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The Parliamentary Budget Officer is required to publish a report after each general election that details and aggregates the budget impacts of the election commitments made by political parties. This report must cover the commitments of the major parliamentary parties and may cover the commitments of the minor parties and independents if they choose to be included.1 One independent member of parliament, the independent member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines MP, chose to be included.
The Election commitments report for the 2022 general election:
- uses the 2022 Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook report as the baseline for the costings of election commitments
- incorporates costings of all the election commitments of each party that, in our best professional judgement, would have a material impact on the Australian Government budget over the 2022–23 Budget forward estimates and medium‑term periods
- shows, for each party, the individual impacts those election commitments would be expected to have on the Australian Government budget over the 2022–23 Budget forward estimates and medium‑term periods
- shows, for each party, the total combined medium‑term impact of those election commitments on the key budget aggregates as a share of gross domestic product
- presents full costing documentation for all election commitments, with the exception of those commitments that are specified as providing capped levels of funding
- presents the distributional impacts of individual election commitments, where parties that have previously requested those impacts as part of a PBO costing outside of the caretaker period have elected to retain them. One party, the Australian Greens, elected to retain distributional analysis for 3 of their commitments.
Further details on the requirements for, and approach to the preparation of, this report are presented at Appendix I. All table and chart data for the report are available on the PBO website, along with guides to the report and its costings which make it easier for different readers to locate the information of interest to them.
At a glance
The Election commitments report presents the budget impacts of the policy platforms for all major parties (the Coalition, Australian Labor Party and Australian Greens), as well as any minor parties and independents who choose to be included in the report. The independent member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines MP, elected to be included.
The report includes a summary of each party’s platform and budget impacts of each election commitment, against the 2022 Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook baseline. Financial implications are estimated over the period to 2032–33 (the medium term), and there is documentation for each costing, matching the nature of each commitment. In some cases, this includes distributional impacts of commitments (such as by state or income bracket).
The report includes commitments expected to have a material impact on the Australian Government budget. In the lead-up to the election, the PBO identified and assessed almost 2,000 relevant election commitments and determined that 314 of these met the criteria for inclusion in this report. Of those items, 41 are commitments by the Coalition, 154 by the Australian Labor Party, 99 by the Australian Greens, and 20 by the independent member for Indi.
The Election commitments report helps Parliament and the public hold parties to account by creating a record of all the promises made during an election and their impact on the budget. The process evens the ‘playing field’ by giving non-government parties and independents access to costings and supports further policy debate.
For more information on this report, how to interpret the underlying costings, and how to read Australian Government budget papers, see the introductory guides available at Guide to the budget.
What is the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO)?
The PBO was established in 2012 to ‘inform the Parliament by providing independent and non‑partisan analysis of the budget cycle, fiscal policy and the financial implications of proposals’ (Section 64B of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999).
We do this in 3 main ways:
Further information and an introduction to PBO's services is available here: Guide to services of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).
- by responding to requests made by senators and members for costings of policy proposals or for analysis of matters relating to the budget
- by publishing a report after every election that provides transparency around the fiscal impact of the election commitments of major parties
- by conducting and publishing self-initiated work that enhances the public understanding of the budget and fiscal policy settings.
Summary of major party budget impacts
- The 2022 Election commitments report shows the individual and combined budget impacts of the election commitments announced by each of the 3 major parties: the Coalition, the Australian Labor Party (Labor), and the Australian Greens (the Greens).
- The report looks at election commitments with a material impact on the Australian Government budget. It shows how the platforms of the parties, if fully implemented, would change the budget position, relative to the starting point just before the election – as presented in the 2022 Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO).
- The PBO has identified 41 material election commitments made by the Coalition, 154 made by Labor and 99 made by the Greens.2 As is often the case for the party in government, the Coalition also announced policies in its budget update, released prior to the election, resulting in fewer Coalition commitments included in this report compared to the other major parties.
- The Coalition’s platform, if fully implemented, would be expected to result in slightly smaller deficits over both the 2022–23 Budget forward estimates and medium-term periods compared to the PEFO. This impact, which results from a slight decrease in payments, is negligible as a share of GDP over both periods. The Coalition’s election commitments do not materially change receipts from PEFO levels.
- Labor’s platform, if fully implemented, would result in increased deficits over the same periods relative to the PEFO (a decrease in the underlying cash balance of up to 0.1% of GDP in any year). This change is driven by slightly higher levels of both receipts and payments as a share of GDP.
- The Greens’ platform, if fully implemented, would be expected to result in larger deficits in total over the same period, relative to the PEFO, reflecting higher levels of both receipts and payments as a share of GDP. The impact of the Greens’ commitments on both receipts and payments are significantly higher than the other major parties.
- The commitments made by the independent member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines MP, form the inaugural ‘Minor parties and independents’ section of the report.
The 2022 Election commitments report shows the individual and combined budget impacts of the election commitments announced by each of the 3 major political parties (the Coalition, the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens).
The report adds to the information published by parties about the financial impacts of their election commitments, taking a longer term perspective and presenting a richer view of the impacts on the budget for all major parties on a comparable basis. Box 1 explains the wider fiscal perspectives, and some key concepts used in the report.
The Coalition’s platform, if fully delivered, would be expected to slightly increase the underlying cash balance (that is, slightly reduce the underlying cash balance deficits) over the 2022–23 Budget forward estimates and medium-term periods, compared to PEFO. The impact is negligible as a share of GDP over both periods. Some of the Coalition’s announcements during the election campaign did not involve any additional fiscal impact as they had already been included in the budget baseline at PEFO.
Labor’s platform, if fully delivered, would result in an expected decrease in the underlying cash balance (that is, a larger deficit) relative to the pre-election starting point. This decrease represents up to 0.1% of GDP in any year over the forward estimates and medium-term periods.
The Greens’ platform, if fully delivered, would be expected to decrease the underlying cash balance over both the 2022–23 Budget forward estimates and medium-term periods compared to PEFO, with an average decrease of 0.5% of GDP per year over the medium term.
The rest of this section provides additional high-level information about the budget impact of party platforms over the forward estimates and medium term. This information is expanded in each party section and the requirements and the methods for preparing the report are at Appendix I. Related terms are explained in the Glossary in this report, which draws from the PBO’s online budget glossary.
Box 1: The Election commitments report: key features and interpretation
This report complements the information about the financial impacts of election commitments published by parties during the election campaign by providing a wider range of information over a longer time period.
The report presents budget impacts over the 2022–23 Budget forward estimates period (the budget year plus the next 3years) and the medium term (the budget year plus the next 10years).
Across both time horizons, we present results for 3 different budget balances – the underlying cash balance, headline cash balance and fiscal balance – to provide a more complete picture of the financial impacts.
When people talk about the budget surplus or deficit, they are often talking about the underlying cash balance. Each of the 3 balances presented here focuses on a different type of financial information, but no one of them provides all the potentially relevant financial impacts. In particular, the headline cash balance is the only balance to show the upfront impact of government loans and equity injections.
The report describes the impacts of individual commitments, and parties’ platforms as a whole, on the budget surplus or deficit. Throughout the report, an ‘increase’ in the budget balance makes the deficit smaller, and a ‘decrease’ in the budget balance makes the deficit larger.
The financial impacts presented here are ‘point in time’ estimates of the commitments based on the commitments as announced during the election campaign. Where these policies are subsequently implemented, their financial implications may change for reasons including updated budget parameters, and the finalisation of policies during further consultation and detailed design stages.
Impacts of election commitments over the forward estimates
The PBO’s estimates of the total combined budget impact of the election commitments of each party and the resulting level of the underlying cash balance, headline cash balance and fiscal balance over the forward estimates period are shown in Table 1.3,4 A positive impact on the underlying cash balance indicates a larger surplus (or smaller deficit). A negative impact indicates smaller surplus (or larger deficit).