ANU experts comment on Shorten's Budget reply

5 April 2019

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has delivered his reply to the 2019 Federal Budget. 

A number of ANU experts are available to comment on the Budget reply and its implications for Australia.


Dr Liz Allen

Centre for Social Research and Methods

"The Opposition's Budget reply was one of missed opportunities. Political posturing over the last three years indicated Australia could have had the option for real policy reform regarding population wellbeing, but it's not to be."

"Investments in the economic and social conditions influencing health - from cradle to grave - would offer a bigger bang for the buck because of the greater effectiveness of prevention over cure."

"A comprehensive health approach, alongside education investments, would have helped ensure Australia's future workforce and economic sustainability."

"The Budget alternative does not offer any real improvements or solutions to an ageing population. The omission of details addressing liveability, life-long wellbeing, and population dynamics sends a clear signal Australia will need to wait longer still to have its needs met."


Mark Kenny

Australian Studies Institute

"In short, Labor's gone for vision, while the Coalition is offering accounting." 

"Bill Shorten has used his Budget reply speech to outline a bold set of ideas for Australia, setting the scene for an election offering voters starkly contrasting versions of government, the economy and society."

"The Opposition Leader has seized the initiative, just days after the Government's own scene-setter."

"Shorten's formula was heavy with connection points aimed at recently enrolled voters and the lower paid, speaking to concerns over climate change, health, housing affordability, and stagnant wages."

"The Government is sure to attack Labor's plans as wasteful, irresponsible, economy destroying and typical tax-and-spend politics."

"But there's little doubt this contest has become a real one, and a clear threat to the Morrison/Frydenberg formula."


Dr Andrew Hughes

Research School of Management

"Labor's strategy this election? Reduce the risk + increase the value = increase the vote."

"Labor stick to the tried and tested strategy of Liberal lite on the economy, social progression, money into front line services for health, education and welfare, and of course the good ol' class warfare to wrap it up."

"Labor stick to the conservative small target strategy in an election year, reinforced by the subtle fear/scare campaign to keep that six per cent lead in the two party-preferred poll. All they need do now is hope that the Coalition challenge that and not create their own narrative."

"With that the stage is set for election 2019, with both parties having their narratives locked in. The Coalition should be happy though as they get their wish for an election fought over, initially anyway, the economy."


Dr Gaetan Burgio

The John Curtin School of Medical Research

"Bill Shorten's $2.3 billion commitment to eliminate out of pocket expenses such as medical imaging for Cancer patients is a landmark proposition."

"This would have a profound impact on cancer care in Australia and many households and families."

"He also proposed to uncap university places indicating a return of the demand driven funding system for higher education in Australia."

"While more details on the budget bottom line need to be revealed, this is an overall ambitious Budget reply from the Opposition Leader."  


Dr Andrew Carr

Strategic and Defence Studies Centre 

"It's disappointing to see only two brief references to defence in Shorten's Budget reply speech (on the unhelpful commitment to two per cent of GDP and industry support). There were zero references by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg." 

"I get that budgets are not the place to do defence policy, but they demonstrate priorities and (lack of) attention."


Dr John Hewson

Chair, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute

"Shorten has defined his election strategy by reaching beyond economic numbers in an attempt to demonstrate empathy with key issues."

"This includes education and health which are of particular concern to a broad cross section of voters."

"The race is on."