The Labor incumbent: The Hon Michael Danby MP

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As the federal election approaches, there’s one sentiment that I’m hearing above all others – disappointment. As the signs around St Kilda cheekily illustrate, even street artists know Malcolm Turnbull has been a ‘fizza’.

When Turnbull took over from Tony Abbott we were promised a “different style of leadership” that “respects the people’s intelligence, explains the complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it”.

The respect for people’s intelligence didn’t last very long as Turnbull continues to resort to ugly Abbott-style scare campaigns.

Turnbull not only refused to distance himself from Peter Dutton’s disgraceful denigration of asylum seekers, he embraced Dutton’s hysteria about “illiterate refugees” taking Australian jobs and, paradoxically, sitting endlessly on welfare. This fits well with the general pattern of fear and loathing around negative gearing, climate change and marriage equality.

Beyond the collective sigh of relief at the deposal of former PM, the ‘Slogan Bogan’ Tony Abbott (as he has been called), Malcolm Turnbull has failed on all of the key measures he set out in his first speech as Prime Minister – measures that would consolidate a difference between him and his predecessor.

The “economic leadership” we so sorely needed turned out to be a shambolic series of balked attempts at real tax reform. First he sent his treasurer Scott Morrison out to campaign for a 50% rise in the GST before summarily throwing him under the nearest bus, when a rise in the GST proved predictably unpopular.

The next Turnbull thought bubble was the idea of asking State Governments to collect income tax – double taxation, if you like. Malcolm Turnbull labelled this the “most fundamental reform to the federation in generations”. Again it proved predictably unpopular and was dropped within 24 hours.

More recently, we’ve seen the Liberals’ plan to retrospectively tax superannuation. Many hard-working Australians have been planning to rely on their super into their retirement and were dismayed at the idea of the government retrospectively dipping into their savings in a tax grab that will force people to dispose of assets/super savings dating back to 2007.

After years of debt and deficit hysteria, debt and deficit has increased under the Turnbull/Abbott Governments.

Most disappointing of all has been Malcolm Turnbull’s complete failure to establish any of his own policy directions distinct from Tony Abbott. Turnbull is running on the record of the Abbott government and has been forced to abandon any of his previously held convictions to appease his hard-line conservatives. At least you knew Tony Abbott believed in what he was selling.

If the Liberals retain government after this election, not only are we headed for a bitterly divisive marriage equality plebiscite – costing somewhere in the order of $525million – but we’re unlikely to meet commitments made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, despite the $2.55billion gifted to polluters to reduce their carbon pollution output.

Their latest trick has been to ‘delay’ key policies which supposedly underwrite the last two Abbott/Turnbull budgets. $450million in cuts to pathology services such as pap smears, blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, ultrasounds and MRIs have now been shelved until after the election, along with the ‘backpacker tax’ and the ‘zombie policy’ of $100,000 university degrees that just won’t die.

On all of these issues, Labor has dutifully stepped in to fill the policy vacuum created by Turnbull’s inability to unite his party or present a fair and coherent policy platform.

We have a positive plan for housing affordability and will defend penalty rates, protect Medicare, safeguard superannuation and shut down unfair tax breaks for multinationals.

Labor will also fully fund our local schools in line with the Gonski education review’s recommendations and put a stop to Turnbull’s $100,000 degrees.

Within 100 days of forming government, Labor will ensure that we finally join Britain, Ireland, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand in embracing marriage equality for LGBTI communities.

We understand the urgent need to encourage an orderly transition towards a clean energy economy. That’s why we have a comprehensive Climate Change Action Plan which will see us reach 50% renewable energy by 2030 and provide new jobs in the industries of the future.

We will fix Turnbull’s NBN debacle by establishing a real high-speed broadband internet network and we will repair the budget bottom line in a way that is fair and equitable. Across Melbourne Ports, only a handful of units are connected to the NBN. The vast majority of St Kilda, Elwood, Albert Park, South Melbourne, Elsternwick and the rest of Ports are still waiting.

The Labor team are focused, united and ready for government and I will continue to work as hard as ever to ensure I’m granted the honour of representing you in the next parliament.

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