It has been around 100 days since Australia’s federal election on 21 May, delivering Prime Minister Albanese and Labor into government. As the government and broader public reflect on its performance to date, Teneo speaks with three esteemed experts to discuss how the Albanese government has performed across politics, the economy and foreign policy, and what opportunities and challenges lie ahead.
Danielle Wood, CEO of the Grattan Institute, Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large of The Australian, and Professor Gordon Flake, CEO of the Perth USAsia Centre, joined our host, Brad Haynes, Senior Managing Director and Chief Client Strategist at Teneo Australia, for an important discussion on the first 100 days of the new Labor Government under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The Economic Outlook for Australia: Danielle Wood
- The October budget is critical for Labor’s plan to address cost-of-living pressures as it seeks to balance popular support with a challenging economic outlook and budget position.
- Tax concessions could be a key component, with Labor under pressure to review election commitments and the previous government’s tax policy settings.
- Despite slow wage growth and record high inflation, Australia is experiencing high consumer spending and low unemployment levels – an unusual set of macroeconomic circumstances that offer challenges and opportunities.
- The September Jobs and Skills Summit will drive critical decisions on productivity and the migration intake.
- The RBA review could see changes in the relationship between monetary and fiscal policy, as the government looks to review the role of fiscal policy and stimulus in low interest rate environments.
Politics and Public Policy: Paul Kelly
- The government has been incremental in its policy moves and keen to consult with experts while remaining faithful to unions when working with businesses. In line with this, new ministers are disciplined, working together and have learned lessons from previous mistakes.
- Action on the climate change agenda remains a priority in the Labor party’s mandate. While Greens leader Adam Bandt has made the concession of voting for the legislation of Australia’s 43% emissions reduction target, there will be ongoing and intense pressure from the Greens and teal independents, especially on the prospect of new coal and gas projects.
- Implementation of climate policy raises another challenge, but the government has the support of industry bodies and state governments. How the public feels and responds to the government’s decisions will need to be closely watched, particularly as the electorate is experiencing increased energy prices amid this transition.
- Tensions abroad, especially around China’s influence, present the biggest challenge for the new government, but so far, Prime Minister Albanese has conducted himself very effectively.
- The appointment of Prime Minister Albanese’s number one and two personnel to key postings (Richard Marles as Minister for Defence and Penny Wong as Minister for Foreign Affairs) are telling moves as he looks to negotiate an increasingly difficult foreign policy environment.
Foreign Policy: Professor Gordon Flake
- China’s influence in the Pacific is a critical area of focus for the Albanese government, with a worsening economic outlook and the issue of China’s influence over Taiwan now a pressing question for Australia and its allies.
- Prime Minister Albanese’s attendance at the Quad days after the election highlighted how international diplomacy is increasingly linked to domestic policy, such as climate change.
- As regional tensions flare over Taiwan, it will be important for Australia to place its relationship with China in a broader global context, particularly as it looks to engage with other Asian nations more readily on trade and security priorities.
- Prime Minister Albanese will also seek to build on progress made in the relationship with India by the previous government.
- India’s significant interests in Australia have already been reflected in strong business delegations from Indian business groups early in this new political cycle.
- Collaboration between the two nations on critical minerals and materials will also prove vital as Australia seeks to diversify its foreign trading interests.
Across these three above areas, consensus is that the new Labor Government under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been measured, consultative and largely successful, though significant challenges lie in the months and years ahead.