fudging figures. If a rating agency cannot see a whole transparent figure, what then? “It looks ok from the outside, let’s doo it as we need the fee”

Ratings agencies have provided AAA ratings when the actual truth is less than transparent. If one agency provides a BBB, the organisation concerned will go to the competition and seek a AAA and/or go back to the first quote and say “match it”, this is the way the world works. Look at the 2008 financial crisis, numerous banks and merchant outfits were AAA rated on a worldwide scale. The fact that Macquarie was AAA rated during the 2008 financial crisis was on one of many worldwide outfits that had to be bailed out. Without Federal Government funds, MAC would have collapsed taking all their holdings (IT, tollways, building services, malls and the list goes on) where the majority their holdings were internationally based.

it’s a Standard and Poor’s credit rating which is highly reputable. So no need to panic about Canberra’s finances…and try not listen to too many parrots.

Not defaulting on your loan, yet not paying down the principle, and continuing to borrow more is not a great idea. All that is required for a triple A rating is paying back the bare minimum on time. This isn’t the glowing financial reference you want to portray it as.

Capital Retro5:11 pm 22 Sep 20

“….especially when a bank (one of the four pillars) goes belly up and unfortunately it looks as one will.”

Remember folks, when this happens the shareholders are last to receive a dividend if indeed the funds extend that far. Even the cleaners who empty the waste bins in the banking chambers are preferential creditors.

Who has the most shares in the banks? You may wish to ask your super-fund managers that question.

privatepublic5:16 pm 22 Sep 20

Summed up quite well ssek, S&P did not do to well regarding the 2008 crisis.

Acquaintances in areas off Sydney, Paddington, Mosman have lost jobs and are already experiencing severe loss on investment as a guide on other areas. They all own their property. FYI I do not reside there.

Astro2, from my point I have no concern at all for me personally. Look around and pay some attention.

Sorry about the parrot, did not like spelling it out. I was referencing high level employees, well above your grade ayers.

As a young one watching others in 87, numerous franchisors, franchisees and medium businesses lost everything overnight and a corresponding housing drop of almost 50% in Canberra alone did not bide well with many. At that time, the territory was administered by the Feds. Melbourne was destitute out of interest.

1997 Asian financial crisis – money ran dry, (set off via Thailand as financiers calling in their money – small economy), which required an IMF bailout and major change in financial rules. House prices in Canberra dropped by an average of %10.

2008 was an unpleasant experience as an expat witnessing other in distress and you could say that anyone working for a major merchant had total disbelief and disregard for S&P, Moody’s and so on.

Not interested in going back and forth. I can detect your assumptions are based off “emotion”. When it comes to finance here and the international ring, only fact, figures, history, and governance apply.

Capital Retro5:21 pm 22 Sep 20

From Wikipedia:

“Credit rating agencies such as S&P have been cited for contributing to the financial crisis of 2007–08.[25] Credit ratings of AAA (the highest rating available) were given to large portions of even the riskiest pools of loans in the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) market. When the real estate bubble burst in 2007, many loans went bad due to falling housing prices and the inability of bad creditors to refinance. Investors who had trusted the AAA rating to mean that CDO were low-risk had purchased large amounts that later experienced staggering drops in value or could not be sold at any price. For example, institutional investors lost $125 million on $340.7 million worth of CDOs issued by Credit Suisse Group, despite being rated AAA by S&P.[26][25]

Companies pay S&P, Moody’s and Fitch to rate their debt issues. As a result, some critics have contended that the credit ratings agencies are beholden to these issuers in a conflict of interests and that their ratings are not as objective as they ought to be, due to this “pay to play” model.[27]

In 2015, Standard and Poor’s paid $1.5 billion to the U.S. Justice Department, various state governments, and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to settle lawsuits asserting its inaccurate ratings defrauded investors.[28]”

Just saying.

It’s a solid recommendation for the economic health of the ACT. (There is a lot more involved in this type of rating than ‘paying back the bare minimum on time’ ) It’s certainly a better recommendation for economic health than the rantings of bitter ex-pollies.

Capital Retro10:07 am 22 Sep 20

The image with the caption: “Chief Minister Andrew Barr officially launched Labor’s re-election campaign with his family over the weekend. Photo: Dominic Giannini.” is totally disingenuous.

Andrew Barr’s closest “family” is his partner who he is married to and he isn’t in the photo.

What a bizarre statement. Hint: your siblings, parents, cousins and aunts and uncles are generally referred to as your family. Don’t know what the point of your statement is and doubt anyone else with either.

Capital Retro5:14 pm 22 Sep 20

The point is that my wife wouldn’t wouldn’t be happy to be left out of a “family” photo.

How do they plan to pay for all of this?
By increasing your cost of living. Higher rates, higher taxes, and increased fees, and driving the ACT even deeper into debt.

Maybe they’re proposing to pay for it with the mythical “fiscal responsibility” you were talking about last week.

Although I do find it a bit strange that you don’t expect the same detail of the Liberals when the exact same question was raised last week also.

No, what I am doing is applying the same standard of comment to articles about Labors spending. And as expected, all I hear are crickets. Amusing.

So you think it’s OK to be a hypocrite if other people are as well?

Interesting position to hold.

And yes, it is amusing.

No, I think it is hilarious to ask the same question that is asked of every Liberals policy released, and notice the shills silence, or complaint of daring to ask the question.

Your inability to discern between hypocrisy and my big stirring spoon isn’t something I can help you with.

Except when you were asked the same questions about the Libs, you went silent.

Hmmm, What was that about shills again?

KURRAJONG – inner south.
A crystal clear definitive policy position opposing current and future waste tipping hubs proposed for the light industry and retail FYSHWICK precinct has votes in the balance for both the Liberal party and Labor..

Barr = higher rates
Greens = Barr.
Nothing else matters.

Not the environment, future energy sources, education, health needs; nothing else matters to you, but rates. What an ego central, narrow universe you inhabit!

When people are squeezed every year by ever rising rates and their standard of living is falling because their income doesn’t keep pace with these Labor/Greens imposed rises, their focus necessarily narrows to the essentials.
Those who through good fortune are unaffected by rate rises would do well to keep their dismissive arrogance under control lest they be perceived as modern days Marie Antoinettes.

I can assure you that I don’t have a huge income. I can’t afford to live in Deakin for instance as some here do. (Big Liberal voting area.) And yes I do notice the rising rates, but I also recognise that there are expenses to be paid; healthcare, education, etc. And they don’t use fairy money.
Arrogant! It wasn’t me who wrote “…rates….nothing else matters”, putting only what you want for you personally. Basically, saying let the hospitals, school, etc eat cake…to use your analogy. So you plan never to need hospital care, etc? Or will it be different then when you need it?
I don’t know your personal situation, but you do come across of putting yourself first, and ignoring other social needs. Otherwise, why write what you did.

The only problem with your comment is that taxes were previously and will continue to be paid. Nothing has changed in that regard.

You just seem unhappy that the government is now making home owners pay more instead of home buyers.

It’s obvious why you were happy with the latter but object to the former.

Self interest is a very powerful motivator.

People should also be asking what Coe equals. Because it isn’t overly clear.

We know they stand for everything that “annoys” people about Labor but opposing for votes is far easier than actually governing.

russianafroman6:28 pm 21 Sep 20

Maya123, All Labor has done for us is build chic apartments for the rich. The Liberals are looking out for the blue collar blokes. They’re not interested in the ostentatious promises of the left.

You do not dispute the fact that Barr = high rates, but appear to have some conceptual difficulty with ‘nothing else matters’. That was stated to highlight the critical issue. Rates. All other things matter less when one is being financially screwed. My concern with rates has always been on their unfair (regressive) application on property values, irrespective of income and capacity to pay, meaning a higher impact on lower and moderate income households. Being unconcerned about the creeping hardship that ever rising rates causes to others is selfishness epitomised.

How many councils in Australia don’t charge rates based on property values? And you are the Libs going to change that? Are they going to reduce rates?

As for Barr and Labor raising rates their plan has been clear and out there for many years and they are doing what Howard wanted when the GST was introduced in 2000 get rid of taxes like stamp duty. Even some Liberal states like NSW see the value in that. So must be in the party DNA.

chewy14 – home buyers are being duped because even if they may less in up front stamp duty when buying their house, they will pay more over time as home owners through excessive annual rate rises. Stamp duty was a bad tax but has been replaced by something far worse. Would you pay a once only $50k in stamp duty or annual rates increasing by an average of 10%pa from a base of $4-$5-$6-$7-$8k………….? A spiralling debt has been imposed on all of us that we cannot escape from unless forced out of our homes.

JC – you are right. He is an uninspiring and unknown option. When you are between the known devil and the unknown deep blue sea it takes a leap of faith. But I am sure the status quo loving conservative Canberra electorate will stick with the devil they know.

Rates are directly linked to the land value, so is a direct tax on a person’s wealth.

This idea that we shouldn’t tax objectively wealthy people because they might have a low income (for the moment) is too absurd to countenance.

No one is forced to pay the tax, they are free to sell whenever they want.

If they want to stay, they are also free to use the equity in their property to remain in place.

The alternative is to tax poorer people at higher amounts so rich people dont have to pay anything.

It is a highly progressive and efficient tax.

russianafroman. Some apartments were built by the government near me, but they are hardly “chic”. But they look adequate and okay. They were for disadvantages people. Now, please do show where “chic apartments for the rich’ the government has built. Not apartments that people have paid to have built for themselves, but as you state, “All Labor has done for us is build chic apartments for the rich”, so these fantasy apartments the government had paid for and built for the rich. And how do you define rich? People who have had to take out big loans to pay for these apartments? Otherwise, stop these fairy tales. It only makes you look silly.

Capital Retro10:49 am 22 Sep 20

No matter what we do about the environment, China will undo it thanks to the UN dimwits who allow them to create unlimited pollution as they are still a “developing” country.

When are all you “climate crisis devotees” going to start demonstrating against China?

The change is revenue neutral, so on average the same amount will be paid by everyone over time.

People move house on average every seven years, so it isn’t just a one off stamp duty payment. Usually it’s multiple payments over periods of time that result in significant reductions in housing mobility and people remaining in unsuitable houses because it’s too expensive to move.

And even if the change wasn’t revenue neutral, it would still be a good move. The rates costs is reflected in property prices. If you increase holding costs significantly, over time the prices will reduce commensurately.

“Stamp duty was a bad tax but has been replaced by something far worse.”

Except it isn’t worse as I’ve explained and shown repeatedly. It seems that the people who think it’s worse are mostly wealthy people who dont want to pay a reasonable amount of taxation in accordance to that wealth.

Interestingly, these same people are often the biggest beneficiaries of government services and the lifestyle amenity provided by the expensive land they own.

Expecting to have your cake and eating it too is not a reasonable position to hold.

Yes, let’s completely discount the fact that any increase in rates is passed on to tenants of rental properties. These people often rent out of necessity, because they can’t afford to buy. Directly increasing their cost of living. It’s hilarious that this is constantly ignored by ACT Labor shills.

So apparently I’m not allowed to respond to the false claim that landlords can just arbitrarily increase rents when they feel like it.

Random unsupported claims are OK, evidence based economics not allowed. LOL.

russianafroman11:40 pm 25 Sep 20

Maya123 Again you confirm the nature of the ostentatious left. The liberals are looking out for the hardworking folk. I’m talking about apartments clearly designed for the rich, for example demolishing government housing in Civic and inner city areas like Woden and building apartments which are clearly designed for rich people. Now tell me where Liberals have campaigned for that. Labor seems to be looking out for leftist “pseudo-intellectuals”, who rather live in luxury than actually distribute their wealth like they claim to want to.

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