Labor has put inequality at the centre of its election pitch but leader Bill Shorten is emphatic he’s not channelling Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn with his rhetoric.
Following a landmark speech he gave on Friday, Mr Shorten says people have lost confidence in the government and growing inequality is at the heart of that.
“This is a government whose only economic recipe is to give more help to the people already at the front of the queue, who are already well off,” he told ABC TV on Sunday.
“My party is taking a different attitude.”
Mr Shorten lamented what he sees as a two-class tax system.
“For most Australians we’re now at the end of July and many of them will have filled in their tax returns and they’ll claim a couple of vanilla deductions, maybe a salary sacrifice motor vehicle if they’re lucky and maybe some work costs,” he said.
“But then there is another tax system where if you have enough money, you can basically choose to opt out of many of the taxes.”
Labor already plans to end negative gearing, overhaul capital gains tax and limit the amount of accountant fees people can claim as tax deductions and Mr Shorten said the opposition would soon announce further tax policies to take to the next election.
Some of his rhetoric has echoed that of left-wing US presidential hopeful Mr Sanders and UK Labour leader Mr Corbyn, whose popular versions of socialism garnered more support than many expected.
But Mr Shorten says he’s not totally rejecting trickle down economics and the foreign leaders haven’t influenced his thinking.
Rather it was the thousands of conversations he’s had with people in supermarkets, town hall meetings and workplaces that influence him.
He respects wealth, but the people who make lots of money aren’t what get him out of bed.
“The people that I want to help are the people for whom the link between hard work and rewards seems to be fraying,” Mr Shorten said.
“The fact of the matter is that the most likely predictor of whether or not you’re going to be able to buy a house at the moment is to have rich parents. That isn’t good enough.
“That’s not the deal which we promise our kids, that’s not the deal we promise Australians for working hard.”