Report by Harrisen Leckenby,
Debate notes by Scott Huang, Harrisen Leckenby and Abhranil Hazra
UNSW Labor claimed victory in last week’s federal election debate, outmaneuvering the Liberals and Greens in a civilised discussion that never strayed from the talking points of the national campaign.
A total of seven pre-agreed upon questions were asked, ranging from climate change, integrity in politics, foreign affairs and affordable housing.
UNSW Labor was the most articulate throughout the debate. Labor Representatives Daniel and Maddie, championed their policies to provide cheaper childcare, implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart, promised to review the Job Seeker payment and strengthen “ties in the Indo-Pacific.”
UNSW Liberals were prepared and knew the policies of their party. They argued that a lower tax on corporations will lead to effective action on climate change, that they had plans for an anti-corruption watchdog, that they had already increased the Job Seeker payment and that they were investing more than Labor in the defence industry.
UNSW Greens appeared the most uncertain of the three groups, stuttering regularly and occasionally unable to conclude their statements. Their arguments focused on the removal of HECS debts for university students, net 0 climate emissions by 2030, building 1 million affordable homes and arguing for greater transparency in politics.
Labor representatives produced eye rolls and expressed frustration at the Liberal’s claims that they had not broken a promise to introduce an anti-corruption watchdog because it did not have Labor’s support.
Labor also hit out at the Greens in the cost of living debate, arguing they had to “actually form government,” in an attempt to claim that their policies were just the wishes of a few hopefuls.
Major disagreements between the parties followed their federal counterparts. Labor and the Greens disagreed with the Liberals on their Technology not Taxes approach to climate change. The Greens disagreed with both Liberal and Labor in their approach to security policy, arguing that criticisms of China should also be extended to the U.S. Labor attacked the Greens for being unrealistic with their housing policy and the liberals for not providing enough in terms of housing support.
There was little in the way of discussion of how the policies of the larger parties may influence and support young adult voters. Attendees were left guessing how the policies of the major parties would support university students. The Green’s plan to abolish student debt was the only policy that directly impacted the vote of younger Australians.
Overall the debate was informative as it was respectful, markedly better than the leader’s debate that appeared on T.V the night before. The debate can be viewed in full on Tharunka’s Facebook page.