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2016 Australian Federal Elections

2016 Australian Federal Elections

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Australian politics continues to be at the forefront of discussion across the country. In the following months Australians will hit the ballot boxes to decide on new representatives for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

On the 21st March, we observed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull deliver statements regarding the 2016 elections that assured the public it would be increasingly likely that the election would be a double dissolution - where the entire Senate will be dissolved and voters electing a new House and Senate, most probably, on the 2nd July.

A major highlight during Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull’s statement included the budget set to be released on the 3rd of May.  The release of the budget will see election campaigns of the major parties gain momentum, as it will be clear what funding changes may occur with a returning Coalition government. Despite this, current political debates suggest that some of the key issues addressed in the election will be asylum seeker policy, tax reform, funding of Medicare, environmental policy, constitutional recognition of Aboriginal peoples, gay marriage, affordable childcare, penalty rates, and funding of higher education.

Australian parties position on Palestine

The major parties have differing positions and approaches to the situation in Palestine. 2015 saw the ALP officially describe Israeli settlements as illegal in accordance with international law and considered full Australian recognition of the State of Palestine if they were to win the 2016 federal elections. In various statements, the ALP has communicated their support for a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders. The Liberal Party has demonstrated a less optimistic approach to the conflict where the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, on numerous occasions has expressed her support for Israel, whilst affirming her support for a two-state solution including the establishment of a Palestinian state. Furthermore, Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has the largest Jewish population in Sydney in his electorate making it likely for him to face pressure from lobby groups.

The Greens have demonstrated a strong support for Palestine, officially advocating for the removal of Israeli settlements from the Palestinian territories and the establishment of the State of Palestine on 1967 borders.

Public opinion on government

The public has protested their support for the Coalition government, under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull, in several polls. An opinion poll by News poll in mid-March 2016 revealed 52% of Australian’s favored Malcolm Turnbull as the preferred Prime Minister. Other results showed 21% preferred Bill Shorten and 27% of Australians were uncommitted.

Statistics have also revealed that since Turnbull was sworn in as Prime Minister his satisfaction rates have been negative. Only 39% of Australians are satisfied with Malcolm Turnbull, while 44% demonstrated they were dissatisfied with the Prime Minister. Australian’s have confirmed their position on Bill Shorten with 28% observed as being satisfied with his leadership and astounding 52% dissatisfied.

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